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The most memorable shows at New York Fashion Week 2024, from Coach to Tory Burch

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They were all on the schedule this season along with another American powerhouse, Tommy Hilfiger, who kicked things off with a glamorous show that paid homage to New York.

While other US labels of global scope such as Ralph Lauren, Tom Ford and Marc Jacobs were no-shows, New York Fashion Week delivered what it is best at: solid ready-to-wear that may not please editors looking for directional clothes, but will certainly find favour with department store buyers, especially at a time when top luxury brands are cutting down on wholesale distribution.

Top models Emily Ratajkowski and Irina Shayk at the Tory Burch autumn/winter 2024 show during New York Fashion Week. Photo: Tory Burch

Steven Kolb, chief executive of the Council of Fashion Designers of America (CFDA), believes that the strength of New York Fashion Week lies in this mix of young and established talent. “When you have more established brands mixed with younger ones, they feed off each other and that increases the strength of American fashion,” says Kolb.

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“This year, it’s the 20th anniversary of the CFDA Fashion Fund, which is the gold standard for young talent’s programmes and the one that inspired the LVMH Prize and others. We’ve had Prabal Gurung, Altuzarra, Collina Strada come out of that programme,” he continues. “They’re a defining generation of US fashion. That’s why New York Fashion Week is so strong – it’s about creativity. Our chairman Thom Browne’s mantra is ‘creativity first’, but also business. Fashion is an economic engine for the city and for the country, employing thousands of people.”
A chunky knit at Altuzarra’s autumn/winter 2024 show. Photo: Altuzarra

While the entertainment value of the celebrity-filled European shows was lacking in New York, it was quite refreshing to see runway presentations that highlighted actual clothes rather than star-studded front rows.

A shearling coat at the Michael Kors autumn/winter 2024 show at New York Fashion Week. Photo: AFP

Here are our highlights from the shows …

Khaite

A blouse paired with a leather skirt at Khaite autumn/winter 2024. Photo: Khaite

It was likely a coincidence that the Proenza Schouler and Khaite shows took place on the same day. But Khaite has become what Proenza, as it’s known among insiders, used to be a decade ago: the go-to label for girls who want to look cool without trying too hard. Female fashion lovers always rave about the label’s chic separates and accessories such as its bestselling belts.

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Beautiful draping at Khaite autumn/winter 2024. Photo: Khaite

Expectations were high as founder Catherine Holstein was named American Womenswear Designer of the Year at the CFDA Awards in 2023. Filled with killer looks, the show was a masterclass in the art of draping, but also offered versatile leather separates, sharp tailoring and some outstanding fur coats. Holstein is the rare designer who’s able to please both novelty-hungry editors and no-nonsense customers.

Winter white at the Proenza Schouler autumn/winter 2024 show. Photo: Proenza Schouler

Altuzarra

Ruffles at Altuzarra autumn/winter 2024. Photo: Altuzarra

Joseph Altuzarra’s show, which took place on a chilly Sunday morning in the historic Woolworth Building in downtown Manhattan, was a chic, intimate affair and the perfect setting for his elegant creations. Altuzarra has always designed with his loyal customers in mind: think beautifully cut clothes for grown-up, confident women who want to look well put together, but are also not afraid to be sexy.

Harlequin prints at Altuzarra autumn/winter 2024. Photo: Altuzarra
This season, the designer was inspired by circus, dance and theatre performers (a silk-wrapped book of Henrik Ibsen plays was on every seat) but the outfits were far from costume-y. Pierrot ruffles, dancers’ leg warmers and harlequin patterns in black and white added just the right amount of whimsy to a winning line-up of chunky knitwear, soft tailoring and his signature long-sleeved asymmetrical dresses.

Ludovic de Saint Sernin

Ludovic de Saint Sernin collaborated with the Robert Mapplethorpe Foundation for his autumn/winter 2024 show during New York Fashion Week. Photo: AFP

The French designer is the Rick Owens of his generation. While their aesthetics couldn’t be more different, de Saint Sernin, much like the Paris-based American designer, has built a cult following that almost borders on obsession. His barely there clothes tend to expose flesh rather than cover it, and have a sensual appeal that never veers towards the vulgar.

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A men’s look from the Ludovic De Saint Sernin autumn/winter 2024 collection. Photo: Ludovic de Saint Sernin

This was his first show in New York, as he normally presents his collections in Paris. He stayed true to his tested formula of lingerie-inspired frocks for the ladies, shrunken, cropped tops for the boys, and lots of underwear with bondage undertones for everyone in between. The designer moved his show to New York because of a collaboration with the Robert Mapplethorpe Foundation. The late artist, known for his black and white photos of naked men, was a key player on the New York art scene in the 70s and 80s, and has long been an inspiration for de Saint Sernin.

Coach

Heavy layering and lots of accessories at the Coach autumn/winter 2024 show. Photo: Coach

The American leather goods house was another brand that celebrated New York in all its glory – sometimes quite literally. Bags came with apple-shaped charms, “I love NY” mugs, yellow cab key rings and NY Yankees baseball caps, while models wore Statue of Liberty earrings, among the many fun and whimsical touches.

While that all might sound a bit over the top and gimmicky, it was far from it. With its sombre palette, heavy layering and androgynous style, the collection had a romantic and slightly nostalgic vibe while still reflecting what young people want to wear today.

Plenty of cute New York-inspired accessories at the Coach autumn/winter 2024 show. Photo: Coach
Models looked like street urchins, sporting scuffed leather boots, oversized coats, worn-in denim and thick knitwear to protect them from harsh New York winters. The main song in the soundtrack, “Moon River” from the film Breakfast at Tiffany’s, was another nod to the Big Apple. Stuart Vevers, the British-born creative director of the label, also mentioned the late Carolyn Bessette-Kennedy – a muse for many designers – as a source of inspiration, but his connection to the 90s fashion icon runs deeper: they both worked at Calvin Klein back in the day.

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Tory Burch

Strong silhouettes at the Tory Burch autumn/winter 2024 show. Photo: AFP

Designer Tory Burch, who this year is celebrating the 20th anniversary of her eponymous brand, has always been associated with a classic East Coast sensibility that often came at the expense of strong fashion statements.

In recent seasons, however, she has started to bring a more fashion-forward approach to her designs while still staying true to the DNA of her brand, which is still known for its bestselling bags and shoes emblazoned with her signature golden logo.

A look from the Tory Burch autumn/winter 2024 fashion show during New York Fashion Week. Photo: AP
Gone are the days when Burch would base her collection on society swans or the Palm Beach and Aspen set. She’s entering her third decade in business with a new-found focus on clothes that could stand on their own next to European brands such as Prada and Miu Miu.

For autumn/winter 2024, Burch highlighted volume and silhouette with a focus on strong, angular shapes, fuzzy materials with unusual textures and a series of hoodies paired with pencil skirts that looked super chic.

Thom Browne

A raven-patterned coat at the Thom Browne autumn/winter 2024 fashion show. Photo: AFP
Thom Browne’s theatrical shows feel very much at home in Paris, where he normally presents his collections. This season, the newly minted chairman of the CFDA staged his autumn/winter 2024 show in his home turf.

Held at The Shed, a performing arts centre on the west side of Manhattan, the show was as extravagant as you would expect from Browne. The designer recreated a snow-covered fairy tale land populated by children, witches, black bare trees and ravens. The birds were a recurring motif and also appeared as patterns on gargantuan coats and as headpieces. A reading of The Raven, a poem by 19th-century writer Edgar Allan Poe, played during the show.

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The fairy-tale set at the Thom Browne autumn/winter 2024 fashion show during New York Fashion Week. Photo: AP

Browne can indulge in his flights of fancy on the runway thanks to his commercial success. His shrunken suits, hoodies, cardigans and socks are the bread and butter of his business. He has a very loyal customer base, who will certainly find plenty to buy from this collection once these showpieces are translated into commercial items that stay true to his preppy aesthetic.

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