Review: New York Fashion Week Fall / Winter 2017

©Collage / Oriane Baud

New York Fashion Week Fall/Winter 2017 is over and Veronika Heilbrunner reviews the best moments at Calvin Klein, Marc Jacobs, and The Row

My usual “New York: new year, new season, new everything” excitement certainly was a little muted after the recent political developments. Nevertheless, I had high expectations for the possibilities of instrumentalizing fashion – so I never thought for a minute about not going to show my support for American fashion, the power players and the young designers in equal measure.

When I received Daniel Marks’ letter about teaming up with BoF to use NYFW to kick off the month-long #TiedTogether movement – and using a white bandana to show your support – I was assured that we are not only working in an industry of dreams and creativity, but also in one with lots of power.

From this moment on, my search for the white bandana began – and then stopped immediately because I was on planes constantly. Luckily the hey woman!s back in Berlin were successful and when I arrived at my hotel and opened the Calvin Klein invite, mine was there: beautiful, snow-white, and extra-large (of course, we’re in America after all!!!)! And the positivity didn’t stop there – I’m  speaking purely about fashion now – read for yourself:

Most talked about: Calvin Klein

Between us, the main reason I came to New York for this season was to see Raf Simons’ debut at Calvin Klein. The weather – on top of the incredibly tight timing at the beginning of the year – is quite something to make up for…but it worked out amazingly! Expectations were high and mixed with the previously launched first campaign motifs displaying a wide range of beauty. My absolute favorite was Abbey Lee clad in a US flag, and my happiness to sit opposite her at the show (held inside a Sterling Ruby artwork) couldn’t have been greater.

Raf’s front row was a show-stopping A-list of the cool and the classic: from Brooke Shields (who excitedly realized during the show that her 80s self was on the denim labels – thank you for sharing your insider info, Laura Brown!) to Asap Rocky, Sofia Coppola, Gwyneth Paltrow, Julianne Moore, Lauren Hutton, and Stranger Things actress Millie Bobby Brown, just to name a few. A friend speed texted me afterwards that she even saw Tom Ford on somebody’s Instagram Stories…

The looks, as could be expected, were pure Raf Simons. So, it’s no surprise that I totally fell in love with all of the men’s looks. And especially the sturdy cowboy boots in brown with silver tips definitely “had me at hello”. As did the full denim-and-black-leather looks that resembled Robert Mapplethorpe’s style – one of Simons’ former inspirations. Did I mention the music was great? My favorite song was of course This Is Not America by David Bowie. I simply loved the new translation of it to “all-American”, especially in crazy times like these.

Favorite Look: Marc Jacobs

Thanks to personal reasons (as in “weddings only happen once in a lifetime” – hopefully!), I had to skip the last shows. And being famous for always closing NYFW with a BOOM, missing Marc’s show was obviously a fashion tragedy for me. But my mood lifted immediately when the images came through (thank god for the internet!) and I was sporting a very groovy smile right away: retro 70s ghetto looks in washed-out colors with fake fur collars, whale corduroy, hoodies, and glitter dresses.

Artist Urs Fischer designed the gold jewelry (also seen on Marc when taking his bow). And to quote the wise Tim Blanks from his report on BoF about the social media ban and how minimal the show was in comparison to former Marc Jacobs spectacles: “…maybe it was just his way of reminding us that hip hop came from kids with nothing, ingeniously shaping their own destinies in the face of withering indifference from the dominant white culture. It’s happening again.”

Favorite Show: The Row

One of the few shows that always reminds me why I am doing what I am doing in the first place. Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen’s incredible talent for reducing it all to the max – and with the opposite effect when it comes to impact – is just mind blowing. Every time. All over again.

This time it was held in a simply chic space on Spring Street, with several presentations only having front row seats, American coffee served to the arriving guests, and a superior breakfast wrapped in black linen on every seat – it all set the mood for the most classic (and therefore even more perfect) shapes and goods in their well-known dark and neutral color palette sprinkled with a few whites (loved the last white gown on Giedre!) and one intense red look.

This time there were no bags whatsoever to spot, but I couldn’t have taken my eyes off the supercool boots anyway. The 90s and super dark country soundtrack perfected the scene and gave it an overall badass appeal. Who doesn’t want to be a #therowwoman now?

Allover Social Media: Yeezy

Another show that I missed due to the previously explained reasons. However, this was not a problem. During my journey to the airport – and even until the last moment of boarding – I saw the image installations replacing the model exits (except the finale) numerous times, and surely from all possible different angles, and even backstage. Which is what you expect for a collection done by Kanye West.

What I didn’t expect was the impact those images had on me. I’ve admired his curated street looks since season one, but still this time it hit me hard. The coolness and simplicity of it was one thing, but the effortless appearance of the thought-through combinations of so-called basics is what gave it something extra. The hey woman! team would love to order look one six times over, please (our new uniform)!

Another favorite of mine: the famous three stripes of the Adidas logo and words like “Calabasas” and “Lost Hills” (especially cool on Lauryn Hill’s daughter Selah Marley) for street cred and 90s vibes. Not to mention the girl wearing her own hijab with the huge fake fur coat.

Favorite Venue: Sies Marjan

The Hilton Hotel in Midtown is certainly not somewhere you expect a fashion show to be held. Especially not when it’s a hot new brand’s third show, and one that has already made its name for exactly that: having amazing show spaces. After an under-construction Wall Street loft and a library, however, they chose a surprisingly beautiful ballroom in exactly that hotel. It was reminiscent of a Ladurée box, except for all of the kinda-cool looking air conditioning vents on the ceiling.

It’s that certain kind of clash that designer Sander Lak obviously appreciates. And, I do too! “Cheap”-looking fabrics like lurex and glitter and intensely colored satin were artfully cut and draped to release their beauty in movement – and then combined with almost unwalkable chunky shoes. He totally hit it this season!

Favorite Cocktail: Edie Parker

Alongside the System girls (aka power-duo Elizabeth von Guttman and Alexia Niedzielski), super-lovely founder and designer Brett Heyman sent out the invitation to see her bag collection in more relaxed surroundings – which happened to be the penthouse of the Plaza Athénée, overlooking the starry sky of Manhattan and Central Park. Needless to say, the refreshments and snacks were as superior as the pieces shown. I fell in love with the classic Edie Parker box clutch in all black with “yoga” written on it in a metallic red Metallica font.

Favorite Dinner: Zimmermann

I had just arrived in the midst of New York’s blizzard (with just a little delay of two hours) when I was thrown into an intimate dinner with the Who’s Who of New York (and certainly Australia, too). Nicky Zimmermann invited us to the private rooms above the cozy Italian restaurant Casa Apicii. What might feel like a clash of cultures at first happened to be my favorite NYFW night out.

Favorite Presentation: Diane von Furstenberg

Jonathan Saunders held his second round for the brand in a cool gallery space – and this time he certainly let the dogs out. I loved how he played with colors, proportions, prints, and furs (all fake). He certainly took it to another level. Guests (including the very cheerful Diane von Furstenberg herself) were enjoying the “moving” presentation of models walking in and out while holding a glass of champagne in their hand and discussing what to wear to the star-clad fancy dinner thrown at The Beatrice Inn later that night.

More of my favorites here:

Born and raised in Munich/Germany, Veronika’s professional career has developed from being a model to a fashion editor, to online luxury retailing and most recently style editor of Harpers Bazaar Germany. She currently lives in Berlin where in the beginning of 2015 she started a company with Julia Knolle, the ex-editor at large of Vogue Digital.
Oh, and she loves pugs!