Fashion is always about fantasy. So as designers prepare for the latest installment of New York Fashion Week, which kicks off today (September 8), they've looked far and wide for intriguing ideas that get customers so excited that they want to race into stores — or online— to buy styles they absolutely must have.
In this fashion week preview, the inspirations of top designers and up-and-comers who are likely to be the next big name in fashion come from around the world — the sun-splashed shores of the Italian resort of Capri, the streets of Panama, the steel-tinged edges of the New York skyline and tropical, multicultural Houston. (It's the first time in my more than a decade of covering fashion that a Texas city has inspired a New York-based designer to dream big.)
While designers have picked their inspirations, they haven't quite figured out what to show their looks on the runways during the social media age. Some designers, like Tom Ford and Rebecca Minkoff, are highlighting styles that can be purchased immediately. But most designers are still following the established rules of unveiling designs that will appear in stores next spring. They want to create buzz and give customers something to dream about.
Designer: Vivienne Tam
Inspiration: "The flora and fauna of the ecologically diverse and most multicultural city in the US - Houston, TX."
Designer: Christian Siriano
Inspiration: "My spring 2017 collection is perfect for a getaway on the Isle of Capri. Vintage photos from the '60s and '70s inspired a cool, modern seaside collection fit for a world-traveled woman."
Designer: SUNO's Erin Beatty and Max Osterweis
Inspiration: The starting point for the SUNO spring 2017 collection was a series of 10 Mary Cassatt Japanese woodblock prints. They depict intimate feminine scenes – a woman bathing, a mother and child, a woman thoughtfully composing a letter. Using simple lines and soft colors – inky blues, corals and creams, she captures the simple beauty of these everyday moments.
"For this collection we wanted to focus on creating something that felt somehow closer and more intimate. We played with warmer colors, in gentle Japonesque florals, embroidered motifs that float atop soft ethereal fabrics, and wide set plaids that frame feminine silhouettes.
"In terms of styling we continued to look at proportions – slightly shorter this season, with a focus on unusual closures – back ties and unexpected volumes. As always, we continue to explore contrasts, with boxy pinstripe pants and pullovers, creating an overall look of cool, relaxed femininity."
Designer: Nicholas K
Inspiration: ""Desert Dwellers"
The Nicholas K collection is 70 percent sustainable this season. Stemming from the inspiration, Wadi Rum (a protected area of desert wilderness in Jordan), the collection showcases high fashion pieces made from sustainable materials. Using fabrics made from organic cotton or alpaca fur as well asv egetable dyed leathers and tencel, the dramatic designs of this season are using conserved materials the same way the desert landscape of Jordan is being conserved.
Designer: Bibhu Mohapatra
Inspiration: “With this seasons collection, I am honoring a myriad of unnamed muses who inspired not only myself, but the world of arts and culture during the prolific Parisian La Belle Époque (The Beautiful Era).”
Designer: Nicole Miller
Inspiration: "My spring 2017 collection is a culture mix, blending elements of traditional Panama with modern New York City influences. As the world gets smaller everything gets woven together."
Designer: Banana Republic senior vice president of design Michael Anderson
Inspiration: “Inspired by modern techniques and traditional craft and how new proportions bring an easy sophistication."
Designer: Rebecca Taylor
Inspiration: “New Romanticism”
Designer: Pamella Roland
Inspiration: “This season I was inspired by my most recent trip to Positano and the unique color stories that were created from its natural surroundings. “
Designer: Band of Outsiders
Inspiration: “A romantic view on California's pop- and sub-cultures, seen through the nostalgic eyes of three European designers.”
Designer: Oday Shakar
Designer: Novis founder and creative director Jordana Warmflash.
Designer: Dennis Basso
Inspiration: World voyager
Designer: Raquel Allegra
Inspiration: "The Law of the Jungle" - Rudyard Kipling
Designer: Sachin & Babi
Inspiration: "This season our fpring 2017 collection started with deep exploration Douglas Sirk 1950s films in tandem with images of ballet dancers in motion."
Designer: J Crew men's designer Frank Muytjens
Designer: J Crew women's designer Somsack Sikhounmuong
Inspiration: “Shape and Colour”
Designer: Wes Gordon
Inspiration: “Images of women on city streets by Peter Lindbergh and the beautiful nonchalance of Lee Radziwill’s homes. Anoraks with evening dresses. Lace slips with sweaters. The spring 2017 collection fuses a poetic softness with crisp, clean tailoring. Curving, contouring lines and seams. Bias cuts and covered buttons. Plaids, chiffons, and shirtings in blues, nudes, blush, black, and white.”
Designer: Assembly NY
Inspiration: "Energy Work"
Designer: Lacoste's Felipe Oliveira Baptista
Inspiration: Redefining notions of comfort, elegance and sensuality.
Designer: Collina Strada
Inspiration: "When the fashion world makes references to classic, timeless and aristocratic, it's often shorthand for European. But, if we are really talking about humanity, the most classic, timeless aesthetics and cultures are African. It's our duty to acknowledge this at a time when Americans are taking to the streets to remind us that Black Lives Matter. We need to amplify those voices and use our collective influence to push for change.
"Last season, I used male models to show the irrelevance of gender norms. We've still got miles to go in making fashion diverse, so this season I decided to use all African American models. You only have an hour to make a statement, so it needs to be bold and implemented 100 percent towards the cause."
Designer: Monica Vinader
Inspiration: "Mixing strong clean lines making it both modern and feminine.”
Designer: Tadashi Shoji
Designer: Ji Oh
inspiration: For Spring/Summer 2017, the collection is pure with crisp whites and clean lines. Inspired by the formality of uniforms and the charm they evoke, Ji explores different ways to extend shirting – more playful and clever, accented with grommets and thoughtfully placed silver brooches in the shape of pyramids and cubes, to connect mandarin collars or link cuffs together.
Architecture plays a pivotal role in Ji’s inspiration this season. Hints of yellow break up crisp white lines, peeking out beneath asymmetrical dresses. Metallic whites, mesh details and fringe add texture. Abstract lines are incorporated throughout while provocative elements keep true to Ji’s signature style of elevated basics.
Designer: Noor by Noor
Inspiration: '"Modern Femininity"
Designer: John Paul Ataker
Inspiration: The luxurious evening collection draws upon the designer's childhood background and experience of growing up in a family run fashion business in Turkey.
Designer: Vicky Zhang founder and designer Xinyin Xv
Inspiration: Nestle by love” - Being together, companionship and love for family.
Designer: Lee Savage
Inspiration: “Spring/summer '17 was inspired by the exotic plant life of Hawaii. As the collection came together, my now husband and I were in the middle of planning our Honeymoon to the islands and were incredibly captured by the lush landscape.”
Designer: Taoray Wang
Inspiration: Steel edges rising through clouds in New York skylines, smooth pebbles sweeping rocks in Kyoto's garden, solid lines running side by side; “Romance in Stripes.”