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Are NYFW’s Latest Casual Collections a Reaction to How Extreme Fashion Has Become?

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Everyone is so casual at fashion week.

Just kidding!

People like to dress to the nines to have their pictures taken by all those aggressively rude photographers lining the streets. Which makes it all the more interesting that many designers this season are going more casual in their collections, with light-hearted, easy-to-wear clothes that won’t draw so much attention. Victoria Beckham, Derek Lam, Public School, Thakoon, and Opening Ceremony, were among those whose shows on Sunday, when you focused on the clothes and not all the hoopla, played on relaxed volumes with an abundance of chambray, denim, loungewear, and pajama-inspired styles.

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Maybe it’s a bit of a reaction to how extreme fashion has become in the last few years, and to this observer, at least, it is a welcome new direction.

“A sense of clean city ease through to an urban surf scene” were the opening words of Victoria Beckham’s spring collection (pictured, above), which started the morning far, far, downtown. This translates to white knit tank dresses and patchwork prints of surfing scenes rendered in bright sunrise colors, on coats and dresses, leather portfolio totes in the shapes of half moons, and easy slide-in shoes.

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Public School’s Dao-Yi Chow and Maxwell Osborne set their collection on a more luxurious path, seductive and expensive looking, and very different than the cool streetwear with which they made their names. Thakoon and Lam, meanwhile, had terrific shows that each combined elements of soft denim and loungy jackets. Thakoon (pictured, below) went so far as to treat pajamas as a light cotton dress.

Closing out the night, Prabal Gurung had a great moment, reflecting on the recent tragedies of Nepal and his own incredible success in New York fashion, combining those two stories into a seductive collection of knits and silk dresses in colors of lemon, vermilion, and saffron (pictured, below). He opened his show with a chorus of chanting monks, his tribute to his native Nepal. It was simple, earnest, and touching.

On a lighter note, the Opening Ceremony designers Humberto Leon and Carol Lim delivered more of their madcap wit (along with some great clothes, a favorite piece being the silk bathrobe coat). About the show, though, let me say that a personal pet peeve of mine is when people post pictures online of models falling on the runway. Who wants to see that? And why? Well, Leon and Lim must have thought the same, since their show included several professional dancers who, to an unsuspecting audience, faked those falls. Over, and over, the models went down, falling hard on the cement floor.

And then they bounced right back up, making it clear that the falls were part of a perfectly choreographed routine (pictured, below). Also, they closed the show with a contender for song of the fashion season: “Rewind,” by Kelela. Download now, and try to stay on your feet.
 

 

The dance-off finale of Opening Ceremony. #NYFW

A video posted by Eric Wilson (@ericwilsonsays) on Sep 13, 2015 at 6:06pm PDT

 

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Eric Wilson is Amo-fashion’s fashion news director. For more real-time fashion week insights, follow him on Twitter and Instagram.

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