Welcome back to the boîte.
After what seemed like a false start last year, fashion seems to be readying itself for the new new “Roaring Twenties,” with plenty of designers putting forth collections full of sequins, crystals and other embellishments at New York Fashion Week for a fall ’22 season that looks like it will be one giant party.
It’s another round of optimistic thinking, in spite of continued uncertainty surrounding the future of the pandemic. For now, designers are betting that folks will want to pack away their cozy hoodies and lounge sets next winter in favor of sequined mini dresses, leather mini skirts, crystal-embellished crop tops, satin stiletto heels and other pretty, shiny things that one might wear to a swanky New Year’s Eve fête.
It started on Friday at the kickoff of NYFW with brands such as Bronx and Banco and Christian Cowan. At the latter, which was held at One World Trade Center Observatory for what is reportedly the highest fashion show in history (height-wise), the designer showed everything from crystal and lace cutout mini dresses to ostrich feather necklines, sleeves and more.
On Saturday, PatBO designer Patricia Bonaldi kept the party going with her signature cutouts, which have quickly become a staple of her jet set clientele. Bonaldi already had plenty of embellishments in her spring ’22 collection (which was also her NYFW runway debut) with jute detailing, wood beading, feathers and crochet work. But this season the designer brought out hand done crystal applications, on everything from the cutout dresses to barely-there bodysuits worn underneath blazers and coats.
At Area, it wasn’t a question if the brand would embellish its creations — that is part of its DNA, after all. It was more a question of how, and what new elements would be added to its Collection 02, which combined its couture work with see-now, buy-now ready-to-wear pieces. In addition to its now-signature crystal pieces, which still include everything from mesh tops to hair pieces, jewelry and leg cages, the brand added intricate brass metal work, done with a specialty work shop in Italy, to create winged collars, face pieces and more. In the place of its hit crystal fringe sling backs, Area introduced a series of sensibly shaped clogs, made less sensible but all the more appealing in being completely covered with crystals.
Even at the decidedly more demure Altuzarra, sequins were on order. Joseph Altuzarra put embellishments on everything from swingy fringed belts (not his first time) that jingled with metal sequins and bits as the models walked. At the finale, Gigi Hadid and a few other models clinked and clamored down the runway in gowns, tops and coats adorned with enormous sequin pailettes that appeared heavy and decadent.
Sequined mini dresses, high heels and other frippery are all fun for a party — but what about the warm overcoat one needs to wear to get to said party? Or any of the other necessities one needs each winter: a warm sweater, a wear-everywhere coat and a sturdy pair of boots.
So far, only a few designers have pondered those usual needs. Altuzarra rooted most of his fall ’22 collection in sumptuous outerwear, in thick wools and finished leathers. He even added a new accessory category to his line with all of the hoods and balaclavas on offer, and footwear was comprised mostly of a heavy platform boot, shapely but done in solid leather with no adornment. An array of leather lace-up sandals paired with leather socks may have seemed like a novelty or a resort touch, but they still showed consideration for the fact that people will need to keep warm next winter — party or no party.