Hello and happy London Fashion Week!
Yup, it starts today — though I am heading off tomorrow. I needed two days at home to see my family and do my laundry before hitting the road until Oct 3.
These weeks are so frenetic, everything turns into a blur. Because of that, you know that when something has stayed with you, it’s probably worth remembering. So before I disappear into the wild European yonder, I want to pass on what, after seven days of New York fashion, made my top five list:
1. Pyer Moss by Kerby Jean-Raymond: Learn this name now. This was hands-down one of the best shows of the week, addressing the issue of race today with real resonance and great style. Fashion can get tricky when it gets into politics, but Mr. Jean-Raymond kept his balance perfectly. Plus, he made a lot of very good clothes.
2. Ralph Lauren’s 50th anniversary show and party: Even jaded old me got wide-eyed and mushy at the big ’do in the park. Pretty much the entire American fashion establishment (plus Oprah, plus Hillary, plus Spielberg, plus plus plus) came out to honor Ralph, and he in turn honored the idea of the rainbow nation with a show as diverse as they come.
3. Trends to know: not to tout our own horn, but … tou tout: The Thursday Styles Browsing column got it right when it named marigold the next millennial pink (calling it “Gen Z Yellow”). It was on every runway, including Michael Kors, Marc Jacobs, Brandon Maxwell and Carolina Herrera. So was fringe. Get ready.
4. The “Crazy Rich Asians” Influence: The cast members of the late summer hit were (probably not surprisingly) the front row guests to get. Henry Golding showed up in a white dinner jacket at Tom Ford, and Awkwafina was at Longchamp, Opening Ceremony and Prabal Gurung, where she was joined by Gemma Chan. Anyone want to bet how long it takes a brand to snatch them up as official “ambassadors”?
5. Fear: Not the Bob Woodward book, but the looming sense of dread. At Calvin Klein, Raf Simons managed it with a big dose of humor thanks to “Jaws” and a very creative riff on scuba-wear, but nearly every designer engaged with the issue on some level, even if it was simply Michael Kors anointing his floral funfest “fashion Xanax.”
For more specifics about the week, read all the reviews here, as well as coverage of the parties, the oddities and the happenings. Not to mention that very weird phenomenon visible on front rows all over: the prairie dress. I have not bought into it. But maybe you will.
Talk to you from Milan.
Your Style Questions, Answered
Every week on Open Thread, Vanessa will answer a reader’s fashion-related question, which you can send to her anytime via email or Twitter. This week’s question came from a call-out on Instagram. Questions are edited and condensed.
Q: I am a 29-year-old male with a decent salary and no significant debt. Still, I see such a disparity between the clothing that fits in my budget such as J. Crew and the heavily featured designers like Tom Ford and YSL. Are there men’s designers that you are following that fit more in line with more humble budgets? And because of the increasing spotlight on income inequality in the U.S., has there been any significant shift from designers that wish to reach a wider financial audience? Ben, Brooklyn
A: It’s a good time to be asking this question: There’s an enormous pivot to men’s wear going on as designers increasingly combine their lines on the runway, and women’s wear names like Prabal Gurung and The Row expand into men’s.
But as far as economic sensitivity goes, outreach has been pretty limited. The fast fashion collaborations that have brought names like Karl Lagerfeld, Alexander Wang and Victoria Beckham to a vast audience don’t seem to have filtered over into the men’s wear universe.
While we wait for some brand to wake up to that one, I asked Matthew Schneier, my fashion colleague who is about your age, what he would suggest. Here’s what he said: “I hand-wring over nearly every fashion purchase I make. Personally, I wear mostly affordable items with a few splurges here and there. Uniqlo is a great resource as far as I, and many fashion editors I know, are concerned. (My kingdom for a return of its Jil Sander-designed +J collection.)
“A step up from there, Our Legacy, out of Sweden but available worldwide, makes great, contemporary-priced men’s wear. Ditto Fanmail, from Brooklyn — not cheap, by any means, but not on the level of Mr. Ford.
“Lastly (and with apologies to the brands), I’ve become a militant sale shopper. If you can wait till the end of the season, you can find a ton at 25, 30, 50 and even 70 percent off. Wait even longer and things tend to recirculate in the booming consignment and resale market. With patience and a commitment to time scrolling, I’ve found favorite pieces on sites like Grailed for prices much closer to my budget than the tag price.”