Given his propensity for embellished ball gowns and his mastery of embroidery, it’s easy to forget that Naeem Khan actually cut his teeth as a designer at Halston in the ’70s. Spring 2017 was a reminder of that fact. Drawing upon his experience under the master of American sportswear in the days of disco, Khan opened his show with a series of slinky gowns cut on the bias. It was a departure from his usual outings, but mostly a welcome one, and Khan is one of the few designers who can lay claim to a piece of the Halston heritage. The one-shouldered gown with billowing cape was particularly successful; others, like the monochromatic parachute dress felt like a slight reach for the brand. Many of these looks came in a refreshing palette of red, blue, black, and white—a color combination that appeared intermittently throughout the collection, including on a handful of crochet gowns and a joyful, voluminous ball gown.
But this is a Naeem Khan show, after all, and the early, streamlined looks gave way to embellishment and embroidery, sometimes ingeniously combined, as on a hand-embroidered floral gown that had a layer of tulle hand-beaded with sequins. These, and the romantic bohemian embroidered gowns at the end, were some of the highlights. No doubt we’ll be seeing these on the backs of A-listers soon—perhaps even at the Emmys this weekend. But Khan, who has already pretty much conquered the red carpet scene, also included a few separates that might suit (well-funded) commoners, such as an embroidered blouse with poet sleeves that, the designer pointed out, would look beautiful with jeans.
News broke on the Friday before Labor Day that Laura Kim and Fernando Garcia of Monse are the new creative directors of Oscar de la Renta. The duo worked alongside Mr. de la Renta and launched their fledgling label after Peter Copping was selected as the late designer’s successor. Kim and Garcia, who will continue to design Monse alongside their new OdlR duties (not an easy task), took in the show from the front row; they’ll make their Oscar debut early next year. The Spring collection presented at the Morgan Library this afternoon was designed by the studio team, 10 members of which came out to take a bow at the finale. It was a feel-good moment for the brand ahead of Kim and Garcia’s homecoming.
There’s no substitute for a distinct point of view, but the design team has a fine handle on the house Oscar-isms. They touched on many of them here: the knit skirt suit, the safari jacket, the peasant dress. Of course, there was also a full complement of cocktail frocks and evening dresses. Not everything had the refinement of fit that we expect from this label; the safari shorts set comes to mind, as does the off-the-shoulder closing number in pintucked pink silk taffeta. But for a placeholder collection, this had some charmers—a cayenne red strapless silk faille number with a ruffled hem, and a black dress liberally stitched with pearls that looked particularly Oscar-y, among them. With flat, sometimes bejeweled, sandals for accessories, the show had a breezy, youthful, not-too-serious tone. The real business of renewing the house founder’s legacy will begin next February.
This season marks the tenth anniversary of Erin Fetherston’s New York Fashion Week debut (before that, she showed in Paris); it’s also her first collection since she became a mother.
“I have a more relaxed attitude because you just got to go with the flow,” she explained of her latest lineup. “That has translated in the best possible way to my designs this season.” Indeed, Fetherston’s signature flirty frocks were longer and looser for Spring; of note were the slouchy off-the-shoulder dresses that seemed tailor-made for a dinner party in Laurel Canyon or a casual beachside wedding. More surprising still, were the suits, which were slightly oversize and cut from a pliable crepe. Though at times they came across a little staid, the suits toward the end—which came with blouson sleeves—deserved a second look (the sleeves particularly provided a smart tweak for women who like to look put together, but not buttoned-up). These must have been what the designer was referring to when she spoke of striving for a “refined take on bohemian dressing.”
Despite these unexpected turns, Fetherston stayed true to her signature girlish romanticism. The iridescent opal looks—which shimmered like butterfly wings—felt particularly true to her brand. Of the offering, Fetherston said, “I feel like this is a perfect anniversary collection for me because it really reflects who I’ve been, but it’s also very much a look forward.”