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Courtesy of Telfar

February 17, 2019

The Best and Worst of New York Fashion Week

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Best: The Row

Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen’s label begins its 13th year with its Fall 2019 ready-to-wear show, which featured inspired looks. The pieces included tailored lines and stunning outerwear with covetable, structured camel coats. In addition to the elegant tailored coats, the Olsen’s designed minimalist dresses that struck the hard balance of being tailored in the waist while featuring more flared edges.
One important aspect of this show is that it comes on the heels of a much discussed vacuum of female-led design houses. After designer Phoebe Philo left Céline and Hedi Slimane took over, it became Celine sans accent, and Silmane began producing extremely similar looks to one’s he created while at Saint Laurent. Imagine moody grunge try hards then add some black and white ads and throw in some sequin minis for good measure — albeit with great tailoring. A female-led, minimalist house designing well-constructed, wearable items that women want to wear. This RTW lineup allowed The Row to continue to ensure its place as a top designer and fill the gap that Philo left with her departure.

Worst: Coach 1941

Attempting to be relevant in the fashion industry is never a recipe for a memorable collection. Coach 1941 seemed to chase every trend (animal prints, fringe, logos) and failed to strike a unique cohesive image. The show this year bought into the logomania trend with a coach “C” embossed on a cheetah-esque print coat; but it did not come off as elegant nor stand out as some of the other logo heavy brands such as Gucci or Balenciaga.

Some of the geometric shapes featured on the coats were unique and seemed to show some promise for the brand. Coach 1941 Fall 2019 was an attempt to pivot to a more edgy look for the brand, but some of the attempts came off as inauthentic; maybe in the next few seasons Coach 1941 will be able to create a brand that sets trends rather than chases them.

Surprise Favorite: Maryam Nassir Zadeh

One of the best of NYFW shows was from was Iranian born and Lower East Side fixture Maryam Nassir Zadeh’s ready to wear Fall 2019 collection. Zadeh’s designs were colorful and featured tie-dye and ruffles, creating a playful yet sophisticated vibe; though some of the looks were more fanciful, they were paired thoughtfully and featured well-constructed clothes. Zadeh’s show was very inclusive and highlighted models of all races and sizes. Besides mixing patterns and colors in suits and dresses, the accessories were sublime, including a zebra belt bag to elevate any fall outfit. One of Zadeh’s calling cards is her ability to consistently designs some of the best shoes from wearable, stunning block heels to the F2019 RTW zebra boots. This was one of the best shows of the week and underscored why this designer has long been worn, loved and talked about by both fashion editors and the downtown fashion crowd.

Wildcard: Telfar

Queens native Telfar Clemens debuted his 2019 Fall/Winter line by scrapping the runway altogether, instead choosing to stage a rock concert that featured artists such as Dev Hynes and Ian Isiah and stayed core to this idea, right down to having his models crowdsurf rather than walk a runway.
It’s evident that the fashion industry doesn’t always know how to react to Telfar, who is a black, queer, self-taught designer, and this show is no different. Serving up Budweiser and White Castle sliders at one of fashion’s most prestigious events also further pulled Telfar away from industry norms.
The clothes themselves were as unique as their designer, including Telfar’s signature thigh cuts on denim and jackets with detachable sleeves, creating Telfar’s take on an all American “country men” aesthetic.

Biggest Streetwear Moment: Kith x Versace

To say the collaboration between Kith and Versace dominated the discussion around streetwear at New York Fashion Week would be an understatement. Kith designer Ronnie Fieg coordinated the rollout, choosing to have the collection partner with some of his favorite New York establishments such as Dean and Deluca and Sadelle’s to give the collecction its own New York lens.
The clothes themselves were decent but underwhelming. Kith x Versace is an example of two brands coming together to create something unique and interesting but still failing to maximize its potential. For a ready-to-wear collection, it’s difficult to see where any of these clothes could be worn without looking like you were locked in Quavo’s closet in 2012 and forced to fight your way out. None of the pieces hold up well on their own apart from some of the most basic items, such as the denim jacket. This collection marks the first time in Versace’s history that its Medusa logo was changed, which would make all of these items instant grails if they were better.
The womenswear collection was significantly better, as Versace’s signature loud prints carry over significantly better. The white crewneck with Versace’s signatre piping around the sleeve cuffs is the standout piece, showing once again that the simplest items are the best, although the print silk robe is fantastic as well.
The pricing of this collection was one of its biggest misses. The collection is priced at Versace levels, ranging from $325 for a hat to $3,995 for a camel hair topcoat. Considering how the collection feels like Versace entering Kith’s world, this pricing model should be closer to Kith’s more reasonable prices.

Ashley Davila is a senior in the School of Industrial and Labor Relations. She can be reached at amd395@cornell.edu. Daniel Moran is a sophomore in the College of Human Ecology. He can be reached at dmoran@cornellsun.com.