How many times can a bird replenish its feathers you ask? Well If you're an expensive bird dedicated to high-fashion dramatic displays and the exploration of the modern woman, it appears you will never lose them, you will simply, reimagine their colors and patterns.
NYFW began in 1943, and for decades was exemplary of everything high-fashion is: exclusive, expensive, beautiful and elitist. With the dawn of social media and the widening access however, its appeal has wained, and many designers in recent years have upped and moved their shows abroad to the glamor of Paris or the historic Milan.
The rejuvenation of an institution is no easy feat, with both designers and producers striving each season to ignite the passion that once was. This past week was no different. We rounded up 10 not-so-effortless ways NYFW managed to stay relevant this season.
1. Minimalism to the max
Millennials are obsessed with minimalism. Look at all of our most-followed Insta-influencers. They are artists of neutral shades, muted tones and pastel color-coordination. And these hot trends were not abandoned on the runway or in the frow either. Ukranian designer Bevza showcased a muted, minimalist line that will inevitably be found on the ultra-hip of Instagram's elite. Colovos and Max Mara cascaded their catwalks with further pastel and light hues, but it was Victoria Beckham who made the biggest splash with her collection of minimalist-forward pieces. Having dragged crowds all the way up to 91st St. for her show at the James Burden Mansion, the former Spice Girls certainly spiced things up, before her 10-year anniversary next season. #thebeckhamtrench was our favorite minimalist piece this week.
2. Edible runways
Doritos and popcorn, two foods highly unlikely to be found in a model's cupboard, were instead were found underfoot on the runway this season. Raf Simons for Calvin Klein took immense pleasure covering the floor of the American Stock Exchange in six inches of popcorn for his audacious show, while designers Chromat, had each model scoff a flaming' hot Cheeto at the end of their walk for the cameras. Genius product placement or altruism for skinny models? Still TBD.
Chromat runway. Photo courtesy of Harpers Bazaar
3. Death of the exclusive
Once the most exclusive week of the calendar year, with every passing season, fashion weeks attendees are changing. Whether it's a new wave of influencers brought over by makeup brands, or fashion bloggers from the other side of the globe, the reams of people that rock up now are drastically different to those who used to adorn the seats of the illustrious shows. The frows of yore, peppered with celebrity, Hollywood elite, fashion icons, can now be found to be decked out with the latest insta-style sensation, audacious tweeter or Facebook favorite. Sure, a ticket to Tom Ford isn't easy to come by, but if you've got enough Youtube subscribers or followers on Instagram, you can be certain of gaining access to the world of NYFW without much, if any, hassle.
4. 3D makeup
Our love for Jeremy Scott knows no bounds. His recent collaboration with MAC solidified him into our hearts and makeup drawers, and only to further that was his fabulous display of creativity for the catwalk this season. Gigi Hadid, pictured below, and her fellow neon-haired models donned the runway in all their fantastical glamour featuring a 3D cat-eye courtesy of a lot of craftsmanship and a little acrylic paint.
Gigi Hadid feat. cat-eye at Jeremy Scott runway
5. The Instagram takeover
Aside from the fact that SWAAY had different takeovers on our Instagram nearly every day, this was something almost everyone was doing, because fashion week is different for every person. You simply cannot go to every single show, event or party, and thus the takeover allows for a little variety in your coverage. Before the insta-story was a thing, it was veritably impossible. This season however, we saw takeovers from everyone, be it show organizers, to actors, singers, stylists, to the models themselves. Both a fun way to engage with a new audience, and express a new voice to those already following, we can see this becoming a lasting hit with the fashion media and beyond.
6. Military mavens
Women are made of steel - that much we know to be true, and female designers were paying homage to that strength in their collections this season. The previously mentioned #beckhamtrench was one of a few pieces that particularly stood out for its encapsulation of both strength and femininity.
Alongside Beckham in her fusion of militia and maven was Macau native Gemma Hoi. Upon arrival at Hoi's show, guests were greeted with a complementary Hoi studio pin and the infamous women's "we can do it" rendering synonymous with posters encouraging female work during WWII. "The collection was inspired by female American factory workers in the 1940's," Hoi told SWAAY. "It was a very beautiful time in American history." Models, adorned in bejewelled goggles were shrouded in denim shape works that again placed importance on both the beauty of the female body and the tough female resilience.
Gemma Hoi runway
7. The empowerment effect
This time last year, (most) women of New York were still reeling from the President's inauguration and the defeat of their first female POTUS. None of the big stories had broken about Weinstein, O'Reilly, Lauer, Batali. Fashion week took off as scheduled, and while there were whispers of defiance on the runways, nothing like what we saw this week is even comparable.
Almost every show was a testimonial to women's resilience and strength. The models are no longer mere objects on whom the clothes rest, they're now vessels for how the women will feel while wearing them. From makeup to hair, as TResemmé lead stylist Odile Gilbert commented, the looks were created so that women would be able to say, "Yes, I can be strong."
Everyone from Phillip Plein to Nathan Zenden of DVF to Dior made a big deal of the movement creating an undeniable atmosphere of support for the movement at large."I just wanted to say that with everything that's happening with women right now... I personally am more committed than ever to the empowerment of women," Von Furstenburg said during a speech at her showroom.
I am perhaps just a little biased on the above given my current hair situation, but bangs rocked out this season, and all of the coolest people had them, period. Both Selena Gomez and Rosie Huntington Whiteley showed up on the frow donning fresh wispy bangs, in keeping with much of the models of the week. On runways from Jason Wu to Jeremy Scott, full, exaggerated fringes stole the show, and we're so here for it.
Bella Hadid at Jason Wu. Photo by Astrid Stawiarz/Getty Images for TRESemme
9. Plus-sized no longer a plus
We have finally begun to normalize the inclusion of plus-sized models on the runway, and in fact, I would posit that we're subsequently not far off from ditching the "plus-sized" title and simply calling them models.
Project Runway winner Leanne Marshall presented with a plethora of curvy ladies in beautiful silhouettes gliding down her catwalk. Ashley Graham turned up for Michael Kors. Iskra Lawrence was everywhere. And many other designers of note, including Chromat and Christian Siriano continued to elaborate on what was once a 'niche' or 'token' trend. No longer the exception, we expect to see more and more plus-sized adorned runways, with the focus broadening on diversity and inclusion.
Leanne Marshall runway
There's nothing like saying goodbye to open the door to invigoration. This season at NYFW, quite a few designers said goodbye to New York, or the fashion industry as a whole. And while it may seem a sore spot for some time, change, especially in this industry, is always a good thing.
Alexander Wang announced right before the week kicked off that it would be his last season conforming to the fall, winter and spring, summer calendar. Instead, he will present his collections in June and December, or just before they're released into stores. He nevertheless made a major splash for his Times Square show, with every big name in the industry turning up for what is arguably the most anticipated show of every season.
Carolina Herrera made her departure from NYFW, with her last show held at the Museum Of Modern Art before understudy Wes Gordon takes the reigns as creative director. Herrera, who has been in charge of the fashion house for 37 years, insists this is not retirement, rather, a move forward.
Carolina Herrera and her atelier team FW18. Photo courtesy of Vogue
For decades, women have been unknowingly suffering from PSD and intergenerational trauma, but now Dr. Valerie Rein wants women to reclaim their power through mind, body and healing tools.
As women, no matter how many accomplishments we have or how successful we look on the outside, we all occasionally hear that nagging internal voice telling us to do more. We criticize ourselves more than anyone else and then throw ourselves into the never-ending cycle of self-care, all in effort to save ourselves from crashing into this invisible internal wall. According to psychologist, entrepreneur and author, Dr. Valerie Rein, these feelings are not your fault and there is nothing wrong with you— but chances are you definitely suffering from Patriarchy Stress Disorder.
Patriarchy Stress Disorder (PSD) is defined as the collective inherited trauma of oppression that forms an invisible inner barrier to women's happiness and fulfillment. The term was coined by Rein who discovered a missing link between trauma and the effects that patriarchal power structures have had on certain groups of people all throughout history up until the present day. Her life experience, in addition to research, have led Rein to develop a deeper understanding of the ways in which men and women are experiencing symptoms of trauma and stress that have been genetically passed down from previously oppressed generations.
What makes the discovery of this disorder significant is that it provides women with an answer to the stresses and trauma we feel but cannot explain or overcome. After being admitted to the ER with stroke-like symptoms one afternoon, when Rein noticed the left side of her body and face going numb, she was baffled to learn from her doctors that the results of her tests revealed that her stroke-like symptoms were caused by stress. Rein was then left to figure out what exactly she did for her clients in order for them to be able to step into the fullness of themselves that she was unable to do for herself. "What started seeping through the tears was the realization that I checked all the boxes that society told me I needed to feel happy and fulfilled, but I didn't feel happy or fulfilled and I didn't feel unhappy either. I didn't feel much of anything at all, not even stress," she stated.
Photo Courtesy of Dr. Valerie Rein
This raised the question for Rein as to what sort of hidden traumas women are suppressing without having any awareness of its presence. In her evaluation of her healing methodology, Rein realized that she was using mind, body and trauma healing tools with her clients because, while they had never experienced a traumatic event, they were showing the tell-tale symptoms of trauma which are described as a disconnect from parts of ourselves, body and emotions. In addition to her personal evaluation, research at the time had revealed that traumatic experiences are, in fact, passed down genetically throughout generations. This was Rein's lightbulb moment. The answer to a very real problem that she, and all women, have been experiencing is intergenerational trauma as a result of oppression formed under the patriarchy.
Although Rein's discovery would undoubtably change the way women experience and understand stress, it was crucial that she first broaden the definition of trauma not with the intention of catering to PSD, but to better identify the ways in which trauma presents itself in the current generation. When studying psychology from the books and diagnostic manuals written exclusively by white men, trauma was narrowly defined as a life-threatening experience. By that definition, not many people fit the bill despite showing trauma-like symptoms such as disconnections from parts of their body, emotions and self-expression. However, as the field of psychology has expanded, more voices have been joining the conversations and expanding the definition of trauma based on their lived experience. "I have broadened the definition to say that any experience that makes us feel unsafe psychically or emotionally can be traumatic," stated Rein. By redefining trauma, people across the gender spectrum are able to find validation in their experiences and begin their journey to healing these traumas not just for ourselves, but for future generations.
While PSD is not experienced by one particular gender, as women who have been one of the most historically disadvantaged and oppressed groups, we have inherited survival instructions that express themselves differently for different women. For some women, this means their nervous systems freeze when faced with something that has been historically dangerous for women such as stepping into their power, speaking out, being visible or making a lot of money. Then there are women who go into fight or flight mode. Although they are able to stand in the spotlight, they pay a high price for it when their nervous system begins to work in a constant state of hyper vigilance in order to keep them safe. These women often find themselves having trouble with anxiety, intimacy, sleeping or relaxing without a glass of wine or a pill. Because of this, adrenaline fatigue has become an epidemic among high achieving women that is resulting in heightened levels of stress and anxiety.
"For the first time, it makes sense that we are not broken or making this up, and we have gained this understanding by looking through the lens of a shared trauma. All of these things have been either forbidden or impossible for women. A woman's power has always been a punishable offense throughout history," stated Rein.
Although the idea of having a disorder may be scary to some and even potentially contribute to a victim mentality, Rein wants people to be empowered by PSD and to see it as a diagnosis meant to validate your experience by giving it a name, making it real and giving you a means to heal yourself. "There are still experiences in our lives that are triggering PSD and the more layers we heal, the more power we claim, the more resilience we have and more ability we have in staying plugged into our power and happiness. These triggers affect us less and less the more we heal," emphasized Rein. While the task of breaking intergenerational transmission of trauma seems intimidating, the author has flipped the negative approach to the healing journey from a game of survival to the game of how good can it get.
In her new book, Patriarchy Stress Disorder: The Invisible Barrier to Women's Happiness and Fulfillment, Rein details an easy system for healing that includes the necessary tools she has sourced over 20 years on her healing exploration with the pioneers of mind, body and trauma resolution. Her 5-step system serves to help "Jailbreakers" escape the inner prison of PSD and other hidden trauma through the process of Waking Up in Prison, Meeting the Prison Guards, Turning the Prison Guards into Body Guards, Digging the Tunnel to Freedom and Savoring Freedom. Readers can also find free tools on Rein's website to help aid in their healing journey and exploration.
"I think of the book coming out as the birth of a movement. Healing is not women against men– it's women, men and people across the gender spectrum, coming together in a shared understanding that we all have trauma and we can all heal."