Rihanna Back As Ford Promises New Era For New York Fashion Week


Tom Ford, Rihanna, and the return of big names including Tommy Hilfiger herald a promised new era for New York Fashion Week which kicks off Friday after a run of underwhelming seasons.

American designer Ford is credited with reviving Gucci in the 1990s and has quickly set about trying to do the same for Fashion Week, shortening its length and strengthening its diversity.

“I want global exposure to the creativity that is in New York,” said Ford, who in June became chairman of the Council of Fashion Designers of America (CFDA) which runs Fashion Week.

“Everything is too inward-looking in this country. So American star designers, they leave. Virgil Abloh, where is he? He’s at Vuitton.

“You go to Paris and you become global. You stay in New York, and you’re in New York,” he added in the interview with Vogue, published in August.

Ford drove the CFDA’s decision to cut this year’s Fashion Week from seven to five days, a move insiders have been calling for for years to strengthen the event.

The women’s shows — which traditionally kicked off on a Wednesday night — will begin on Friday evening and run through the evening of Wednesday, September 11.

Ford’s background is a significant departure from that of his predecessor Diane Von Furstenberg, who chaired the CFDA for 13 years.

Her house “DVF” has called New York home for half a century, while Ford, a Texan by birth, worked in Italy and England for a time before settling in Los Angeles.

New York is the first of the season’s four big fashion weeks and tightening the schedule makes it more attractive to buyers and foreign media scoping out talented new designers.


“A shortened week is more economical and expeditious for attendees, especially those coming to New York from abroad,” said Steven Kolb, president and chief executive officer of the CFDA.

New York has struggled in recent years with several leading designers opting to showcase their collections elsewhere, including in Paris and even Los Angeles.

Abloh, Rodarte, Altuzarra, Thom Browne and Alexander Wang have been among high-profile names to skip the event recently, leading some commentators to speculate whether New York Fashion Week was over.

There are early signs that its revival has already begun under Ford with several famous designers returning to the event, such as Tommy Hilfiger who is back for the first time in almost three years.

Pop icon Rihanna will present her bestselling lingerie line Savage X Fenty after it premiered in September 2018.

Another eagerly awaited show is acclaimed Haitian-American designer Kerby Jean-Raymond who will display the latest in his Pyer Moss line.

Telfar, Tomo Koizumi and Khaite are also hotly anticipated.

The fun starts with a dinner chaired by Ford where dozens of young New York designers will be present.

Diversity will again be a major theme. The CFDA is committed to having a greater range of models from different ethnic groups and representing varied body shapes.

The council recently appointed Jean-Raymond, Abloh and British designer Carly Cushnie, who are all black, to its board. Chilean-born designer Maria Cornejo also joined.

“Diversity, inclusion, and model well-being are key to our efforts, as is showcasing young talent, which is core to our work,” said Kolb.

Nicki Minaj, Cardi B ‘Fight’ At New York Fashion Week

This combination of file pictures created on September 8, 2018 shows rapper Cardi B (L) at the 2018 MTV Video Music Awards at Radio City Music Hall on August 20, 2018 in New York; and rapper Nicki Minaj at the 2018 MTV Video Music Awards at Radio City Music Hall in New York. PHOTO: ANGELA WEISS / AFP


Two of America’s most prominent rap and hip-hop artists, Nicki Minaj and Cardi B, nearly came to blows in a brief but explosive confrontation during New York’s Fashion Week.

Videos on Twitter and YouTube showed the two women, who were on a second-floor balcony above a red carpet event late Friday, being separated by their security guards as Cardi B curses her rival before throwing a shoe at her.

Minaj was reportedly not hurt. But a photo taken immediately afterward shows Cardi B with a large bump just above her left eye. The Variety website said one of Minaj’s guards elbowed her during the melee.

It was not immediately known what touched off the dispute, but gossip site TMZ said Cardi B, the first female rapper to have had multiple No. 1 songs on the Billboard Hot 100 chart, had accused the older Minaj, one of the best-selling musical artists now performing, of spreading “lies” about her.

In a subsequent Instagram post, the 25-year-old Cardi B complained — without naming names — that her rival had gone too far when she criticised Cardi B’s qualities as a mother. Cardi B had a child in July with fellow rapper Offset.

Cardi B gained enormous notoriety in the US musical world last year with the release of her song “Bodak Yellow,” with its references to her past as a strip-tease dancer trying to make ends meet.

Minaj, 35, has sold more than five million albums worldwide and won 10 Grammy nominations.


Designers Showcase Black Panther Inspired Clothes At New York Fashion Week

Chadwick Boseman attends the Marvel Studios Black Panther Welcome to Wakanda New York Fashion Week Showcase at Industria Studios on February 12, 2018, in New York City. PHOTO: Jemal Countess / GETTY IMAGES NORTH AMERICA / AFP


Marvel Studios brought “Black Panther” fever to New York Fashion Week, inviting designers to showcase clothes inspired by the iconic movie, already winning rave reviews ahead of its Friday release in the United States.

More than a thousand people packed the Welcome to Wakanda presentation in the West Village that featured the work of 10 labels, including Chromat, Cushnie et Ochs and LaQuan Smith.

“The inspiration for me was female empowerment,” Smith told AFP. “I wanted to create something that really just connected to the characters and the film… embodying power, and feminity, and strength and sensuality.”

Reviews following Monday’s premiere of the movie that stars Hollywood’s first black superhero to get his own stand-alone film was electric, calling the picture “iconic” and “astonishing.”

“I think what made Black Panther more fashionable than other superhero films was really about the cast, the attitude that the cast really embodies,” said Smith. “I hope it inspires young boys and young girls.”

Otherwise here is a quick roundup of the best of Fashion Week day five, before the global 2018 fall/winter season shifts to Europe.

– Caribbean cruise –

American fashion elder statesman Ralph Lauren escaped to Jamaica in troubled times, both politically and business-wise, for spring, his latest collection adhering to a see-now, buy-now concept.

On a drab February morning, the 78-year-old transported his guests to a set evoking his stunning villa in Jamaica with a blue infinity-pool effect runway watched by actresses Hilary Swank and Rachel Brosnahan.

It opened with a calypso Caribbean beat as models walked barefoot dressed in delicate blue and white floral dresses with full skirts and flirty necklines before Bella Hadid strode out in a denim cocktail dress with feather finish and clothes segued into classic maritime.

But if the show was a master class in the rags-to-riches designer’s unique, clean silhouette that for decades has personified upmarket East Coast style, it remains unclear whether his quintessential blueprint can help revive sales in an industry so beloved of change.

The company announced on February 1 that company-wide third-quarter revenue fell four percent to $1.6 billion, despite growth in the Asia and European markets.

Sales at its North American stores fell 10 percent during the crucial holiday season quarter, including a 27 percent decrease in e-commerce.

Bowing out

Across town, fellow septuagenarian and first lady favorite Carolina Herrera took her final bow as creative director from her eponymous four-decade-old label, handing the design reins over to Wes Gordon.

Models ended the show at the Museum of Modern Art wearing crisp white shirts and single-coloured taffeta skirts, belted at the middle, in tribute to Herrera’s own signature style.

The Venezuelan-born 79-year-old was treated to a standing ovation and an extravagant bouquet of long-stemmed red roses, as she smiled and waved goodbye, joined by her white coated atelier staff.

It was a nostalgic collection, perhaps reflecting her distaste with modern fashion, featuring plenty of monochromes, long hemlines and lametta-style coats and skirts. The standout was delicate pointy ankle boots in gold, purple, green and silver sequins.

– Shooting for the stars –

Duchess of Cambridge favourite, Britain’s Jenny Packham unveiled a stunning collection of Cosmos-inspired evening wear via curated photo shoot following private appointments with retailers and the press.

Her inspiration was the Cosmos — the stars and galaxies, and the themes of Ridley Scott’s dystopian “Blade Runner” — showcasing a timeless, elegant silhouette beloved by her well-heeled client base.

Beaded gowns were covered in crystal starbursts, crescent moons twinkled on tulle and delicate capes offered more modest women a cover-up. Unusually for Packham, black, capitalized on the red carpet trend this awards season to protest against sexual harassment.

“I do think perhaps it’s a little bit of escapism, a sort of an otherworldly experience at the moment because we’re all a bit fed up,” said Packham of the cosmic theme.

While she plans to show in London in September to mark the 30th anniversary of her label, she has been pleased with her appointment roll-out, now done two seasons running, instead of a catwalk show.

Packham said she wanted her London extravaganza to be “forward-thinking” as the brand looks to the future, now expanding into China and having just launched a bridal shoe collection with L.K. Bennett.


China Leads Parent-Child Fashion Charge In NY

NEW YORK, NY – SEPTEMBER 10: Designer Cai Mei Yue attends China Fashion Collective during New York Fashion Week Marchant/Getty Images/AFP

If US children are reared on a diet of softball, rough and tumble in the park and summer camp, then two Chinese designers offered New York Fashion Week a slightly different vision of childhood.

Jia Liu and Xinyin Xu are two of the rapidly increasing number of Chinese designers taking the US cultural capital’s bi-annual style fest by storm as creative American talent decamps to Europe.

They also specialize in what they call parent-child fashion: complimentary outfits for moms and daughters, dads and sons. So that if mom dresses up for a party, her mini-me daughter can do the same.

Xu’s label Vicky Zhang — inspired by and named after her four-year-old daughter offered white dropped-shoulder dresses with ruffles, princess gowns with crinolines and trains skimming the floor, all in delicate white, the palest of yellows, baby blue or soft mint.

For mothers with a few hundred dollars to drop on a child’s outfit, it was a chance to indulge a daughter’s love of a dress-up fantasy dress — and there were plenty of oohs and aahs from captivated fashionistas.

Not to be left out, boys were offered silk knickerbocker suits in forest green, starched white shirts with sequin embellishment, or a Chinese-style boys suit with skirt overlay and cape in pale yellow.

“I hope that this collection makes every kid very elegant and do very well,” Xu told AFP, speaking through a translator, batting aside any suggestion that they were not the right clothes for a child.

“I want my daughter to be very well composed and whenever she wears the beautiful dresses she always pays attention,” she said.

The inspiration, fittingly enough, was the Tang dynasty, a time when China was considered the most prosperous country in the world.

Xu said her children’s outfits cost 1,000 to 2,000 yen ($150 to $300) a relative bargain compared to some of the eye-watering clothes on display at Fashion Week.

“I want everybody to be able to afford it,” she explained.

Liu’s collection, inspired by emojis, was a lot quirkier, cartoon-style words printed on outfits, hoodies and black jeans for boys and men; delicate pink and white for mothers and daughters.

Good business
The increased Chinese presence in New York underscore their growing business clout at home, their confidence in flexing their talent in the West and growing sales in the United States.

Shanghai-based designer Wang Tao, whose label Taoray Wang is popular with US first daughter Tiffany Trump, said Chinese designers like coming to New York because it is an international business platform.

“China’s economy is growing and booming, and a lot of designers want to show their clothes here,” she told AFP. “That’s something also fresh for New York Fashion Week.”

For those like Liu and Xu who are already successful at home, drumming up business in the United States is the natural next step.

It is Liu’s second time in New York, but the French-trained designer admits she is also looking at possibly putting on a show in Paris next season.

“New York Fashion Week is very commercial,” she says, also speaking through a translator. “I think there are two types of fashion week.

“Paris is more high fashion,” she said, while New York “is more like street fashion and more commercial based.”

Young designer Snow Xue Gao, who was inspired by the Beijing opera and dreams of one day dressing Cate Blanchett, held her first solo show — a presentation in an East village gallery.

The New York-based designer too saw the departure of a talent such as Rodarte and Altuzarra to Paris as a chance for others to shine.

But if China is a source of inspiration, she says clients in the West primarily want beautiful clothes and care less about their provenance.

“They buy it because it fits, looks good and they like the print,” she told AFP. “I don’t think now customers are like ‘I really love Asian culture and I want to buy this dress.'”


Rihanna Headlines NY Fashion Week Day Four

Rihanna arrives to celebrate the launch of her beauty brand, Fenty Beauty by Rihanna, on September 7, 2017 in New York. / AFP PHOTO / Bryan R. Smith

Barbadian superstar Rihanna brought much needed oomph to New York Fashion Week Sunday, with motorcycle stunt riders soaring over giant pink sand dunes in her latest fashion collaboration for Puma.

After spending the last two seasons in Paris, the 29-year-old hitmaker brought her spring 2018 collection back to the US cultural capital in a look more sporty than ever, waving and blowing kisses to her fans at the end from the back of a motorcycle, arm around a helmeted driver.

Her models paraded in whites, pinks and electric blues down a catwalk with glistening pink sand dunes in the background donning clinging catsuits, body suits, swimwear, cycling shorts and sharp anoraks.

In what was her fourth Fenty x Puma collection, the emphasis was on serious sportswear with striking technicality, different cuts, use of material and propensity for pockets.

Hunky male models strode shirtless, showing off rippling abs. Razzmatazz came from her motorbike stunt riders jumping off a ramp, soaring nearly 40 feet (10 meters) into the air to open and close the show.