It’s the final countdown to New York Fashion Week, the event that tends to inspire a mix of anxiety, stress, and sheer excitement. Vogue Runway already has nearly 200 shows on its calendar, with several more trickling in—and despite the guaranteed exhaustion, the schedule is looking more exciting than it has in seasons. Fashion has been in flux for a while now, and lately it seems we’ve been faced with more bad news than good: beloved designers exiting their posts, businesses closing. In light of that, we’re happy to see a news-heavy NYFW schedule, from designer debuts to first-time menswear shows and a few can’t-miss dinner parties, too. Below, we’re highlighting everything you need to know ahead of the week—and what everyone will be talking about in the front rows.
First, the Designers You Won’t See on the NYFW Calendar
A few designers got a jump-start on Spring 2019 by showing their collections in June, when everyone else was in Resort 2019 mode. Alexander Wang led the charge with his show at Pier 17, the first “phase” of his new June/December plan. (His Fall 2019 show will take place in early December; in fact, the CFDA has already published its dates for New York Fashion Week: December, a first-of-its-kind event, December 2–5.) Narciso Rodriguez also presented his Spring 2019 collection in June, telling Vogue’s Nicole Phelps: “It’s right for the times and the business, and it’s definitely right for my personal life.”
Other designers combined their Resort 2019 and Spring 2019 collections in June, both for the sake of efficiency and to get their lines in front of buyers and editors sooner. Rosie Assoulin, Victor Glemaud, Bonnie Young, Ji Oh, and Simon Miller are a few who made the switch, so they’ll be absent from NYFW. Of course, Vetements really started this trend two years ago when Demna and Guram Gvasalia chose to follow the couture calendar not the ready-to-wear seasons. They debuted their Spring 2017 women’s and men’s collections at Paris couture week in July 2016, and have shown coed Spring collections in July and Fall collections in January ever since. Other brands, like Kenzo and Alyx, have taken to showing their women’s and men’s together during the menswear shows in June.
Several more designers are taking a break from Fashion Week this season. Adam Selman, Helmut Lang, Public School, and Kendall + Kylie are not currently on the NYFW calendar, and neither is Colovos, which recently switched to a pre-collection-only schedule. You won’t see Victoria Beckham at her usual post-show Balthazar brunch, either: She’s celebrating her label’s 10th anniversary with a major show at London Fashion Week.
Other Designers Are Swapping Traditional Runway Shows for Luncheons, Dinner Parties, and Cocktail Hours
Any Fashion Week veteran will tell you it’s next to impossible to squeeze in a proper meal when you’re zigzagging between 10 shows a day in downtown Manhattan, West Chelsea, the Upper East Side, and Brooklyn (Ulla Johnson, Eckhaus Latta, R13, Pyer Moss, and Lou Dallas are all showing in the borough, which might be a new record). This season, grabbing a bite will be blissfully easier thanks to the designers hosting lunches, breakfast shows, and, in Ralph Lauren’s case, a black-tie sunset dinner in Central Park. He’s celebrating 50 years in business, a milestone that certainly calls for sweeping views. His 40th anniversary show was also held at the Central Park Conservancy back in 2007 and drew a V-VIP crowd that included Sarah Jessica Parker; Robert De Niro; Martha Stewart; and Lauren’s fellow designers Diane von Furstenberg, Vera Wang, and Donna Karan, so it’s safe to expect a star-studded turnout on September 7.
Brock Collection normally stages a traditional runway show at one of the main NYFW venues, but Kristopher and Laura Brock are changing things up with a more intimate show at Daniel Rose’s beautiful French restaurant, Le Coucou. “While we designed Spring 2019, we imagined the dresses on women in their real lives, dining, dating, living, and having fun . . . maybe in Paris, in a tiny French café,” the designers told Vogue via e-mail. “We chose one of our favorite restaurants downtown, Le Coucou. With the girls parading though the space in vibrant, romantic dresses, one might imagine doing the same.”
CFDA/Vogue Fashion Fund finalist Jonathan Cohen, who has spent years hosting private appointments, is staging his first official Fashion Week event on September 6 with a party and salon-style mini show. After guests have chilled out, Cohen will walk them through every look in a format that mirrors intimate, old-world couture shows.
Lela Rose, who’s become known for her garden parties at charming venues like La Sirena, the Elizabeth Street Garden, and Little Owl Townhouse, is taking over another venue for Spring 2019: Grand Banks, the sailboat-slash-bar docked at Pier 25 in Hudson River Park. Tanya Taylor and Staud are hosting luncheons for the first time, and Sandy Liang—who showed her Fall 2018 collection at Mission Chinese Food—is heading to Congee Village for drinks and Cantonese snacks. Here’s to a delicious week!
There’s Going to Be a Lot of New Menswear This Month
Later in the season, Haider Ackermann, Lemaire, and Emporio Armani will join the likes of Gucci, Calvin Klein, and Vetements with their first coed shows. The trend is more popular in Europe, but we’re still in for a few surprising menswear turns here in New York. Fernando Garcia and Laura Kim will put male models on their Monse runway for the first time, debuting a capsule of unisex pieces: “From the very first season of Monse, we’ve had male customers who love and support the brand,” the designers told Vogue. “Many of our silhouettes are oversize and appeal to both women and men, so we felt it was natural to incorporate a few intentionally unisex styles into the Spring 2019 collection. These further emphasize that our brand, at its core, has always been inspired by deconstructed menswear and playing on traditional notions of femininity.” The label is known for its deconstructed men’s shirting and slashed blazers, so we have a few ideas of what to expect from the unisex range. (We’re also curious if this mind-set might trickle into future Oscar de la Renta collections, too.)
After nearly 50 years in business, Norma Kamali is also launching her first “official” menswear collection—official being the key word, because the concept isn’t all that new to the designer. “The blurred lines of gender, race, and just about everything in our lives is a testament to what I feel will be one of the biggest movements in the fashion industry,” she says. “Whether a [unisex] collection is designed purposely to create styles that ignore gender or there are two [separate] collections, there is an electricity in the air about combining them.” Kamali has deep roots in unisex fashion, dating back to the days of Studio 54, when male bouncers wore her signature sleeping bag coats. “In the ’70s, there was a time when 50% of my clients were men,” she adds. “The New York Dolls were an inspiration to all of us during this time, and they would style themselves during visits to my shop.”
Of course, if you’re looking for a more immediate way to try out some new menswear, The Row’s debut men’s collection will launch in stores in October.
The Season’s Big Designer Debuts Aren’t Just in London and Paris
Yes, we’re all waiting with bated breath for Riccardo Tisci’s first Burberry runway show and Hedi Slimane’s rethinking of Céline, but there are buzzy debuts happening stateside, too. Chris Peters, one half of the design duo Creatures of the Wind, which stopped producing runway shows, is presenting his first solo collection under the label CDLM on September 5. Carly Cushnie is also striking out on her own after 10 years of working with Michelle Ochs on their label Cushnie et Ochs: Her rebranded line, known simply as Cushnie, will hit the runway on September 7 and feature denim for the first time alongside her signature cut-out dresses and cocktail separates.
There are a few heritage brands “graduating” to the runway for the first time, too. In its 40-year history, Escada has never produced a runway show, let alone hosted a Fashion Week event in New York (the brand is based in Munich, Germany). Its new global style director, Niall Sloan, will show his fresh vision for the house in a runway show on September 7 at the Park Avenue Armory, a popular venue with both Tom Ford and Marc Jacobs. Escada’s heyday was in the ’80s and ’90s, the most-referenced decades in fashion at the moment—so if ever there was a time for the house to reclaim its relevance, it’s now.
Kate Spade will also stage its first-ever runway show at the New York Public Library, which will serve to introduce the brand’s new designer, Nicola Glass. Just three months after the house founder’s tragic death, we’re expecting a tribute of sorts, as well. (On that note, Frances Valentine, the accessories line Kate Spade cofounded in 2016, is still in business, but will not be participating in NYFW; the team has been posting its own tributes on Instagram.)
Prepare to Stay Up Late—Or, at Least, Later Than Usual
New York Fashion Week isn’t generally an opportunity to catch up on sleep (and if you’re on deadline for stories and reviews, let’s just say you’re lucky to get a few hours). Maybe the schedule really is just that crowded or brands are embracing the idea of a show that transitions into a party, like Alexander Wang’s—how else to explain the number of 9pm shows this season? Jeremy Scott and Kith are both showing at 9pm on the 6th; Area is showing at 9pm on the 8th; and LaQuan Smith chose the 9pm time slot on the 9th. By the looks of the Europe schedule, the late-night show is a trend that’s likely to continue: Gucci’s coed show on September 24 in Paris is slated for 9pm, too. And considering it’s being held at the legendary Le Palace nightclub, it’s bound to turn into a rager.
Rihanna Returns to NYFW—But Not With a Fenty x Puma Show
We didn’t have to mourn the calendar’s absence of Fenty x Puma for long. Last week, we learned that Rihanna will in fact be hosting a New York Fashion Week event—this time for her lingerie collection, Savage x Fenty—on September 12. We don’t have all the details yet, but even if you can’t make it to the party—surely to be one of the biggest and best of the week!—you’ll be able to order the Fall 2018 collection immediately at SavageX.com.
Originally published on Vogue.com