The second-last day of New York Fashion Week brought us the best of both worlds: unadulterated Judy Garland-inspired drama, courtesy of Christian Cowan and the newfound quiet luxury of Brandon Maxwell. Keep reading to discover more and check out our Day 4 picks here.
Here are our picks of the most memorable shows from New York Fashion Week Day 5:
The grandeur that was Judy Garland penetrated the veins of Christian Cowan as he presented his autumn 2023 show. He opened with a lilac satin suit, no doubt inspired by Garland’s style of her That’s Entertainment! album era. With further flourish and extravagance, Cowan conceived a glitter-ridden coat to honour her role in The Wizard of Oz, complete with red shoes and latex tights, as well as five variations of Garland’s iconic blue dress from her European tour. To conclude the show, a magnificent, feathered coat draped over one of the models, capped off with a comically heavy Broadway-ian headpiece. Such was the embodiment of Garland’s divine influence on the designer.
Who would have thought that NYC’s very own Brandon Maxwell would make a conscious decision to cut down on camp in favour of minimalist dressing? Seems like autumn 2023 is the time of surprises after all. The show is, first and foremost, a lesson in wardrobe-building – we see the satin-trimmed wide shorts in the first part of the show graduate to silk palazzo pants and shirt dresses with rolled-up sleeves. Sculpted knit basque bodices and turtleneck tops with flared sleeves in beige are a nod to Maxwell’s earlier most beloved creations in peplum and silk. Despite its perceived monotony, the collection re-emphasized Maxwell’s innate ability to create universal staples and weave sensuality into the mundane (at least if the leather bolero with a triangular hem is anything to come by).
The symbol of a woman’s righteous wrath was everywhere, its presence virile and determined. Sirens seemed to be everywhere at Bach Mai’s autumn 2023 show, their presence screaming out the designs as they moved in a majestic formation through the dimly lit cave. The light cascaded down the models’ bodies, drawing attention to the shimmery brocade, sequins and crystals that adorned their forms. There was an inescapable feeling of morbidity and glamour as his solemn characters slipped and slid through the darkness, with black chiffon decorating their figures like stars in the night sky. Models with sizes ranging from 4 to 12 were united in a display of diversity, defying the norms of New York’s runways this season. Such was a sight to behold in spectacular glory, an amalgam of the sublime with the macabre.
The complex webs of queer identity have been unravelled and rewoven many times by many different figures, from Oscar Wilde to Alexander McQueen. Neil Grotzinger, of NIHL, has been in this inquisitive coterie for a few years now. His vision for the autumn 2023 collection is united by the contrasts of the rugged and delicate, the industrial and ornate. Grotzinger presents an assemblage of deconstructed uniforms: camisole tops with rolled trousers, diaphanous halter necks layered over white tanks and numerous variations of these motifs. The collection’s theme was perfectly concluded with the last look – a top upcycled from Grotzinger’s grandmother’s wedding dress, made to look surprisingly coordinated with the ID lanyard hanging from the model’s waist.