New York kicks off ‘the big four’ of fashion weeks for AW16, and as ever this one is highly anticipated. With Diane von Furstenberg’s announcement that she’ll be re-thinking her show format, her recent comment in favour of Burberry’s move to a more consumer-driven show, and Kanye West’s decision to present his Yeezy Season 3 collection at Madison Square Garden – live streaming it across 700 cinemas around the world – it feels as though change is afoot in the fashion industry. Is this the year we’ll start to see a move away from traditional shows to a more modern, all-encompassing, inclusive format? Time will tell, but for now we’re focusing on what makes fashion fashion, and celebrating some of the best brands to come out of New York City.
If there’s one designer that epitomises New York cool, it’s Alexander Wang. After being mentored by fashion veteran Diane von Furstenberg, Wang launched the first line of his eponymous label in 2007 and has been growing from strength to strength ever since. With men’s and women’s collections made up of deconstructed staples, a sport luxe aesthetic, and effortless black basics, Alexander Wang is the first word in urban-grunge.
The brainchild of the Austrian designer of the same name, Helmut Lang was the label to wear in the late ‘80s and ‘90s for minimalist, refined designs, known mainly for its slim suiting and use of high-tech fabrics. Now creating modern collections of oversized shapes, soft tailoring and luxurious knitwear, Helmut Lang is the ultimate in minimalist sophistication.
rag & bone
rag & bone may have been founded by two Brits – David Neville and Marcus Wainwright – but the brand is very much a part of its founding city: New York. With no formal fashion training but simply the desire to create clothing that they’d like to wear, the duo launched rag & bone in 2004 with an emphasis on authentic, everyday clothing that favours good design over loud branding. Expect some of the best denim in the industry and simple, well-cut basics.
New to Coggles, decade-old Loeffler Randall produces those understated, city-perfect, elegant shoes every woman wants in her wardrobe. With a focus on craftsmanship, Loeffler Randall shoes are directional yet timeless – think lace-up metallic sandals, scalloped-edged slip-ons and perforated espadrilles.
Marc by Marc Jacobs
Like Alexander Wang, Marc Jacobs is one of those New York designers that seems as though he’s embedded in the city – in a good way. The brand’s diffusion line – Marc by Marc Jacobs – was launched in 2001, with playful re-workings of classic designs and contemporary, fashion-forward twists on the staples.
Famed for its ‘morning after bag’ (MAB), Rebecca Minkoff is an industry leader in accessible luxury handbags. With classic designs updated each season with on-trend details, Rebecca Minkoff bags are some of the most coveted among fashion insiders.
Opening Ceremony is known for its eccentric, uber-contemporary designs and styles, breathing youthful energy into fashion like no other brand. Founded in 2002 by friends (and current Kenzo head-designers) Humberto Leon and Carol Lim, Opening Ceremony brings style, travel and culture from around the world to create a brand that is truly unique.
Clean, sleek tailoring is Theory’s thing, with the label that started in 1997 creating must-have pieces for the woman who wants a minimal take on fashion-forward designs. An understated cult brand, Theory is simple sophistication at its best; expect crisp white shirts, layered dresses and exceptionally-cut culottes.
Founded by Amy Smilovic, New York-based Tibi takes inspiration from the designer’s international travels to create collections that are clean, relaxed, feminine and effortless. Quietly popular, Tibi is one of those brands that its fans kind of want to keep secret, such is the appeal of its impeccably-cut pieces.
Words by Angharad Jones