x Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 22 January 2018

September 11 an emotional day on the New York catwalks

There were tears and moments of silence at New York Fashion Week shows on the 10th anniversary of the fall of the twin towers.

A model wearing Edun spring/summer 2012 at New York Fashion Week.
A model wearing Edun spring/summer 2012 at New York Fashion Week.

The fashion world stood still when the twin towers came down in the middle of New York Fashion Week a decade ago, but this year the shows on Sunday went on with moments of reflection and remembrance from the tents at the Lincoln Center to venues closer to ground zero.

"On a day like this, we're all American," U2's Bono said after the spring preview for Edun, the African-inspired brand he founded with his wife, Ali Hewson.

In an intimate hall at New York Public Library's Astor Hall, guests at Victoria Beckham's show twice stopped in their tracks on the way to their seats for moments of silence - one for each tower - as scheduled by the designer.

Linda Fargo, senior vice president of fashion at Bergdorf Goodman, wore a patriotic blue blouse and red trousers on the Beckham front row. "I didn't expect to be so emotional today, but I am," she said.

The designer Tracy Reese had been scheduled for her first New York Fashion Week show on September 11, 2001, and is proud to mark the anniversary at the tents on the same date this year. "At the end of the day, New York is unlike any other city in the world. Everyone worked together to pick ourselves back up."

At Beckham's show, her crisp, clean and sophisticated collection showed off her skills as a dressmaker. She added several outerwear pieces to the repertoire - including hooded satin jackets - but she mostly stepped back from the looser silhouette that she experimented with last season. Even the dresses with pleated skirts were built with tight bodices.

Beckham has made her hallmark out of well-cut geometric clothes, and it's all right for her to stick with it. It's the style that suits her best, anyway, as she showed off her post-baby figure in a zip-back shift while she took it all in from the front row.

At the DKNY show, however, the tight-fitting clothes made way for loose shirt-dresses, sheer sundresses, floppy hats and knee-length board shorts. Karan offered several cheerful looks in bold red, white and blue floral print. There were red-and-blue striped outfits, too.

Diane von Furstenberg's spring collection, titled "Beginnings", seemed more about renewal: her looks were fresh and breezy, but not too frilly or frivolous.

"The light appears and changes everything," she said in notes for guests who included Oscar de la Renta and Valentino.

At Edun, Bono and Hewson presented a mix of breezy, delicate florals and edgy laser-cut silks studded with rocker metal grommets.

Bright colour lit up the catwalk in a dark, cavernous warehouse, including some hand-dying in indigo using a technique from Mali on a flared jacket made of recycled hemp.

There were reds from deep clay to light salmon in African-inspired prints, tangerine in a parachute romper and solids in a range of whites, from silvery to bright.

A diamond print was featured on slouch trousers paired with a matching halter. The print was carried over to several other looks, including a silk scarf-dress with matching jersey leggings.

Organic white mesh for a jumpsuit had shorts laser cut in a fluttery petal shape. That detailing, along with the round metal trim, was all over the catwalk in short dresses, loose shorts, halter tops and trousers.

The company, founded in 2005, produces some of its clothes in Africa. With the help of artisan nuns in Kenya known as the "crochet sisters", the line includes their black, hand-knotted skirt and fitted dress trimmed in leather.

Hewson said in an interview before the show that Edun's latest collection was "kind of innocent but tough" as she tried to bring an "ethical" and steady, sustainable manufacturing industry to Africa.

Charlotte Ronson's show was another trendsetting success. Ronson gave her youthful customers a bit of a history lesson by drawing references from the Victorian era, including a tan suede jacket with an asymmetrical front and high neck; the 1920s, dropped-waist dresses; and the "restless grunge decade" of the 1990s - that's where the denim fitted in.

"There is a minimalist pulled-back feeling to the collection, a dreamy airy lightness, punched up with vivid hues of molten lava, faded chambray, crisp whites and electric neons," said Ronson in her notes.

"Denim is treated in a new way, we colour-block, patchwork, bleach bandanna motifs on chambray and use an array of denim hues to create a watercoloured plaid print."

She hit some of the season's main themes and successfully tweaked them for the trend-conscious fan. She had the floral halter-neck, blending tangerine, yellow and black on white, and the cropped crocheted top paired with a maxi skirt.