New York Fashion Week
Designers abandon the runway for a new kind of New York Fashion Week show
British designer Jenny Packham regular shows her new collections at New York Fashion Week. But this season she took a break from the runway, instead choosing to meet privately with select members of the fashion press during a photo shoot where her models could twirl and swirl in an environment that showed off the spring/summer 2018 collection in an up-close and personal way. “Today, I can tell you, is the happiest I’ve been in a long time," she told Vogue magazine.
It's become a fashion week trend, as such designers as Elizabeth Kennedy and Carmen Marc Valvo also hosted intimate soirees in their showrooms instead of full-scale runway shows.
"Everyone is over fashion shows. Unless you're on the first and second row, you don't see anything. Hair and makeup maybe," Valvo said. "It's boring. I think it's terrible. We have to change the way people think, the way people buy, the way people experience a collection."
Instead of a runway show, Valvo threw a big cocktail party in his Garment District showroom, showcasing models in several vignettes around the modern space, with a video playing behind them, "so you can see the movement of the clothing, which for me is so important," he said.
"I feel like it's a Holly Golightly party at my house. It's fun. It's different. And it's beautiful."
Valvo's collection has a tropic theme, with graphic prints of flowers and leaves on bathing suits, cover-ups, wide-legged trousers, and wrap dresses — a breezy style that's perfect for the beach or pool in Houston. For evening, his look is more sophisticated, with tulle gowns embroidered with sequins and beading on the bodice.
Packham, who has gained a lot of attention as the Duchess of Cambridge's go-to designer for special events, looked to Asian gardens for her 25-piece collection. The theme seemed translated literally at times in a burgundy gown emblazoned with images of embroidered cranes, bonsai trees, and pagodas, while other gowns mimicked the wave-like woodblock prints of the the Japanese artist Katsushika Hokusai and the dripping water paintings by Korean minimalist artist Lee Ufan.
Heavily embellished ultra-short cocktail dresses and jumpsuits seemed more suited for partying the night away, although they, too, reflected Packham's newfound interest in Asian culture. An All-American red-and-blue sequin pattern on a long-sleeved minidress and bell-bottom pants outfit was, in fact, inspired by an antique kimono pattern.
In Houston, the Jenny Packham, Carmen Marc Valvo, and Elizabeth Kennedy collections are available at Elizabeth Anthony.