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New York’s new wave: 10 trends to know

Rodarte gettyimages 1205631835

With a reduced schedule and scarcity of big-name shows, questions have swirled around New York Fashion Week’s relevance to the fashion calendar. 

Once-key names such as Ralph Lauren, Tommy Hilfiger, Calvin Klein, Alexander Wang and Jeremy Scott are no longer showing in the city. For autumn 20 however, a new wave of brands stepped up to make their mark, bringing a fresh NY perspective with them. Here Drapers rounds up 10 of the top trends from the first week of fashion month.


Ny 4

There’s nothing like a touch of drama to kick off fashion month, and the New York designers’ predilection for capes for autumn 20 provided this with aplomb. Elegant, floor-sweeping styles for evening were seen at Carolina Herrera and Naeem Khan, alongside daytime, ladylike versions such as the preppy, plaid designs at Michael Kors. Be it day or night – capes look set for a comeback.

Cut-out and keep

Ny 5

Unexpected cutaways and demure flashes of flesh gave the New York catwalks a sophisticated sensuality for autumn 20. Minimalist designs and basic styles such as knits and bodies were elevated with cut-out sections on the hips and collar bones for a hyper-modern feel. Standouts included Bevza’s square-neck, super-high-leg body and Monse’s collar-slash polo neck were particular highlights.

New New York

Ny 10 2

With the absence of heavy-hitting designer names, a new wave of New York designers are taking their chance to shine for autumn 20. Brands including Gabriela Hearst, Khaite, Jonathan Simkhai and Bevza are bringing a fresh buzz to the city’s catwalks and redefining Manhattan’s signature aesthetic. A modern, relaxed and empowered femininity and sophistication is key, as classic styles are reinvented for the modern woman with luxurious leathers, oversized shapes and hints of eccentricity.

Power brights

Ny 11

The beige brigade may have remained a powerful palette for autumn 20, but there was no shortage of contrasting, vibrant shades on the New York runways. Joyous shades of turquoise, fuchsia, scarlet and saffron brought a bold effervescence to daytime and evening looks. Carolina Herrera’s colour-popping catwalk and Alejandra Alonso Roja’s sumptuous satin shades stood out for their particularly eye-catching zing.

Bourgeois Bohême

Ny 2

New York designers love a touch of boho, and labels such as Zimmermann and Anna Sui build their brands on romantic retro styles. For autumn 20, the aesthetic has been elevated  – slightly more formal, aligning with the preppy, high-society “bourgeois” trend that has been growing in the womenswear world for several seasons. Highlights included Rodarte’s fusion of tailored shirting and romantic details such as ruffles and puff shoulders, as well as Zimmermann’s frilled-collar blouses.

Painterly florals

Ny 6

Delicate, watercolour blooms were seen in the New York collections. A muted take on the perennial floral, the print had most impact on fluid, sheer or satin fabrics and despite the winter season brought a spring-like freshness to evening options. Highlights included Jason Wu’s floral sketches on white silk, and Rodarte’s oversized floral designs on billowing evening gowns.

The modern ladylike

Ny 9

Smart and sophisticated, the New York designers presented innumerable styles geared towards the working woman’s wardrobe. While tailoring remained popular, reinventions of classic, ladylike silhouettes such as pencil dresses, coat dresses and skirt suits also popped up across the catwalks. Hints of the 1980s – with puff sleeves and bold shoulders – gave the sleek shapes a powerful outline.

It’s not easy being green

Ny 8

Forest to emerald, apple to khaki – every shade imaginable popped up on the New York runways for autumn 20. Lacoste’s frog-green, wide-wale corduroy jacket and patent emerald boots were a particular standout, as was Brandon Maxwell’s luxurious lime coat.

All that glitters

Ny 7

Standout, statement eveningwear – from voluminous ballgowns to glistening slip dresses – are a persistent favourite of the New York designers. Slinky metallics, glimmering sequins and shimmer made for a super-glamorous eveningwear offer for the season. Tom Ford’s masterful chainmail-style halter-neck dress was a particular showstopper.

Here comes the bridal

Ny 3

From Khaite’s ruched, cutaway dress to Marc Jacobs heavy satin skirt – white dresses walked down the aisle and onto the catwalks for autumn 20. With modern, minimalist styles giving a relatively relaxed vibe, the dresses were nevertheless standout in their elegance, suggesting white will be a key winter colour for occasionwear, and not just for the bride.

City animals

Ny 1

It would not be New York Fashion Week with out a healthy dose of animal magic. Classic leopard remains popular, and ankle-grazing coats made an appearance at Prabal Gurung and Tom Ford. Ford also made the case for casual leopard print, pairing dramatic coats with slouchy tracksuits. Elsewhere, tiger stripes were popular – and Khaite’s dramatic gold column dress was a standout of the season.



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