The fashion world is in a state of flux. Trends come and go with the blink of an eye, and social media has elevated the concept of “fast fashion” to new heights. In this rapidly changing landscape, the first major story to emerge from New York Fashion Week is something that might seem surprisingly straightforward: designers are creating clothes for the real world.
In a time when fashion often feels like clickbait – pieces designed solely for online impact and viral moments – the recent collections at New York Fashion Week offered a refreshing change. Designers are returning to the core essence of fashion: creating garments that are not only stylish but also practical, wearable, and intelligent.
Designing for the Real World: Proenza Schouler’s Refreshing Collection
One of the standout moments of New York Fashion Week was the Proenza Schouler show. This iconic fashion house presented a collection that felt like a breath of fresh air in an industry often obsessed with creating garments for Instagram-worthy moments.
The show opened with Chloë Sevigny, a longtime friend of Proenza Schouler, donning a black blazer cinched at the waist with a thin leather belt featuring a silver oval buckle at the back. She wore it over a boxy leather wrap skirt, setting the tone for what was to come. The collection was a celebration of well-crafted blazers, knit dresses, and sequin knits.
What made Proenza Schouler’s collection stand out was its simplicity. It was a departure from the outlandish and impractical designs that have dominated recent fashion weeks. Instead, it focused on creating “just clothes” that are both stylish and functional. The runway showcased black suits with fluid carrot-leg silhouettes, v-neck black dresses with sliced skirts revealing strands of bonking white pom poms, and perfect double-breasted camel and blonde coats. Sequin knits were designed to gently shape the waist, adding a touch of glamour without sacrificing comfort.
Jack McCollough and Lazaro Hernandez, the creative minds behind Proenza Schouler, explained that they didn’t make any radical changes this season. However, they did approach their design process differently. Instead of sketching full looks, they started with headshots of women they admire, like Chloë Sevigny and Olympia Scarry. They thought about how these women dress in their everyday lives and designed individual pieces accordingly. This approach resulted in a collection that feels authentic and relatable.
In a world saturated with fantasy and Instagram-driven fashion, Proenza Schouler’s designers yearned for reality. They wanted to create clothing that resonates with women in their daily lives, clothing that doesn’t require a curated Instagram feed to shine. The collection, as Sienna Miller’s nine-year-old daughter put it while watching the show, was “just fabulous.”
A Wardrobe for the Everyday Heroine
The concept of creating a wardrobe for the everyday heroine is not limited to Proenza Schouler. It reflects a broader shift in the fashion industry towards creating clothing that is both practical and elegant. Gone are the days when fashion was solely about making a bold statement on the runway or generating viral moments on social media.
Designers are increasingly recognizing the importance of crafting versatile pieces that cater to women’s real-world needs. These pieces are not just about making a fashion statement; they are about empowering women to feel confident and comfortable in their everyday lives.
Brands like Toteme, The Row, Tove, and Maria McManus have been gaining dedicated followings for their focus on beautifully cut jackets and trousers with a touch of sophistication. These brands prioritize wardrobe essentials that transcend fleeting trends. They celebrate timeless and versatile pieces that can seamlessly integrate into any woman’s daily routine.
The fashion industry’s newfound emphasis on wearable and sophisticated clothing is a breath of fresh air for those who have grown tired of the constant pursuit of the next big trend. It’s a return to clothing that serves a purpose beyond the fleeting moments of a runway or red carpet appearance.
Designers with an Artistic Perspective
Interestingly, many of these designers advocating for wearable and sophisticated clothing have strong ties to the art world. While we often associate fashion designers beloved by artists with experimental and avant-garde designs, the affinity goes deeper. It’s less about creating clothes that resemble art and more about crafting garments that are intellectually and emotionally generous.
The art-fashion connection was evident in the Eckhaus Latta show, where sophistication and wearability took center stage. The collection featured sharp lines, concise silhouettes, and a predominant use of black. The designs exuded a timeless and confident sensuality, reminiscent of the ’90s when New Yorkers were known for their all-black ensembles, signifying a blend of neuroticism, sexiness, intelligence, and practicality.
Eckhaus Latta’s collection emphasized the refinement of revealing silhouettes and celebrated the wearability of each piece. It was about creating clothing that could seamlessly transition between being sexy and demure, all while maintaining a sense of power and confidence.
Celebrating the Joy of “Just Clothes”
In a world where fast fashion and Instagram trends often dominate the conversation, the concept of “just clothes” offers a refreshing perspective. It’s about appreciating fashion that rewards careful observation and lasting enjoyment, fashion that doesn’t rely on extravagant runway moments or viral sensations.
The joy of “just clothes” lies in their ability to enhance our daily lives subtly. They complement our routines without demanding attention. They empower us to feel confident and poised, whether we’re at work, running errands, or enjoying a night out.
Fashion has the power to be both practical and beautiful, and the recent collections at New York Fashion Week signal a promising shift towards this philosophy. It’s a reminder that fashion should serve the wearer, not the other way around. In an era obsessed with online impact and viral sensations, “just clothes” offer a return to the essence of what fashion truly means: wearable art that enhances our lives.