Perhaps the most anticipated show on schedule, Peter Do’s debut for Helmut Lang halted all the commotion around its show dead in its tracks. The show began with a poised poem by Ocean Vuong read aloud for the hundreds of guests situated in a brutalist concrete basin below the Lower East Side as the fashion fans beamed down on us from the street level.
Days before, Do had teased us with reference to Helmut Lang’s NY Taxi Cabs advertising, something Lang first initiated whilst other high fashion peers were slow to see the value of. The runway floor was painted like an NYC crossing and elevated basics featured slogans such as “Your car was my first room”. For some, the slogan tee can come across as corny, but for others can bring a witty playful nod to the seriousness of fashion and can provoke a deeper essence of meaning. The taxi references were also wound into the collection with swathes of yellow and fuschia seat belts harnessing the iconic black tailoring, which had Do’s elevation from his past positions and namesake label.
Do and Lang hold notoriety in upmarket minimalism, and whilst many Do and Lang fans wanted a dramatic entrance, it was instead a shoe-horn, a foundation base from which Do can progress. While still referencing the Helmut Lang brand, Do said he wanted to make clothes that will “last a lifetime, passed down through generations.” Longevity is rare in the fashion industry, but I hope he’s given the time so we can discover just what Peter Do’s helm at Helmut Lang will offer.
This year, the designer collaboration has reigned supreme – Gucci x Adidas has continued its commercial success, while Jean Paul Gautier’s latest collaboration with British fashion designer Charlotte Knowles – and recently teased upcoming partnership with Simone Rocha – is possibly the most exciting offering released this year. The latest pair to team up are Spanish stalwarts BIMBA Y LOLA and Palomo Spain for the design and creation of the BIMBA Y PALOMO collaboration.
Palomo Spain creative director Alejandro Gomez Palomo has been quietly perfecting his brand’s message, aesthetic and craft. He showed us beauty and elegance with hearty Hispanic passion and tragedy. This was blended with BIMBA Y LOLA’s fluidity and camp aesthetic, resulting in conservative dresses on male models, lace shirts, cropped tailoring and plenty of silk, finished with couture-inspired headpieces and XXL accessories. The flamenco-inspired music accompanied romantic long red dresses, emphasised models making eye contact with the guests, interacting with them and even occasionally handing out a rose.
The thorns of the collection, entitled ‘Cruising in the Rose Garden’, were represented through black leather biker jackets with strong, padded shoulders that meandered down into a cinched hourglass waist, creating a striking silhouette and tactility. Skimpy, racy camisoles and lingerie turned heads and gave the show another edge. This collection felt strong and sophisticated yet fluid and sexy – with no one aesthetic overpowering – showcasing the success of true collaboration.
The brand is “on the journey,” and the show was undoubtedly on one too. The most striking of all the models seen this week were there, with large, grimacing and at times harrowing smiles slapped across the faces of each model. Not one to shy from intellectual references, the smiles themselves seemed to infer the denial of the climate crisis feigned by many (particularly oil giants) in an “I’m fine” type of way, when we are absolutely not fine.
The soundtrack bellowed, “Why are we here? The Earth’s on fire“, something I often ponder while watching banal fashion shows that say nothing and do nothing. But not this one. The clothes were colourful, exuberant and somewhat over-styled in a way that was in keeping with the rest of the week and much of the street style witnessed in New York. Styled with plenty of layering and cutouts, lace appeared through silk and endless collaging.
The designs themselves were programmed by feeding the previous collections into AI and letting it churn out new designs. It was then on the team to refine these looks and actually make them. A satirical middle finger up at the many reports of how AI will render all our jobs obsolete in the near future. Plenty of floral motifs emblazoned silk and satin, and check trousers were covered with pink wraps and then again with silk and lacey frills. Strong and broad shoulders were softened with glossy fabrics and lightweight drapes. It was weird, fun and serious all at the same time.
I will gladly take anything that will transport me away from Manhattan’s chaotic streets, and Tanner Fletcher did precisely that. Design duo Tanner Ritchie and partner Fletcher Kassel have gained cult popularity and notoriety of late. In June, they were listed as one of ten CFDA/Vogue Fashion Fund finalists, and in their signature bow-embellished suit was recently worn by Bad Bunny on the cover of Time magazine.
The door opened to The American Dream of a Beauty Pageant with a live band and presenter. This show had a nostalgic 60’s feel, the kind of event you’d expect some powerful mafia boss to be sitting at a table near the band, sending other guests bottles of expensive wine accompanied with a wink. Models appeared out of the curtain, handing the presenter a card with a short biography as they descended down the stage to the audience. The cast included many international folks, too, not just models. Journalist, author and former 90’s Nickelodeon creative director Anne Kreamer swanned down the runway in a milky twinset with floral print. British model Richard Biedul, a long-term friend of the house also chucked their name in the hat, featured in a white evening suit with swooping peak lapel, contrast black borders, and a flamboyant pussy bow propelling from the collar. Miss Universe R’Bonney Nola, closed the show in a grand ivory gown with immaculate detailing and a striking silhouette.
Tanner Fletcher showed us that clothes can be personal, fluid and expressive. The nods to the past of traditional dress accompany a modern sense of sexuality. A keen eye notices the craft and precision in the fabrics, especially tailoring and evening dresses with softer sharpness. A green velvet tuxedo and partnering dress shone, as did the detailing in looks with lace and silk. Thanks for the trip away, Tanner Fletcher. When can I return?
Brett is a sustainable fashion campaigner, model and content creator.
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