NYFW: Simplicity is Beautiful

Eoin Shaw

The first fashion week of the SS19 season was filled with simple silhouettes and simple palettes and was simply beautiful. If NYFW is a sign of things to come then it looks like the excess of previous seasons is out and a newer simplified look has arrived.

New York Fashion Week is always interesting. It has been plagued in recent years with many of it’s biggest houses leaving, and it’s reputation as a very commercial fashion week over the decades leaves some fashion critics to write off what walks down the runways. But this season things were very different.


With the returning big NY houses - Rodarte and Proenza Schouler - as well as the normal NY power houses such as Calvin Klein, Tory Burch and Coach, NYFW had some real weighting in the fashion calendar. This brought a new stage for some of the smaller up and coming houses of NY such as Sies Marjan, Telfar and Matthew Adams Dolan.


But across the whole fashion week a new simpler look really was emerging. One of the first shows of the week was Matthew Adams Dolan, which despite being a younger house produced one of my favourite shows of the NYFW. Each look was a beautiful example of contemporary tailoring; blazers were paired with shorts, both mint green and both silk. The styling was still layered as in past seasons in a street scenario, layering blazers over skirts, over trousers, or an oversized shirt with a large belt bag over shorts. But despite the layered styling, the looks were still minimal, which is all thanks to the simple colour combos. Whether it be bright pinks, blues and lime greens in monochrome different tones of blues layered atop one another. Simpler palettes might just be a key to the next season.


Calvin Klein (by Raf Simons) also simplified itself down this season, replacing the oversized fireman’s coats of last season with wet-suits, shark bite skirts and more Jaws references. Even the show set was stripped back, from the popcorn covered runway of fw18 for a bright, bright red runway surrounded by screens wall to wall showing a very blue sea. The collection as a whole was mostly good; using prints on the inside of wetsuits to create some very quirky styling. But other parts of the collection were more hit or miss, particularly the pressed dresses giving a silhouette that can only be described as a box and overall the Jaws references did feel a bit too literal in comparison to Raf Simons’ horror references of previous seasons.


Sies Marjan was another house that I felt had taken a slight downturn from last season - however that’s no surprise, after having one of the best collections from the whole fw18 season (worth a look if you really love your fashion). This season the signature colour was there, but not enough, and some of the collection didn’t seem to fit, the nautical looks especially. But, as a fan of Sies Marjan, I will say that if any house from NYFW has a look that I would die to wear, it’s the all red, silk shirt and shorts of Sies Marjan, simple, bold and fun.


Finally, there are two very different houses that both showed a more relaxed feel in NY this season; Proenza Schouler and Telfar. Firstly Proenza Schouler, who sent out a collection that advertised their normal black and white palette, but on oversized shirts, floor length trousers, and denim blazers. Telfar also showed a very relaxed collection; to the extent that the models seemed so comfortable that it looked like they were wearing their own clothes (a real rarity for a fashion show). The styling was seamlessly androgynous - with asymmetric cut crop tops on male and female models - and the casting and show was a real celebration of diversity and tribute to black musicians.


Overall from the season, I’d say you should be looking for something simple; a minimal coat will really do the trick to give you a chic look. As well as something with a good use of colour; it could be a bright red silk shirt or a muted mint green pair of trousers, these will really bring personality into your outfits. And finally, shop for something relaxed; it could be an oversized shirt styled over straight fit jeans, this will keep you looking comfortable without it looking lazy. But most importantly, don’t over do it, an edited look can make a bigger impact than an over the top one.