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Models walk for Calvin Klein during the Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Spring 2014. AFP
Models walk for Calvin Klein during the Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Spring 2014. AFP

The pick of the bunch at New York Fashion Week

Hundreds of the world’s best designers converged on the Big Apple to offer their vision of what’s next in fashion. Which ones stood out from the pack?

Calvin Klein

The label’s 10th anniversary women’s collection, designed by the Brazilian-born Francisco Costa, did something we didn’t expect from the mainstream minimalist brand: it surprised us. We expected the usual clean lines, but Costa gave us more: loose, box-cut tops paired with fluid and full skirts, which Costa says were inspired by the textures of New York when he first arrived in the city in the 1980s. The result: a line that’s technical, but slouchy. Oversized, but luxe and refined. It’s genius.

Kenneth Cole

The iconic Kenneth Cole’s latest batch of offerings surprised for being unsurprising. What stood out was his deft use of leather, a material he’s known for. Likely keen to attract the younger set, he threw in some leather shorts, leather shirts and leather backpacks – all new to Planet Kenneth Cole. But it was the baseball jacket with leather sleeve detailing that hit a home run: it gave Cole some relevance, without him having to sacrifice his tailored aesthetic.

Diesel Black Gold

Ease has emerged as a massive theme in this week’s presentations, both with men’s and women’s wear. Diesel Black Gold’s contribution to the casual concept were soft materials juxtaposed against hardware. Silk and cotton were paired with leather and denim, with accents like metal eyelets, discs, zippers and buckles. The collection was at its least successful when it took the textural contrast subtly; it succeeded when it went full on, like with this white dress.

Mark McNairy

No other menswear designer pushes the envelope like Mark McNairy. His latest line, his best work yet, featured an abundance of floral and camouflage. It was athletic, tailored and very ahead of our time. Remember these looks – this is how we’re going to dress up a decade from now.

Diane von Furstenberg

The veteran designer titled her collection Oasis, which inspired tunic-and-trousers sets and long, fluid dresses with jungle prints. Backstage before the show, she said she wanted to depict “an oasis of peace, of beauty, of colour and of harmony”. It is inspired work. If we look beyond the critique of form and structure to judge the collection’s marketability and the way these clothes speak to today’s customer, it was a hit.


When we found out Nautica was boldly sending 50 looks to the runway, we expected to hate at least half of the bunch. Foolish thinking, of course, but it would also sound lazy to say we loved the whole lot. So here goes: we loved the whole lot. In particular, we were taken by the front-pocket slim cargo trousers, which came in varied colours. They were stylish and masculine – quite practical, too.

Noon by Noor

The new offerings from Noon by Noor, the Bahrain-based label of two 28-year-olds, were made for 28-year-olds: they’re cute and wearable. It’s not couture, and it’s not visionary, but put their stuff on any high-street store and it will fly off the racks. It’s mainstream fare – and quite appropriately, the show’s soundtrack was nothing less than the song of the moment: Robin Thicke’s Blurred Lines. We were especially enamoured by the jackets covered in rosettes – the young designers should focus on these novel pairings next time.


The Japanese designer Yohji Yamamoto’s line with Adidas delivered our favourite look of the week: a light coat over a tie-dye style tee, paired with athletic trousers with a metallic sheen. It is fashion’s future: a return to simplicity. The clothes were easy, but accessible.

Todd Snyder

Casual classics were the order of the day at Todd Snyder’s collection. There was nothing funky or loud, just great wardrobe staples. Perhaps because Snyder isn’t trying to make a statement. He’s building a brand, a look. It’s not like he’s starting from scratch: Snyder designed for Polo Ralph Lauren and was head of menswear at both Gap and J Crew, before going solo in 2011. Sure it was a boring show, but it was refreshing to see someone stick to the classics. When his brand is built and a definitive look is established, we’ll expect him to play around. One standout item in his line – a blue coat – hinted on his next bright step.

Billy Reid

If there’s one item we wish every guy would purchase next season, it’s the stripe trousers by Billy Reid, whose show offered relaxed lines and loose, generous cuts in contrast to today’s skinny fit. It’s bohemian-chic, men’s division.


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