Experimentation, play, and glitter: a coronavirus-impacted New York Fashion Week got underway Friday with Fall/Winter 2022 shows by Proenza Schouler and Christian Cowan.
In its collection, presented in an art gallery in Manhattan's trendy East Village, New York brand Proenza Schouler played with shape, contrasting fitted waists with loose or slightly rounded skirts.
Designer Lazaro Hernandez said the idea was to exaggerate and juxtapose different forms to respond to "this whole body obsession these days with social media and everyone showing the body."
Model Bella Hadid wore an outfit featuring buttoned sleeves, accentuated shoulders, and a black velvet hooded top -- giving off a Catwoman vibe. "Experimentation and play are key, perhaps now more than ever," Proenza said of its collection.
Glamor and glitter
Christian Cowan -- who has dressed Lady Gaga and rappers Cardi B and Lil Nas X -- presented his collection in the observatory atop the One World Trade Center skyscraper that replaced the Twin Towers felled on 9/11.
The show had the atmosphere of a nightclub, highlighting the British designer's taste for glitter and glamor.
Ahead of the runway, the label teased fans with what might be in store by posting an image of the "Freedom Tower" all in pink on its Instagram page.
Despite pandemic restrictions and the Omicron variant upsetting preparations, several other brands have opted for in-person shows, including Michael Kors, Altuzarra, Tory Burch, Brandon Maxwell and Telfar.
A notable absence was Tom Ford, chair of the Council of Fashion Designers of America (CFDA) that organizes the event.
He was due to close the week next Wednesday but canceled at the end of January due to a surge of Covid-19 cases among his team.
"We have tried everything possible to avoid canceling our New York show but ultimately are faced with the sad fact that we will simply not have a completed collection in time," he said.
For several years now, New York has had to deal with big names deciding to skip the event in favor of displaying their latest collections elsewhere.
Some designers are also choosing to eschew the classic runway calendar, with growing criticism that the frantic pace of fashion is out of step with sustainability.
The absence of top creators like Christopher John Rogers -- the CFDA's women's designer of the year 2021 -- and Kerby Jean-Raymond's Pyer Moss brand, also provided an opportunity for emerging talents to grab the headlines.
Or at least that is the hope of labels such as Melke and Dauphinette, which promote sustainable and ethical fashion.
"It is really rewarding realizing that people can see the work that I've been doing and they think that it deserves a place amongst a bunch of other very successful brands," 26-year-old Emma Gage, who founded Melke during the pandemic, told AFP.
"It kind of really solidifies you as someone that people know is going to be around for a long time," she said inside her small studio in Bushwick, Brooklyn.(AFP)