An East Coast Edit

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Now consider – which tribe do you resonate with? Currently the leading line of inquiry initiated in New York by this season’s visceral conversation with the elements, in which ubiquitous utilitarianism truly found its chic medium. Jason Wu, who lent a hand to pared down old-Hollywood class-ism this season, called it an “unflustered beauty”, as long, stark silhouettes ruled, pitted against the proliferation of sloping, boxy cocoon forms, incorporating the preponderant concepts of survival, strength and ultimately substance as 2014 takes shape.

The rigid respectability and innovative futurist agenda of urbanite Alexander Wang echoed this most audibly, raising quite a number of brows by shining a brisk light on the happening potential of Brooklyn, introducing supreme thigh-scraping boots, an intense emphasis on nifty outerwear, and concluding the show with a cutting edge pièce de résistance, heat-sensitive leathers, prone to a compelling environmental shift of their colouring.

This pledge to steel-clad style also saw the likes of Prabal Gurung, inspired by the zen-like mystique of Mustang in the Himalayas, and Altuzarra – purveying a linger of quintessential luxury – embark on bold, deconstructed, crafty combinations that pack their own kind of punch, laced with a sub-conscious drama and underlying tension-fuelled affectation, targeting a mature elegance by counter-attacking conventions. The prevalent mainstay of A/W layering took on a cunning code – yet careful not to disrupt the lean silhouettes, ensuring that manipulations of the body be aligned with this season’s aesthetic – take Helmut Lang for instance, while forays into a variety of frenzied prints served to reverberate the affinity with tactile textures this season.

The energy of these multi-faceted factors also became fused into slick lashings of – a go-to this season – leather, remaining an attractive staple at Porsche Design, naturally, or exaggerated with linear tribal scars; on vinyl no less, at Ralph Rucci, endorsing the ascendancy of, somewhat abrupt, jet-black hues this season.

Alternatively, defying the sombre shades, some chose to push specific zings of vivid pantones. Observe Thakoon’s masterful layered leagues of saturated “painted landscapes” inspired by pigmented Patagonian culture. Furstenberg’s festive celebration of her 40th anniversary, marvellously dubbed Bohemian Wrapsody, which depicted the triumphant tour de force of the DVF genesis, subjecting whimsical prints and bursts of beloved cobalt and fuchsia hues to the timeless wrapped feminine form, also followed an ideology akin to those with Thakoon’s outlook.

Moving on to some specifics. Stylised silken pelts  pervaded the NY catwalks, from puffed fox collars and modest trims at DVF, shaggy Mongolian lamb textures at BCBG Max Azria that shunned reticence and technicolor patchwork mink at Altuzarra – without even beginning on young-blood furrier, Brandon Sun, and his exacting contemporary entrants, or the bulbous fur clutch, and lively muff adaptions, riding on a swank wave of success.

Collectively, the exposure to NYFW’s sartorial inclinations, heralds the 2014 shows and through this season’s journey, with a fairly diverse deliberation of sorts, we face the year ahead with ambiguity, yes, but a storied anticipation nonetheless.

by Liam Feltham

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