From unexpected appearances to spine-chilling stunts, this season had drama — and we’re not just talking about the clothes.
Have you ever felt exhausted in an energizing way? These are the only words to describe my physical state after spending six gloriously chaotic days racing to runway shows around New York City. The jam-packed Spring 2024 fashion week calendar has just come to a close, and all the rumours are true: Anything can happen in the city that never sleeps, especially when catwalks are involved.
Throughout the week, there were several stunts — both intentional and unwanted. At Elena Velez, a pre-planned disaster found models wrestling in piles of mud, thus ruining their clothes and sparking debate about how much spectacle is too much.
But the most heartwarming events focused on craftsmanship. Indigenous designer Justin Jacob Louis debuted his namesake gender-inclusive label with a vibrant runway presentation. Heritage luxury luggage brand Rimowa launched an interactive display to mark its 125th anniversary. From emerging and established talent alike, a sense of excitement radiated through the mayhem. And really, what’s more New York than that?
Here’s everything to know about the most noteworthy moments at New York Fashion Week Spring 2024.
Tiffany & Co.: Breakfast at Tiffany’s
Is any costume as timeless as Audrey Hepburn’s ensemble in Breakfast at Tiffany’s? The oeuvre of the ingenue in a black Givenchy dress and a stack of opulent pearls has been endlessly referenced. But when Tiffany & Co. previewed its Blue Book 2023: Out of the Blue collection in partnership with Givenchy haute couture, this image practically came to life. At the newly renovated Landmark on Fifth Avenue, models sauntered in statement jewels and equally exquisite gowns. Inspired by fantastical interpretations of the sea, the collection’s themes span glistening shells, coral and starfish. And with the addition of thick black sunglasses and beehive updos, many looks evoked a modern-day Holly Golightly peering through the Tiffany store windows.
Helmut Lang: Peter Do’s polarizing debut
In the ’90s, Helmut Lang pioneered a gritty aesthetic of androgynous BDSM-infused sexiness. So when it was announced that modernist designer Peter Do would be showcasing his first collection as the house’s creative director in September, it quickly became a highly anticipated event. Held at the top of the week, the show was an undeniable ode to Lang, replete with bondage-accented suits, ruched T-shirts and an array of subversive basics. Some said it borrowed too much from Lang’s legacy and that Do wrongly played things safe at a label known for disruption. Others praised Do’s reimagined take on the storied brand. One thing’s for sure: He has our attention.
Wiederhoeft: Phantom of the Opera
Unlike many viral antics, designer Jackson Wiederhoeft conjures stunts that actually complement his clothing. For his latest show — “Night Terror At The Opera” — he crafted a deliciously unsettling three-act performance inside a dimly-lit theatre. Struts were exaggerated and satirical, while dramatic side skits showed models laughing at the audience and bickering with each other. It felt extremely a propos for a collection of intense corseting, campy colourful proportions, and intricate tear-drop gem embellishments. To top it off, Julia Fox was the archetypal Wiederhoeft woman, sitting front row in a severely cinched bridal mini dress, a floor-grazing ruffled-hemmed veil, and dark horror movie makeup. Encore!
COS: Got you covered
Often, the best kind of fashion involves finding new ways to answer age-old questions. For its Autumn/Winter 2023 collection, COS took on the conundrum of cold-weather dressing. Set against a rich brown runway, models walked between two winding metallic walls that reflected the sunset for a stylistic cityscape. Wearing chic sweater dresses, shearling coats, and slinky maxi-skirt sets, their outfits emphasized effortless weather-proof wearability. Scarves were swathed into belted dresses, and sweaters hung from cozy balaclavas. Above all, COS offered the magic rarity of clothes on a runway that actually feel real.
Ralph Lauren: Welcome to New York
Ralph Lauren’s post-pandemic absence from New York Fashion Week has felt like an indication of the industry’s present-day precarity. The quintessential NYC brand is a staple of Americana fashion, thanks to codes like preppy polos and Western jeans. So to mark its first time back in the city’s runway circuit since 2019, these celebrated emblems were turned up a notch. The show drew a star-studded guest list from Jennifer Lopez to Diane Keaton, with key looks including acid-wash denim, fringe galore and metallic evening gowns. One particularly striking golden dress was modelled by ’90s supermodel Christy Turlington. Perfectly fitting for a theme of lasting legends.
Proenza Schouler: Elevated essentials
In an industry cluttered with clickbait, design duo Jack McCollough and Lazaro Hernandez take the winning approach of sobering nonchalance. For their Spring 2024 collection, they showed once again how uncomplicated clothing doesn’t have to be boring. Alongside brand staples like tailored suiting, there was a playful effortlessness via free-flowing fishnet dresses, sequined skirts and colourful layered gauzy garments. The crowd was full of 2023 style icons — from Sofia Richie to Pamela Anderson — proving that Proenza Schouler’s practical message is cooler than ever. The collection further drove this point home by premiering its first-ever “PS” monogram.
LaQuan Smith: Where’s the party?
Leave it to designer LaQuan Smith to throw a fashion fête. “I always try to remember that the LaQuan Smith woman is on her way to something fabulous,” he told Vogue of his latest collection. Fittingly, his catwalk felt like a makeshift nightclub, with models parading down a red-lit runway in intensely bright sets. From sharp-cropped jackets with no pants to nipple-baring sheer tops with baggy metallic cargo slacks, the celeb-favourite brand took its sexy sensibilities to new experimental heights. Still, there’s a lesson to be learned. The first step in having a good time? Dress like one.
Michael Kors: Celebrity Central
People watchers, this one’s for you. The front row of Michael Kors’ riverfront runway was stacked with A-listers who came to see the designer’s vacation-inspired collection. Blake Lively wore a gilded pantsuit. Vanessa Hudgens donned a monochromatic caped look. Halle Berry stunned in a double-slitted dress. On the runway, garments exuded a sense of escapist ease, spanning floral lacy separates and breezy caftans. With stars like Tiffany Haddish, Olivia Wilde and Ellen Pompeo looking on, the affair was pure Tomato Girl aspiration.