The Designers Bringing Fresh Ideas and Excitement in New York
by Trishna Rikhy
21 February 2022
Imagine what Harry Styles’ wardrobe might look like if he were enrolled in a filthy rich Gen-Z private school à la the Gossip Girl reboot, and you might picture something akin to The Academy New York’s Fall 2022 collection.
The Academy New York designer Swaim Hutson (formerly of Obedient Sons) made a whimsical and playful uniform for the coolest kids in school. Racks of garments in a sun-soaked Chelsea studio held everything from double-breasted tailored jumpsuits to a three-piece mustard suit with a black chevron print, with a red “2nd place” rosette pinned to the chest (other blazers were pinned with ribbons from 1st to 5th place).
Varsity letters on the backs of outerwear spelled out things like “ANGEL” or “21ST CENTURY SKIN,” and chunky, oversized knits heralded a laid-back, daddy-pays-my-tuition ease.
If The Academy New York is reworking the weekday prep school look, its neighbors at Nicholas Raefski are just about ready to kick back for the weekend. Models in the presentation were sprawled across bleachers on a patch of fake grass, casually chatting amongst each other, occasionally getting up to take a lap around the perimeter and show off the 11 looks comprising “Meet By The Bleachers.”
Shaped around the nostalgia of youth, the collection dipped into a carefree, ‘70s vibe, with velour tracksuits, wavy prints in psychedelic pink and orange, and even a button-down shirt splashed with a huge black and white print of Mick Jagger’s face.
Past and present intertwined at In the BLK’s runway at Spring Studios, where labels Third Crown, House of Aama, and Khiry staged back-to-back shows, using the model of the fashion inclusion rider for the first time in history. With the mission to spotlight Black designers and the African American experience, each show celebrated Black history and channeled cultural and political elements into their presentations.
“I was looking at historical episodes of political violence and the ways that they interacted with ideas of strategies for creating Black liberation,” said Jameel Mohammed, the designer behind Khiry. Projecting footage of last January’s Capitol insurrection on the wall during his runway show, Mohammed’s collection received a standing ovation for its interpretation of rage, hate, and racial violence in modern America, which included a model in an inflatable balloon dress being pushed around by the other models until all the balloons had popped.
At Simon Miller, contrast was key. Creative director Chelsea Hansford said that the “Life On Mars” collection was inspired by the polar differences between hot and cold, AKA Mars and Pluto, reflected through textures and prints: long-haired shearling, crystal embellishments, plaid-printed mesh, and an abundance of metallic gold. The showroom in Greenwich Village even displayed bubble clogs and accessories on custom-built space rocks, transporting the collection out of this world.
Speaking of out of this world, Imitation of Christ’s Fall 2022 collection was staged in another dimension: the Metaverse. Founder Tara Subkoff said she was inspired by “new forward thinking and alternate reality that can defy physics and support artists more than any other platform ever has,” and that future IOC shows will also be staged in the Metaverse.
Futuristic looks inspired by Subkoff’s love of science fiction and comics—ranging from dystopian-esque, hooded frocks of metallic fabric to cut-out bodysuits—were staged against a digital backdrop, rendered in collaboration within VFX artist Adam Teninbaum and photojournalist Lynsey Addario. Star Trek meets Euphoria, anyone?
And with Euphoria in mind comes JoosTricot’s sleek, body-con knitwear, seen on Sydney Sweeney in season 1 of the HBO show. Made with sustainable yarns, the “Free Britney” Fall 2022 collection is a glimpse into what the wardrobe of the Cassie Howard/early-aughts Brit, girl-next-door type: the shortest of skirts, the tightest of polo tops and crops, the mini-est of crystal-embellished dresses. Color blocking for a mix-and-match style is big for designer Natalie Joos, as is the Los Angeles recreational psychedelic culture, which manifests itself in the mushroom print motif this season.
Sustainability carried over to Who Decides War’s “Witness” collection, presented in the label’s former-speakeasy Hell’s Kitchen studio. Building upon the label’s signature distressed and deconstructed denims, the collection highlighted reworked jeans with lace appliqués and patchwork details, alongside an impressive collection of structured, boxy outerwear with prints inspired by angels of war, and a first-time offering of double breasted suits with removable faux fur shoulder appliqués.
Photo via Getty