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Retail Wrap-up: Khaite, Thom Browne, Altuzarra, Proenza Schouler and Willy Chavarria Lead NYFW Exit Polls



America might be divided into a lot of different camps, but if there was voting for the most salable and popular New York Fashion Week collection for fall 2024, Khaite‘s Catherine Holstein would win hands down.

Assessing the scores of shows and takeaway trends from the week, retail executives repeatedly referenced Khaite at the top of their lists for a standout assortment that also included must-have accessories. Thom Browne was another crowd favorite and not just because he leads the Council of Fashion Designers of America. His artful finale show at The Shed left many with something to marvel at — the dramatic performance based on Edgar Allan Poe’s “The Raven,” the wearable clothes, the promise of something like no other and a reason for others to strive higher. Joseph Altuzzara, Carolina Herrera‘s Wes Gordon and Proenza Schouler also earned high marks for their polished, versatile and often tailored options.

Altuzarra fall 2024 ready-to-wear collection at New York Fashion Week.

Courtesy of Altuzarra

Perhaps Linda Fargo, senior vice president of the fashion office and director of women’s fashion and store presentation at Bergdorf Goodman, summed up the season best: “Good sense and sensibility, accompanied by the uplift of glamour, prevailed in New York. It was luxed-up real clothes for perhaps real, and uncertain, times.”

They were the kinds of clothes that cause retailers to breathe a sign of relief, especially given the sharp slowdown in luxury and ongoing macroeconomic concerns.

While quiet luxury has seeped into the masses, the fall season carried with it dashes of daringness — leather galore, oversized outerwear, infusions of oxblood and reds, hints of transparency, plenty of shearling, more feminine footwear and elbow-length gloves. However dominatrix-like these items might sound if combined in one look, they are prime for shoppers to easily update their fall favorites and to provide a little extra protection for an increasingly unpredictable world.

But it wasn’t just the established stalwarts whose collections caught the eye of retailers — on-the-rise talents also got their due, especially Willy Chavarria, who has kidded about being the oldest emerging designer. Along with forging new paths, he has been working tirelessly for decades in the industry, since long before he picked up last year’s CFDA Menswear Designer of the Year award. Zankov, Wiederhoeft, Luar, Diotima and Sergio Hudson were also singled out by stores for their fall collections.

Backstage at the Willy Chavarria fall 2024 ready-to-wear show at New York Fashion Week.

Backstage at the Willy Chavarria fall 2024 ready-to-wear show at New York Fashion Week.

Don Stahl/WWD

Some executives, however, were less thrilled about this past season’s takeaway trends, and suggested that they were a little too much been-there, seen-that. Mytheresa’s Katie Rowland suggested that some excitement or something completely new were in order. “I guess it felt quite safe and many of the silhouettes shown this season we have seen many times before,” she said.

Some show-goers suggested a lingering need for the shows to be centralized into one spot, while others talked about the costs of doing business in New York and the great divide between major brands and up-and-comers. Holt Renfrew’s Joe Tang also suggested an opportunity for “more personal connections with the brands and to learn about the design inspiration and process.”

Here’s what the stores had to say:

Jodi Kahn, vice president, luxury fashion, Neiman Marcus

Favorite Collections: Khaite’s Cate Holstein created the perfect moody set for her fall collection, which continues to evolve and has become more refined and sophisticated. Proenza Schouler delivered a consistent, on-brand collection with a modern ease. The outerwear felt super luxe. I particularly loved the long-haired ivory shearling.

Mood: While some seasons are full of surprises, this week felt steady and intentional. Consistent vision and development from some of the pillar New York brands such as Carolina Herrera, Khaite, Proenza Schouler and Ulla Johnson indicates we might be moving away from social media generated desire for newness.

Proenza Schouler Fall 2024 Ready-to-Wear Collection at New York Fashion Week

Proenza Schouler fall 2024 ready-to-wear collection at New York Fashion Week.

Courtesy of Proenza Schouler

Key Trends: Shearling in extra cozy outerwear and ivory. Gold in rich metallics. Burgundy/oxblood is a key color.

Lacking: We noticed this season, more than others, how difficult it can be for smaller and emerging brands to navigate the complexity of today’s environment. Fresh talent is certainly the heartbeat of NYFW, so we hope to see them back in action again soon.

Key Accessories: Python printed accessories felt like the perfect punctuation to many collections. The python bags and footwear at Khaite were the standout.

Libby Page, market director, Net-a-porter

Favorite Collections: Altuzarra, Proenza Schouler and Khaite

Mood: We saw through street style that everyone has refocused and is embracing their own personal style. With quiet luxury becoming such a mass trend, it was refreshing to see everyone dressing in their own unique way. There was also an elegant refinement to the season through clean lines and silhouettes. Everything felt much more streamlined and slimmer than the usual oversized proportions we’re used to seeing in the fall season (Khaite excluded).

Key Trends: Outerwear — whether faux fur, shearling, tailored or oversized — provided a feast for the eyes and the perfect complement to the snowstorm backdrop. Spearheaded by Gucci, oxblood is set to be the new season hue. From oversized coats, slimline jackets and beautiful pencil skirts, leather was shown in a multitude of ways. Altuzarra’s elegant salon-style show took us back to the 1940s. The ruffle knits, shearling jackets and cashmere pants are going to be the underpinnings of the “Town and Country” trend we are sure we’ll continue to see. We also loved Nili Lotan’s waxed jackets in country checks and car coats.  

Key Accessories: Hats are back — Altuzarra’s pillow box styles feel very in line with the elegant trend. Over the elbow and short leather gloves, particularly Khaite’s luxurious styles. Pumps continue to prevail, like Khaite’s peek-toes in snakeskin.

Linda Fargo, senior vice president, the fashion office and director of women’s fashion and store presentation, Bergdorf Goodman

Favorite Collections: Marc Jacobs and Thom Browne bookended an otherwise quiet season focused on good sportswear with their highly original and extraordinary creativity. Khaite’s looks had it all — sensuous, polished, dramatic and a new kind of edgy glam. Wes Gordon for Carolina Herrera’s standout silhouettes were distilled into bold black shapes. Peter Do’s talents and the Helmut signature, which Peter successfully interprets for us. Thom Browne was a tour de force of incredible couture-level fashion. Sergio Hudson captured the moment with his “swellegant” riffs on 1970s glam. We are thankful for the emerging group of New York creatives, who seem fearless in their expression of their personal vision, and live outside the tow of trends; Zankov, Wiederhoeft, Luar, Diotima, Area and Willy Chavarria. 

Backstage at the Thom Browne fall 2024 ready-to-wear show at New York Fashion Week.

Backstage at the Thom Browne fall 2024 ready-to-wear show at New York Fashion Week.

Nina Westervelt/WWD

Mood: Good sense and sensibility, accompanied by the uplift of glamour, prevailed in New York. It was luxed-up real clothes for perhaps real, and uncertain, times. “Useful Beautiful” was a prism through which we started to see these elevated and ultimately versatile and utilitarian collections. We got a lot out of our time with Zankov, Diotima and Ashlyn, all who held creative and brand right presentations. 

Key Trends: The most important trend was practical beauty — pulled together, polished, and gimmick free. There was notably less skin and less exposure in favor of more subdued and protective dressing. Textures and surfaces were more important than prints. Think leather, velvet, textural knits. Shearling was key, long and longer dresses were everywhere and silhouettes were often asymmetrically draped, wrapped and folded. Strong, striking black silhouettes, tailoring, interesting knitwear and transparent layering pieces were important.

Diotima fall 2024 ready-to-wear collection at New York Fashion Week

Diotima fall 2024 ready-to-wear collection at New York Fashion Week.

George Chinsee/WWD

Key Accessories: Protective layering and wraps and chic capes felt comforting. Footwear was more feminine like kitten heels and stilettos, and more ladylike handbags were back. 

Snow Suit or Snow Tip: As to the non-event “severe” winter storm, which we were all rather excited to pull out our real winter fashion for a change, I went for an “On the Winter Waterfront Look“ — a peacoat plus beanie combo.

Rickie De Sole, women’s fashion director at Nordstrom

Favorite Collections: Thom Browne, Altuzarra, Carolina Herrera, Diotima, Zankov, Khaite, Eckhaus Latta 

Beyonce and Tina Knowles front row at Luar

Beyonce and Tina Knowles front row at Luar.

Nina Westervelt/WWD

The Mood: The mood was quintessential New York. Michael Kors’ sculptural tailoring played into the former Barneys downtown location, Joseph Altuzarra’s salon-style showing at his headquarters in the Woolworth building, the 360-degree citywide views at Carolina Herrera were blue-sky bliss, and Thom Browne’s second showing at The Shed with Carrie Coon’s “The Raven” narration. Meanwhile, on the other side of the East River, The Luar runway show at 99 Scott brought Beyoncé to Bushwick — there’s always that one friend who can drag you out to Brooklyn and Raul Lopez is that New York City friend. 

Key Trends: The collections are beginning to feel romantic again — hits of lace and delicate layers. What a fantastic coat season it’s been. From Proenza Schouler’s covetable shearlings to Fforme’s cocoon-like wool overcoat, to Thom Browne’s fantastical tweeds, there’s a must-have coat style to covet for everyone come fall. In terms of colors, brown in all shades is stepping up to be the warm tone of choice this season, offering a luxurious depth and ample new creative style opportunities.

Lacking: A central NYFW hub.

Key Accessories: Khaite handbags — there was a sophisticated balance of softness and structure. Tory Burch shopper tote with belt detail and the evolution of the pierced pump. Suede accessories offer texture and warmth.

Any Snow Advice: The perfect fashion week snow boot does exist — The Row’s “Freta” lug-sole.

Roopal Patel, senior vice president and fashion director, Saks Fifth Avenue

Mood: There were many celebratory moments and milestones with Tory Burch’s 20th anniversary, Joseph Altuzarra’s 15-year anniversary and Adam Lippes’ 10-year anniversary. And the new guard, CFDA Vogue Fashion fund alums and CFDA winners Willy Chavarria, Luar, Rachel Scott at Diotima and Henry Zankov showcased stellar shows and presentations, which show great promise for American fashion. 

Favorite Collections: With a storybook performance from Edgar Allan Poe’s “The Raven,” Thom Browne inspires us to see fashion through a different lens, and as the chairman of the CFDA, he is leading the way for this next generation of American designers. Other favorites were Cate Holstein’s linear, minimal silhouettes for Khaite, Willy Chavarria’s master tailoring, Joseph Altuzarra’s chic line-up of statement outerwear, the harlequin prints, tapered pants and ruffled blouses, and Wes Gordon’s super chic and glamorous Carolina Herrera collection. And Ludovic Saint de Sernin’s Robert Mapplethorpe-inspired debut was a knockout, especially for the delicate sheer embroidered slipdresses. 

Trends:There was a new level of sophistication, polish and elegance this week in the collections. Quiet luxury has evolved into a super luxe line-up of refined classics that customers will invest in. Statement outerwear has become the armor for fall and dominated the runways from overcoats, peacoats and barn jackets. The return of faux fur coats, shearling and Mongolian fur added texture. Power dressing morphed into strong cut blazers paired with soft or structured skirts. Cozy, luxe knitwear molded and sculpted to the body.

Key Accessories: Smaller handbag shapes are directional, including mini top handles at Khaite, Altuzarra and Tory Burch, as well as the cylinder bag at Proenza Schouler. Flats are continuing into fall, from flat skimmers, to slip-ons to lace-ups. Pops of red in flats, heels and boots. Strappy sandals, mid-heel pumps and high-shaft boots.

Any Snow Advice: The snow could not keep us away from the super chic lineup of shows at Gabriela Hearst, Michael Kors and the spectacular Luar show with a once in a lifetime Beyoncé sighting. We would weather any storm to see Queen B!

Katie Rowland, womenswear, kidswear and fine jewelry buying director, Mytheresa

Favorite Collections: Gabriela Hearst delivered in her own collection with signature strong female energy and pops of red and gold amidst muted tones. There was also a variety of fabrications — shearling to lace, crochet, leather and knitted looks, each meticulously considered. Khaite offered dramatic yet fluid and darkly romantic pieces. The impeccable styling showcased the iconic Khaite aesthetic through expert cuts, draping, structural designs, and elevated fabrications, featuring strong leather pieces, standout outerwear and sheer ethereal gowns. Altuzarra felt really strong and wearable. It was a super smart and accessible collection.

Mood: It felt super chic and sophisticated, with collections designed to empower women in what they wear. The essence of a true New Yorker was evident, with a strong sense of design and style showcased by elevated brands like Proenza Schouler and Altuzarra, as well as iconic collections from Khaite and Gabriela Hearst. Messages of strong femininity permeated the shows, offering a fresh yet on-point perspective.

Gabriela Hearst Fall 2024 Ready-to-Wear Collection at New York Fashion Week

Gabriela Hearst fall 2024 ready-to-wear collection at New York Fashion Week.

Rodin Banica/WWD

Key Trends: Timeless luxury prevails. Black emerged as a significant color. Shades of red, including rich cherries and burgundy, continued to trend. Statement outerwear stole the spotlight, featuring great coats with longer lengths, shearlings, accentuated shoulders, and sleeves. Sheer fabrications made a notable appearance.

Lacking: Maybe a little more drama or excitement or something totally new? I guess it felt quite safe and many of the silhouettes shown this season we have seen many times before. 

Key Accessories: While there were no standout accessories, Khaite offered strong bags, and flats and kitten heels remained prominent in footwear trends.​

Any Snow Advice: Get your hands on any of the coats from the Khaite runways ASAP to keep you warm. The camel wrap coat from look 26 was amazing and so chic. I also recommend that you get yourself a knitted snood/hood. Toteme, Saint Laurent, Miu Miu have some great ones!

Joseph Tang, fashion director, Holt Renfrew

Favorite Collections: Khaite’s powerful silhouettes — leather jackets and enveloping wool coats. Peter Do’s sophomore collection for Helmut Lang modernize the brand for the next generation of Helmut Lang fans. Thom Browne is the greatest showman of New York. His show was a masterpiece in craft, storytelling and bringing theater to the runway. 

Mood: New York Fashion Week continues to bridge together the established names of American sportswear with the new guard of fashion designers. What was most exciting to witness this New York Fashion Week was the distinct sense of community that next generation of fashion talent brought forward like Willy Chavarria, Luar, Diotima and Sandy Liang. 

Key Trends: The uniform is still important as in Proenza Schouler’s, Khaite’s and Helmut Lang’s reinterpretations of suiting. There were also pops of cherry red and rich merlot shades, and oversized outerwear like anoraks, duffle coats, military jackets and parkas including some paired with balaclavas at Helmut Lang.

Lacking: While the show experience is exciting, some designers would benefit in leveraging the presentation format. The ability to see designs up close, create the opportunity to have more personal connections with the brands and to learn about the design inspiration and process would be great to see more of. 

Key Accessories: The ’90s pouch with a shoulder-strap, larger tote bags and Khaite’s small suede and leather tote bags in suede and leather are quickly becoming one of the “it” bags. Minimal and sleek flats continue to lead the footwear trend with the ballet flat being the must-have shoe. The riding boot is also becoming an important staple for the fall season. 

Any Snowstorm Advice: As Canadians, we are used to navigating through uncertain weather conditions. While the storm proved to create delays in the schedule, snow or shine, we manage to get around — as fashionably as possible. 

Beth Buccini, owner and founder of Kirna Zabête

Favorite Collections: Khaite, Carolina Herrera, Gabriella Hearst, Proenza Schouler and LaPointe.

Mood: It was a mixed New York Fashion Week. The running all over town was even more crazy than usual, but some shows were really strong. Khaite brought the drama with another stunning collection that will sell super well — as it always does. Wes Gordon’s Carolina Herrera show was his best yet, with a confidence and a joy that we all need now. Proenza Schouler provided amazing outwear, knits and tailoring. Gabriela Hearst made the best coats, and LaPointe just brought a fun, youthful energy that was uplifting yet fierce. 

Key Trends: It was an incredible season for coats! I’ve never seen so much shearling and leather. Red is still a key color, but oxblood has taken over. Knit dressing is everywhere, as well as a play with transparency. Tailoring continues to dominate. 

Lacking: The shows were lacking an organized, coherent venue and system in general that keeps this week running seamlessly. There is more of a stark contrast than ever before between big companies with big budgets and new designers just scraping by. New York Fashion Week needs the creativity the new designers bring, but that requires more financial support and mentoring. 

Key Accessories: Gloves! 

Any Snow-Related Advice: In order to survive the weather and running all over town, you must dress in layers and wear comfortable shoes! 

April Hennig, chief merchant, Moda Operandi

Favorite Collections: Khaite’s Catherine Holstein continues to up the ante in New York. Her pieces have got everyone talking about what’s “cool.” Brandon Maxwell for his effortlessly refined day-to-night lineup, Gabriela Hearst’s luxurious outerwear and cocktail, and Carolina Herrera’s exquisite eveningwear. Ludovic de Saint Sernin’s genius is how he manages to balance provocation with wearability. Thom Browne is in a league of his own. 

Mood: There was a lot of excitement around the creativity of New York’s emerging designers like Luar, Diotima, Wiederhoeft and Zankov, who each pushed the conversation forward with their distinct voices. 

Key Trends: There was a clear focus on wearability with a subtle edge that was seen at Khaite, Proenza Schouler, Fforme and Marina Moscone. There was also a Western slant or a “Town and Country” wardrobe (see: waxed jackets, shearlings and silhouettes with an outdoorsy Western romance) that was clear at Gabriela Hearst, Altuzarra and Brandon Maxwell. A dash of sex appeal added intrigue to office-inspired daywear at LaQuan Smith and Sergio Hudson.

Lacking: This season was overall an evolution rather than a revolution. While the climate is generally conservative, brands that take calculated risks stand out even more.

Key Accessories: Oversized clutches at Khaite and Gabriela Hearst were just roomy enough to fit essentials for day and night. Belts, seen at Carolina Herrera, Khaite, and Brandon Maxwell, ranged in size and fabrications and anchored key looks. Gloves have staying power and as Khaite and Altuzarra proved, they were a timely reminder that a glove is the easiest styling hack, instantly adds a sense of drama, and is practical for winter weather.

Any Snow Advice: Dressing for the snow was a hot topic on our Instagram broadcast channel, especially when it comes to footwear. LSD [Lauren Santo Domingo, cofounder and chief brand officer of Moda Operandi] keeps things polished yet practical with a over-the-knee lug sole (she loves Bottega Veneta), while other team members opted for chunky-soled sneakers and waterproof rubber boots spanning the designer matrix from Bottega Veneta to Ugg. 

Janelle Lloyd, women’s ready-to-wear fashion director, Bloomingdale’s

Favorite Collections: Brandon Maxwell, Proenza Schouler, Helmut Lang, Khaite and Retrofete was a blast, a true party at The Plaza!

Mood: This season the runway showed approachable, yet exciting, looks for the modern woman complete with the perfect bit of drama and edge.

Key Trends: Power dressing took a softer approach, pairing sharp blazers with maxi length skirts in flowy fabrications. The red revival continues with head-to-toe red present at several shows including Jason Wu, Carolina Herrera and Altuzarra. Statement faux fur outerwear, sophisticated suede 1970s references and monochrome dressing were other notable themes.   

Lacking: Pants were a bit lacking, as collections were refreshingly feminine and full of dresses and skirts.

Key Accessories: Cuff bracelets, bangles and sculptural jewelry. Smaller bags are back, a nice change of pace from the oversized carryalls we saw for spring. Textures like suede and snake took over the handbag and footwear categories this season.

Any Snow Advice: I won’t typically sacrifice practicality, when it comes to my style, so layers of cashmere and wool kept me warm during the storm. I definitely had to rethink my look and start from the ground up with snow-ready footwear. 

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