Which came first, the chicken or the egg? At New York Fashion Week, the chicken got the earlier slot. Or the rooster, if you want to get technical, which Collina Strada creative director Hillary Taymour apparently did. She tapped make-up artist Isamaya Ffrench to turn the models at her fall-winter 2023 show into barnyard animals, with the help of some painstakingly created prosthetics.
The egg, meanwhile, made its appearance on Sunday at Puppets And Puppets, and not since Jonathan Anderson sent models teetering down his Loewe runway in Paris on cracked shell heels has the humble breakfast staple looked quite so haute. It was deployed to sizzling effect by designer Carly Mark, whose fried egg bras nodded to the work of YBA icon Sarah Lucas. “It’s very suggestive,” said Mark—herself a former fine artist—of the effect. “It’s very feminine, it’s very sexual.”
Sex was also high up on the agenda for LaQuan Smith, who assembled a suitably glittering crowd (think Julia Fox, Lil Nas X and Bling Empire’s Tina Leung) at the Rainbow Room to take in a collection inspired by that original (and oh so seductive) ’80s power dresser, Alexis Carrington. Statement shoulders and slinky skirts were followed by audaciously revealing bodysuits that Fox, at least, won’t raise a bleached eyebrow at, before London girl Jourdan Dunn closed the show in a white satin skirt suit that Dynasty’s super-bitch would doubtless approve of, accessorized with statement hoops and even a board meeting-ready briefcase. Her runway duties complete, perhaps Dunn took her cues from Carrington, who, come 6pm, famously liked to slip out of her shoes and into something more comfortable… “Like a drink.”
There was still more nostalgia at Heaven Can Wait in the East Village, where Anna Sui unveiled a collection that evoked the Peppermint Lounge, a hallowed spot on West 45th Street that was frequented by everyone from Audrey Hepburn and Marilyn Monroe to Jackie Kennedy in the 1960s. Sui topped off her sweet A-line shift dresses with crochet hats borrowed from her own ’90s runway collections, injecting all that ’60s sass with a hit of grunge. More cuteness came care of Stuart Vevers at Coach, whose candy-colored accessories riffed on everything from dinosaurs to dolls’ shoes, lips to lollipops.
The celebrity runway cameos were scant but significant. First, Chloë Sevigny walked for her old friends Jack McCollough and Lazaro Hernandez at Proenza Schouler (as Sienna Miller and her cute plus-one, daughter Marlowe, looked on). And after we saw the cast of season two of the White Lotus taking over the front row at the menswear shows back in January, Eckhaus Latta went one step further for autumn/winter 2023, enlisting actor Jon Gries—better known as Tanya McQuoid’s definitely dodgy husband Greg Hunt—to walk the runway in a touchable fuzzy knit. Take that, Albie on the front row at Prada!
But it wasn’t all ironic muses, Full English-inspired fripperies and fantastical ball gowns (thank you, Wes Gordon at Carolina Herrera). New York’s runways were also, happily, brimming with wearable clothes. See the cashmere knits at Gabriela Hearst, leather coats at Khaite or classic outerwear at Tory Burch. And most of all, the grown-up uniform at Proenza Schouler, a brand that’s celebrating its 20th anniversary, and delivered what McCollough called their “most personal collection yet” for autumn/winter 2023. “It was less revolving around a theme, more looking at the actual women in our lives,” he said. “What is it they want?”
At Michael Kors, women want equal rights. Or at least that’s the message embodied by his muse of the season: one Gloria Steinem. Not only did Kors revisit a low-slung belt that Steinem inspired (and that he first showed 19 years ago) in her honor, the 88-year-old feminist icon was sitting in the front row.
This article was originally published on British Vogue.