A-list stars Nicole Kidman, Lupita Nyong’o and Margot Robbie flocked to Calvin Klein on Tuesday, wading through popcorn to watch Raf Simons’s latest meditation on Americana, where firefighter meets prairie.
The Belgian’s stewardship of the iconic US label, now into a second year, is one of the few bright spots in a New York Fashion Week suffering from an identity crisis, thinning schedule and a glut between the passing of one generation and the search for another.
Ruby Sterling again designed the set. Barns evoked the pioneer spirit of the prairies, adorned with work by Andy Warhol — also to be seen on Calvin Klein underwear — and a room ankle deep in popcorn.
Model of the moment Kaia Gerber, 16, walked the runway, dressed in waders, watched by proud parents Cindy Crawford and Rande Gerber.
Simons said the collection evolved his window-onto-America theme for his Calvin Klein, this time referencing the discovery of America, the 1960s space race and the 21st century information age.
He said it was about freedom, democracy and no cultural hierarchy, listing 50 words in place of 50 states that included pioneer, firefighter, prairie, industrial and, of course, popcorn.
Clothes ticked the modesty trend for 2018 fall/winter, full skirts practically to the ground and boxy outerwear, with models kitted out in knitted balaclavas or hijab-inspired hats shielding hair and neck.
There was an emergency responder vibe in orange outerwear and pants, fluorescent strips on jackets, giant wader-style boots over the knee in both shiny black and white and baggy sweaters.
Giant silver gloves tapped the oven mitten look, a space-age version of the Ralph Lauren’s tasselled beige numbers that divided opinion for the US Winter Olympics team in Pyeongchang.
There was a utilitarian, workman-like feel, and clear odes to America — patchwork quilts and red checked fannel. Yet however striking and original, it did not shriek wearable.
Simons’s tenure at Calvin Klein has been applauded by critics and the label’s recent underwear ad featuring the Kardashian sisters was YouTube’s most-watched commercial last month with 15.4 million hits.
Considered one of the finest designers of his generation, the 50-year-old previously breathed new life into Dior after John Galliano was fired in 2012 for anti-Semitic insults in a Paris bar.
Fashion Week closes Wednesday with shows by Michael Kors and Marc Jacobs, before the season flits to London, Milan and Paris. Here are the other standouts of the penultimate day in the Big Apple.
– Twisted romance –
Selena Gomez, the current face of Coach, was guest of honor in the front row, wearing a black leather jacket and long floral dress, capturing something of the gothic, city meets nature, romance of the collection.
But if “twisted, dark romance” was one of the themes, there was no sign of off-again-on-again squeeze Justin Bieber, with whom she has reportedly recently reunited to the chagrin of her family.
Models paraded up and down a darkened woodland set, a kind of spooky movie vibe with puffs of dry ice at the end, fall leaves crunching under foot and nude tree trunks with overhanging branches.
It was a blend of goth, the preference for all black dressing beloved by non-conforming English teenagers in the 1990s, with the supernatural, a juxtaposition of America’s Southwest with New York.
Coach also released for immediate sale a Dreamer satchel bag, a name much in collective US discourse to denote children brought illegally as immigrants by their parents, now threatened with deportation.
The label, begun in 1941 as a family-run workshop, has thrived under British executive creative director, Stuart Vevers.
“When I was growing up, I remember people would shout after me in the street ‘freak!’ And this was about celebrating that strength and confidence in being yourself,” the 44-year-old said of the goth look.
– Auf wiedersehen –
Canadian designer Jason Wu presented his last collection for Hugo Boss, where he as been artistic director of womenswear since June 2013. Wu is leaving to concentrate on his own label.
His last presentation for the German house was inspired by the work of US minimalist artist Robert Morris and focused on bold tailoring. Hugo Boss is yet to name a successor for Wu.