x Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 26 July 2017

'Chill' is the New York Fashion Week trend for winter

Christian Siriano's tumbling models aside, the collections at New York Fashion Week are showing a more relaxed approach to winter than we have come to expect.

Richard Chai’s signature unfussy tailoring featured wrap jackets, wide-leg trousers and easy shapes. 
Richard Chai’s signature unfussy tailoring featured wrap jackets, wide-leg trousers and easy shapes. 

Spills and thrills are part of the fun of fashion week, and Christian Siriano's unfortunate models at New York Fashion Week were the first to succumbn to the pitfalls of fashion, with sky-high shoes lost during the show and one model fall over on the catwalk. These sorts of shenanigans aside, though, it's an easier, breezier approach to winter than we have come to expect in New York. Minimalist sportswear, one of the most dominant trends of the past few seasons, seemed to have broken free of its rigid roots into more relaxed silhouettes.

Take, for instance, BCBG Max Azria. Last season, it was all about pared-down dressing with strong lines and angles, but for autumn/winter 2011/12, it morphed into more laid-back looks. The second exit in a black silk dress with light brown, deep V-neck was simple, but its long hemline and low-slung belt made it appear fresher. A blouse cut from squares nullified the rigid angles with its sheer silk fabrication and the last three looks were so elegantly draped that they easily moved with models' struts.

Richard Chai, probably the most talented proponent of this unfussy look, delivered his signature to his most recent Love collection. Chai confidently showcased his tailoring chops by making grey wool look appealingly breezy in oversized wrap jackets, masculine wide-leg trousers and cosy outerwear.

This easygoing effect was also seen in a long champagne skirt worn under a sheer top decorated with metallic paillettes and in a dark grey dress accompanied by a floral-printed layer and cardigan, giving off a slight patchouli-laden whiff of grunge.

If Chai can call this unhurried aesthetic his trademark, then the Project Runway winner Siriano's is his kitschy personality, characterised by an asymmetric haircut and quips such as "ferosh". But after this collection, which reined in his propensity for over-the-top gowns in favour of well-made cocktail dresses and luxe separates - albeit teamed with those infamous platforms - Siriano's outsized character could soon finally come second to his covetable fashions.

For Perry Ellis menswear, an institution at New York Fashion week, winter meant a series of straightforward updates - a herringbone trench worn over a turtleneck, quilted bomber jackets paired with chunky shawl-collar sweaters, charcoal duffel coats that would have made a suitable armour to the day's freezing temperature in New York and herringbone trousers in denim and wool. Accessorised with large scarves, fingerless gloves and roomy, knitted caps, the effect was relaxed.

From veteran to rookie, Rebecca Minkoff is known for her handbags, staged her first-ever catwalk show this season. Minkoff's was rock 'n' roll-infused and to articulate the message she presented a series of slouchy knits, a tuxedo jacket with cigarette pants and a leopard-print onesie.

Cynthia Rowley, meanwhile, known for her girl-friendly frocks, eased up on the geometry created by the crispy silks of last season in favour of more generous shapes in saturated colours. There were simple, bohemian velvet dresses, an oversized skirt worn with silk blouse and glittery jacket, and oversized coats.