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New York Fashion Week Preview

New York Fashion Week preview: Amid big changes and chaotic times, designers reveal their sweet inspirations and creative dreams

Monique Lhuillier sketch fall 2016
Courtesy of Monique Lhuillier
Nicole Miller fall 2016 sketch
Courtesy of Nicole Miller
Christian Siriano fall 2016 sketch
Courtesy of Christian SIriano
J.Mendel sketch fall 2016 fashion
Courtesy of J. Mendel
Marchesa sketch fall 2016
Courtesy of Marchesa
Rubin Singer fall 2016 fashion
Courtesy of Rubin Singer
Angel Sanchez sketch fall 2016
Courtesy of Angel Sanchez
Tadashi Shoji sketch fall 2016
Courtesy of Tadashi Shoji
Yigal Azrouel sketch fall 2016
Courtesy of Yigal Azrouel
J. Crew menswear sketch fall 2016
Courtesy of J. Crew
J. Crew womenswear sketch fall 2016
Courtesy of J. Crew
Milly fashion sketch fall 2016
Courtesy of Milly
Lee Savage sketch fall 2016
Courtesy of Lee Savage
Rachel Zoe fall 2016 fashion
Courtesy of Rachel Zoe
Rebecca Taylor sketch fall 2016
Courtesy of Rebecca Taylor
Elie Tahari sketch fall 2016
Courtesy of Elie Tahari
Nicholas K sketch fall 2016
Photo courtesy of Cosanti Foundation
SUNO sketch fall 2016
Courtesy of SUNO
Wes Gordon sketch fall 2016
Courtesy of Wes Gordon
Taoray Wang sketch fall 2016
Photo courtesy of Taoray Wang
Lacoste sketch fall 2016
Courtesy of Lacoste
Dennis Basso sketch fall 2016
Courtesy of Dennis Basso
Edie Parker sketch fall 2016
Courtesy of Edie Parker
Ulla Johnson sketch fall 2016
Courtesy of Ulla Johnson
Lulu Frost sketch fall 2016
Courtesy of Lulu Frost
WARM Big Sur photo fall 2016
Courtesy of WARM
Ji Oh sketch fall 2016
Courtesy of Ji Oh
FRAME Denim sketch fall 2016
Courtesy of FRAME Denim
Concept Korea sketch fall 2016 Jarret
Courtesy of Concept Korea
Concept Korea sketch fall 2016 Yohanix
Courtesy of Concept Korea

New York Fashion Week is undergoing a mid-life crisis. As the twice-yearly fashion extravaganza kicks off today, designers, buyers and the fashion press are trying to figure out the best way to present the styles that will be in stores in a few months when the fast-paced social media world doesn't want to wait. 

Already a few top-name designers are looking at reinventing the system. Tom Ford, Burberry and Rebecca Minkoff are planning shows or individual presentations more closely aligned with clothing that is immediately available rather than showing goods that can't be purchased for several months. And the Council of Fashion Designers of America has retained Boston Consulting Group to conduct a study to define the future of fashion shows.

For now, most designers are sticking to the current system of building buzz by previewing what the upcoming season entails. More than 30 designers — including seasoned veterans and newcomers who might be the next big names in fashions — offered CultureMap an exclusive sneak preview of what looks they're planning for fall and what inspired them.


Designer: Monique Lhuillier

Inspiration:  “My fall collection was inspired by the modern day woman and reflects her emotions, moods and experiences through strong looks created with bold colors and contrasting textures.”

Designer: Nicole Miller

Inspiration: "Since I was feeling a little frustrated by the lack of winter, I went full on with a Nordic theme – very icy with a spirit of coziness." 

Designer: Christian Siriano

Inspiration: "My fall 2016 collection was first inspired by artist Sheila Hicks' "Art of the Yarn" exhibit. After researching her work and the idea of yarn design as a form of art, I became inspired by all the many different techniques of knitting and weaving in fabrications.

We looked at different ways to knit, twist and manipulate fabric into pieces that had structure but were still soft and elegant. To modernize these techniques, we digitally printed knitted fibers onto silk jerseys, cottons and wool in order to capture the idea of a knit - without the process of knitting. Just as Hicks weaves textured narratives with yarn, we tried to create a collection with story progression.

This collection uses volume, texture, soft fibers, and masculine undertones in shape and silhouette. Menswear-inspired suits and tailored evening pieces balance it out. It was important to stay true to the inspiration while remaining mindful of our loyal customer and her love of femininity, and we are introducing her to a hint of tailored, Bowie-inspired androgyny."

Designer: J. Mendel's Gilles Mendel

Inspiration: “Tamara de Lempicka."

Designer: Marchesa co-founders Georgina Chapman and Keren Craig

Inspiration: "The Royal Gardens."

Designer: Rubin Singer

Inspiration: "This seasons inspiration is homomorphism, or the transformation of one set into another. Fundamentally, this season is about identifying, re-aligning, and then extrapolating the core elements of my design aesthetic. I am using mathematical formulas as concepts on how to visually reconstitute dimension and depth. It is this that is the driver of inspiration in the lines, shapes and textures of the collection."

Designer: Angel Sanchez

Inspiration: "Fetish."

Designer: Tadashi Shoji

Inspiration: Skin beautification.

Designer: Yigal Azrouël

Inspiration: "Trust form and texture to spontaneously guide your way to creation."


Designer: J.Crew men's designer Frank Muytjens

Inspiration: “We were inspired by different finds from our travels, such as vintage horse blankets and foulard scarves, which we then morphed into something unexpected and very J.Crew.” 

Designer: J.Crew women's designer ​Somsack Sikhounmuong 

Inspiration: “A little bit of this.....a little bit of that.” 

Designer: Milly founder and designer Michelle Smith

Inspiration: "From couture/utilitarian to soft/structured and masculine/feminine, my Milly fall 2016 collection is a spirited study of duality."

Designer: Lee Savage

Inspiration: "For FW16, I was inspired by outer space and the bold colors and forms of celestial bodies that exist in the night sky."

Designer: Rachel Zoe

Inspiration: "Fall 2016 is a play on masculine tailoring and feminine silhouettes. With juxtaposition between androgyny and romance, there is a subtle and unexpected sexiness throughout."

Designer: Rebecca Taylor

Inspiration: “As a child my family spent time in England and I remember my uncle’s mother Jean a well-known print designer working in London in the 60's and 70's.  She created beautiful floral prints, exotic Indian paisleys and patterns — often inspired by Kate Greenway's illustrations. Jean's influence and spirit is found in my latest collection. It’s a collage of textures, techniques and flora motifs made modern in their application. I'd like to tribute this collection to her — Jean passed away late last year at the grand old age of 100.”


Designer: Elie Tahari

Inspiration: “Past Modern”

Designer: Nicholas K

Inspiration: "Paolo Soleri" 

Designer: SUNO's Erin Beatty and Max Osterweis

Inspiration: “There’s no denying that the world is in a bit of a state.  What we know, whether it be politics or fashion, is suddenly not what it is or has been.  The rules are changing, but no one seems to have a playbook – so we’re all just trying to hold on. 

"For fall/winter 2016 we wanted to explore with the idea of subversion and tradition – creating fabrics and silhouettes that at once feel both familiar and new, pretty and off.  Creating a collection that felt true to us and who we are as a brand, referential and colorful, but also pushed and mildly uncomfortable.”


Designer: Wes Gordon

Inspiration: "Downtown romantics and effortless elegance.  A wardrobe of black, white, and grey layered with blush, rust, and verdigris. Cozy knits, wide trousers, stately tailoring, and delicate dresses. This collection is a celebration of my favorite things, the pieces, techniques, and ideas I love."

Designer: Taoray Wang

Inspiration: "The fall 2016 collection is inspired by the Victorian era. This season is filled with a combination of traditional heritage and modern silhouettes."

Designer: Lacoste creative director Felipe Oliveira Baptista

Inspiration: “100% Croco”

Designer: Dennis Basso

Inspiration:  “Wild, Romantic, Lavish”

Designer: Edie Parker's Brett Heyman

Inspiration: "Inspired by the makeup compacts made by Suzanne Belperron. Unrivaled in her use of colorful stones and the only woman in the history of master jewelers, Belperron left the rigid lines of Art Deco behind to carve stones into organic shapes. The F/W 16 collection begins with Art Deco and moves on to motifs inspired by nature and distant cultures."

Designer: Ulla Johnson

Inspiration: "We did a lot of exploration of cashmere this season; working with pointelle, ruffle, and cable detailing shown in luxe chromatic juxtaposition with easy trousers harkening Rajhastani jodhpurs."

Designer: Lulu Frost founder and designer Lisa Salzer

Inspiration: “My FW'16 Collection is entitled FREQUENCY and references the power of fluid lines, from those of my wire sculpture inspired by Jean Cocteau's sketch to the vibrations that transmit information around our universe. This little earring is a transmission beacon for good vibes.” 

Designer: WARM creative director Winnie Beattie and designer director Tracy Feith

Inspiration: "Coastal California — especially Big Sur and the Canyons of LA — in winter. We wanted to make pieces that girls would have worn to dinner at Joni Mitchell’s Lauren Canyon house in January — cozy, textured chiffon dresses that are long and flowy, layered with blanket-like ponchos and capes."


Designer: Ji Oh

Inspiration: “The mood is rejuvenation found in going against the grain. One always rises after a fall; instead of falling apart, she strives to elevate and rise above. She navigates a metropolitan landscape with attitude and a luminous energy. In this way, this collection builds upon the marred backdrop of yesterday.

"A palette of sunshine yellow and pale mint contrast with deep navy and asphalt gray, done beautifully in cocoon shapes, wrapped silhouettes and asymmetrical hemlines.  Smooth knits are done in exaggerated proportions; sleeves grow longer and fur pockets stand out from sleek, draped shirting.”

Designer: FRAME Denim co-Founders Jens Grede and Erik Torstensson

Inspiration: "We design for the women that surround us, our new collection embodies these women.”

Designer: Concept Korea women’s designers, Jarret and Yohanix.

Inspiration (Jarret): “He gently flows in my heart.”

Inspiration (Yohanix): “We dream to be the one.”


Designer:Concept Korea women’s designers Jarret and Yohanix 

Inspiration (Jarret): “He gently flows in my heart.”

Inspiration (Yohanix): “We dream to be the one.”