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#SuzyNYFW: Manhattan In Flower

Designer Tory Burch at her spring/summer 2018 runway show. Indigital

Tory Burch looks for artistic flamboyance; Jason Wu, floral elegance. Suzy Menkes reports from the front row at New York Fashion Week.

Tory Burch: Wearing Her Heart on Her Chest for Spring 2018

“I don’t just think of David Hicks revolutionising design – I think of flamboyance,” said Tory Burch, pointing to the drawings on her dress that came from the scrapbooks and archives of the late British artist of interiors.

Tory Burch Spring 2018. Indigital

The result was a surge of summer love in this New York fashion season for Spring 2018. And by holding her show in the gardens of the Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum in Manhattan, the designer entrenched her position as both an artist with print and an uptown girl.

Tory Burch Spring 2018. Indigital

With Tory’s designs, the apple never falls far from the tree. Or in this season’s case, from the green (albeit fake) grass, which landscape gardener Miranda Brooks had artfully developed into a country idyll.

With past ideas for patterns including Kilim rugs and Picasso’s pottery, the David Hicks inspiration, in collaboration with his son Ashley, worked well as a modern expression of elegance in print.

Tory Burch spring/summer 2018. Indigital

The basic silhouette was long and lean, whether for dresses or tops and pants, the geometric shapes giving a crispness to the look even when it was floral. But the freshness really came from a backdrop of white, as though the striped patterns, for example, were line-for-line recreations of the Hicks design manuals that were placed on each bench seat.

Tory Burch spring/summer 2018. Indigital

Geometric and floral motifs were a winning effect for this collection, curves and straight lines balancing each other and even appearing as flat metallic floral jewellery.

“For me, prints aren’t for everyone and they’re so personal – it’s hard to get prints to be universal,” said Tory, “But one thing that Ashley Hicks said to me about this print I am wearing is that his father would have hated it because he was so interested in symmetry – he would say I couldn’t make up my mind! But that’s why I wore it – and why I love it!”

Jason Wu: Twisted Flowers for Spring 2018

Jason Wu Spring 2018. Indigital

The floral decoration dotted around the Jason Wu show location was glamorous, glorious – overwhelming. More so than the show itself.

Jason Wu Spring 2018. Indigital

For these summer blooms with their reference to the abundance of nature should have enhanced the flower-patterned outfits or the more sober dresses in navy and black.

Jason Wu Spring 2018. Indigital

Instead, the wrap-around dresses, although graceful and stylish, looked slightly timid for a designer who dressed the former first lady for memorable political engagements.

Jason Wu Spring 2018. Indigital

Wu has a real understanding of cut, but this season missed the thrust that would have taken elegant outfits a stage further. Good points were the drapes, the slicing cutaways and the positioning of patterns, as in petals in different sizes and colours, perhaps scattered with Swarovski crystals.

What the show lacked, among perfectly nice clothes, was the urgency of design that makes the familiar ultra-special.

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