Photo: Louis Villers
New York Fashion Week 2017 Fall/Winter – femininity, feminism, and a brutally beautiful city
New York Fashion Week 2017 Fall/Winter: the homeostasis of the bumble bee hum of tool-belted makeup artists and the nonchalant, carrot grazing of model gazelles was intermittently cut through by the bitey Brooklyn accent of a zealous female security guard. Such commands as “Step back!” “Let the models through!” and “Get away from mah door!” were barked, unceremoniously, at the throng of photographers who – despite one pointedly reminding all that he had not one, but two, Vogue accreditations – had been waiting peevishly for the best of an hour for their call to shoot ‘first looks’ at TOME NYC. But this was, as it turned out, only the white noise prelude to the veritable warzone that then ensued, as front of house was finally opened, and we found ourselves caught in the crossfire of cameras shuttering, lights flashing, and vying voices which had finally lost all their cool.
TOME’s Fall 2017 collection, unabashed in its activism, challenged the sartorial language of femininity. This was expressed through men’s cuts with detailing that implied the naked female figure, tailored contouring that refused to be fully fitted, and the inclusion of models of diverse race, shapes and ages in the lineup.
At Tibi, the clichés of feminine conventions satirised in the hot pink runway installation (featuring tangled clothes hangers, retro bric-a-brac and other parodies of a 1950’s easy-bake-oven-home), set in stark relief the power-suit leitmotif of the collection itself. It told of the full-blooded New York woman, whose dreams must fight for survival in a vast concrete jungle, and whose career is nothing less than a battleground.
One could easily hypothesize that such boisterous themes in the fashion world of New York is a microcosm of the city at large. That juxtaposition of chaos and glamour, desire and disparity, is a recurring theme.
The architecture, a misfit jumble of art deco and postmodernism, remains in a perpetual state of decay and repair, the crisscrossing scaffolds that skirt (and obstruct) the sidewalks, are but quintessential to the New York City look.
New Yorkers are as unguardedly friendly in moments of leisure (not the least when queuing at one of many hotdog vans that decorated otherwise greyscale streets), as they are heartlessly brash in the rush-hour trenches. That the rule of the land is survival of the fittest was no better demonstrated than in one anecdote – in the category of ‘shit you can’t make up’ – when we were too slow to step into a taxi as the light turned green, it drove away at speed with door still flung open.
A ready acceptance of the fact that doing without as the price of a glamorous cosmopolitan lifestyle was cheerfully expressed by our porter at the New York Hilton Midtown, who joking-not-jokingly mused that our room was many times the size of his whole apartment. However, despite such overwhelming odds of ‘making it’ in such an eat-or-be-eaten city, one cannot help but be seduced by its thrilling pace and rapidly changing faces, and its unabashed sexiness in an atmosphere of things about to happen.
All these amount to an undeniable beauty, not of the demure grace and richness of Europe, but a raw, edgy and unapologetic exquisiteness.
Location: New York City, USA | Photography: Louis Villerson Canon 5D Mark III DSLR & Fuji Instax Wide 300 Polaroid