NY Fashion Week: Old Meets New

The Spring/Summer 2016 line of clothing has come and gone with New York’s 2015 Fashion Week. A weeklong event, the NYFW allows designers, both well-known and indie, a platform to exhibit their collections for the coming seasons. Originally established in 1943 as a way of bringing attention to American fashion rather than the more-popular styles of Paris, this year marks the seventy-third year of the event.

This year, with the way each brand represented itself, there was, as always, much variety among each designer with quite a few similarities. Since these clothes were for the traditionally bright and colorful spring and summer seasons, there existed a recurring floral theme throughout much of the designers’ products. A combination of beautifully mixed textures as well as simpler, more modern designs dressed the runway’s 7-day stretch.

This week has shown that trends in fashion seem to be shifting towards more of a throwback look, taking nods towards the various trends set by the ‘70s, ‘60s, and even as early as the ‘50s. Take some of Derek Lam’s outfits for instance, which represent a modern ‘70s style with floral patterns and long flowing garments. In addition, there was also a collection of ‘70s style floral dresses by other designers such as Valentino.

Despite the common theme of old trends becoming new again, there was still an abundance of new and risky designs. Betsey Johnson’s Spring/Summer collection this year has demonstrated a pattern of bright, colorful and vivacious designs consistent with her previous work — the overall concept unifies both past and present trends.

Calvin Klein, on the other hand, was as dependable as ever with his traditional collection of casual dresses alongside a number of more provocative ones emphasizing a woman’s sex appeal and natural curves.

With this year’s designs and patterns blending fashion staples from the past with modern and experimental endeavors of the present and future, it seems the world of fashion will be slowly shifting in an interesting and unpredictable way. Of course, while the outfits may be beautiful, not all of them are ideal everyday wear.

This is where the dissonance creeps into the fashion discussion. To the untrained eye, these world-renowned designers’ dresses may look rather ridiculous and unwearable. The thing they don’t understand, however, is that fashion isn’t just clothes — fashion is art. Like music and painting, fashion is a unique form of self-expression that transcends one’s basic understanding of a piece that holds more meaning beyond surface level impressions.

Probably the most noticeable among the more eccentric wing of designers is Jeremy Scott. Scott’s line of clothing catches the eye, but certainly not for its subtlety or elegance. With fierce makeup and beehive hairdos — combined with brightly colored polka dots, patterns and portraits of people on the tops and skirts — it’s difficult to argue that Scott’s designs can’t be classified as anything less than contemporary art. In fact, according to the NYWF website, Scott had won the 1996 and 1997 Venus de la Mode Awards for Best New Designer.

From the way suits’ or dresses’ fabrics, textures and patterns are made to how well they accentuate the body when worn, NYFW is much more than its common perception as a giant advertisement for future clothing lines sold in high end stores. It’s a method of expression — a way to draw out one’s ideas and share them with the world. This is why Fashion Week is so significant to any culture. Fashion is a universal language that needs no words and Fashion Week is an opportune time for expression and exposure. Not only does it permit new and upcoming designers to share their talent, but it also shows what new art veteran designers have in store. It’s a time of admiration, observation, appreciation as well as insight into what’s coming next in style. As a result, fashion has become a truly glamorous industry, focusing almost completely on the clothes and not the people who wear them. You could say the models are simply assistants for the true stars in the spotlight. In terms of authenticity and the way fashion makes meaning, I believe most people wouldn’t have it any other way.