While most designers chose to be safely commercial over directional, a few braver offerings were shown for spring 09.
Despite a more directional offering for autumn 08, New York’s designers sadly didn’t opt to recreate this daring stance for their spring 09 collections. However, while the whispers that abounded last season of a Fashion Week keen to shed its moniker as the safest of the four shows didn’t quite materialise, there were some moves on from the traditional New York fare which suggested that designers are searching for something that will help them stand out from the crowd of putty and peach.
The biggest points of note for New York this season were in terms of colour and structure. Neutral tones gave way to softer sherbet shades, baby pinks and blues, and candy colours. There was a definite show of more experimentation in terms of shape, so while we still saw plenty of louche, casual silhouettes, designers also opted to play with structure, adding in origami folds, geometric shapes and stiff ruffles.
Among the more daring of the colour-focused collections were Brit designers Jonathan Saunders and Matthew Williamson, and Donna Karen’s younger DKNY line. Saunders showed a colour saturated collection of shiny skater skirts, swirling dip dyed dresses and satin military-inspired jackets in shades of mandarin, sea blue, lavender and sunshine yellow. Williamson’s boho look saw bell-shaped dresses, embroidered florals and drapes of silk in fuchsia, coral and mauve, while DKNY’s wrapped bandeau dresses in hot pink, azure blue, yellow and mint were perfect red carpet fodder for teen celebs.
Toying with structural silhouettes, Francisco Costa at Calvin Klein ushered in a more experimental edge with boxy forms, contouring cocoon shapes in plasticised materials and satins darted at right angles. Oscar de La Renta also played with stiffer fabrics, pinning skirts into rigid undulating curves, fixing fanned out fishtails and creating asymmetric bell skirts.
Other collections which pushed their boundaries included Preen and Proenza Schouler, both of whom opted to showcase a harder handwriting for spring 09. Preen designers Justin Thornton and Thea Bregazzi used fishnetting, lace and bold geometric cutaways to add a futuristic edge, while Proenza Schouler clad models in rock chick leather all in ones and oversized shoulder jackets for a ultra modern take on the 1980s shoulder pad.