NEW YORK (AP) — Sunday was a day of unusual models and shows that weren't shows at all. Some highlights from New York Fashion Week:
TRACY REESE: FLOWERS, GRASS, BREEZES — AND INCLUSIVE SIZING
The weather gods smiled on Tracy Reese. The designer had been "freaking out all week," she said, imagining that a hurricane might pass through and ruin her fashion presentation in an idyllic, grassy sanctuary — actually a cemetery, but with crypts underground — in Manhattan's East Village.
"But we woke up to this magical day, so everything worked out," she said. "This collection just wanted to be outside, with a breeze and some gorgeous flowers and trees."
Besides the venue, there was another special quality to Reese's show Sunday afternoon at the Marble Cemetery: More than half the models were not actually models. "Philanthropists, advocates, musicians, dancers, singers," Reese said, describing her cast. She had cast a wide net, and ended up using more so-called "real women" (not that models aren't) than professionals.
A number of designers are paying lip service these days to the idea of inclusive sizing — recognizing diversity in shapes and sizes of women. But at Fashion Week, that tends to mean maybe one or two plus-sized models in a show, if any.
"We wanted to really go a little deeper," Reese said. "At first I thought it would be half and half, but the women looked so great in the clothes, and brought so much to it ... whether it was a full-sized figure or a more mature figure or a girl that's just blossoming into womanhood. There were so many different ways to see the collection, and I loved what each woman brought to the clothing. And so the balance just shifted. We had about 20 non-models and 10 models."
Reese isn't just doing it for show; she has already announced that some of her designs in this new collection will be available in a larger sizes than they were before.
Reese also spoke wistfully about one particular fan of hers: Michelle Obama, who has worn her designs a number of times, and is a major booster of the fashion industry in general.
"It's been an amazing eight years," Reese said. "We're definitely going to cry salty tears when that term is up."
INSPIRED BY YOUTH CULTURE AT HOOD BY AIR
Shayne Oliver, the soft-spoken provocateur behind Hood by Air, teamed with a porn video site and declared "Never trust a church girl" on the back of one look during a New York Fashion Week show Sunday that upped the ante for cool kids.
Deconstructing traditional suiting, interpreting, elongating, exaggerating more common streetwear, putting models in shoes with two fronts — one in front and one in back — and setting it all to a grinding soundtrack barely covers it.
Not your usual models, and some not models at all, walked with hair half heavily greased. Some dragged duffel bags and one played with a cellphone as Rick Ross, Jaden Smith, Whoopi Goldberg, Jussie Smollett, will.i.am and Naomi Campbell looked on from the front row of a huge venue filled with people who might or might not have watched Rihanna perform in a Hood by Air piece at the MTV Video Music Awards recently.
It's all in a day's work for Oliver, who said in a backstage interview that he's trying to avoid falling into the trap of "kitsch," preferring instead to focus on "representing a larger group of ideas."
And his cause?
"I'm doing things for youth on a large scale," he explained. "My inspiration comes from youth culture and sort of a need to evolve things via the youth."
WHEN IS A SHOW NOT A SHOW? DVF TAKES A DIFFERENT ROAD
Jonathan Saunders, the newly appointed presumptive heir to DVF, paid homage to the brand's heritage while showcasing his own vision during an intimate presentation Sunday at New York Fashion Week.
The Scottish designer took the reins as DVF's chief creative officer in May, but made it clear he's not necessarily filling Diane von Furstenberg's iconic shoes.
"It's just different shoes, you know? It's not like I'm replacing her in any way. It's just a different chapter for the company," Saunders said while insisting von Furstenberg is still very much the cornerstone of the brand.
Von Furstenberg, a Fashion Week staple, was not on hand for Saunders' debut presentation at a sparse industrial space in the Manhattan's Meatpacking District.
The signature wrap dress appeared throughout with fresh silhouettes and asymmetrical hemlines, including a structured kimono, a silky romper and a color-blocked scarf dress. Sometimes the wrap was simply implied through cuts and movement on plunging blouses and sequined, layered frocks.
"I think at the end of the day the customer is interested in clothes and I'm hoping we're entering into a chapter where all of the nonsense doesn't matter as much as having something that you just feel fabulous in," Saunders said.
VICTORIA BECKHAM BENDS TRADITION
The one sound you usually never hear at a fashion show, with its pounding music and high-decibel chatter, is silence. But just before the Victoria Beckham show on Sunday — at 10:28 a.m. — the room fell silent in observance of the 15th anniversary of 9/11.
The only sound was the clicking of cameras, as the designer's husband and oldest son — soccer great David Beckham, and Brooklyn Beckham — stood in remembrance, along with Vogue editor Anna Wintour.
Then came the fashion, with Beckham focusing this season on innovations in traditional fabrics like velvet, lace and satin. Specifically, the collection was about "taking traditional fabrics ... and washing them, and crushing them, and pleating them, and smocking them — to really make them feel new and fresh," Beckham told reporters backstage. Especially prominent was velvet — a particularly light version of a fabric most people associate with the colder winter months.
Many of the ensembles Beckham sent down the runway came with their own matching fabric handbags. A number of the outfits also featured bra tops, a new element that she said gave a very feminine flavor to the collection.
But enough about the clothes. Will Beckham be dressing the new British prime minister, Theresa May, one reporter asked? "We'll see," she said coyly, implying that she had at least thought about it. "She has a great body and she likes dresses that are quite fitted," Beckham said. "So I think there's lots in the collection that she would like."