backstage buzz | new york fashion week aw19 pt. 2

The whirlwind that was NYFW is over, and while we prepare for what London Fashion Week has in store, let’s take a look back at some of our favourite backstage moments from the week, captured by photographer Nick Merzetti.

First up is Chinese streetwear retailer and producer New Project Center (NPC), who celebrated its tenth anniversary with a collection of space-inspired neon outerwear, ponchos and bumbags. NPC has been a leading institution in Chinese streetwear for years, so it’s only natural that they are included in this year’s New York Fashion Week China Day. Beginning in 2009 as a project of entertainment show host Li Chen and pop singer Wilber Pan, the brand has since grown into one of the largest fashion retailers in China. Their mission is evident in the New Project Center name; Chen and Pan see their stores and collections as spaces for streetwear enthusiasts to explore and experiment, drawing attention to China’s streetwear scene by pushing local brands and bringing in fashions from around the world.

Next is 
Oscar De La Renta. A brand known for its formal attire, house designers Fernando Garcia and Laura Kim took New York Fashion Week as an opportunity to modernise and bend formality to its breaking point, introducing crop tops, relaxed tailoring, trousers and pyjama-style jumpsuits. Other selections honoured the brand’s heritage while utilising new approaches, such as an evening gown made from laser-cut lace. Social media icon Bella Hadid closed out the show in a black velvet and tulle ballgown, a fitting end for a show blending contemporaneity and tradition.

Dennis Basso made a showing with a collection designed for, in his words, the “New York City girl.” Not content to focus on just one “New York City girl,” the collection spanned 50 looks for every side of New York from young to old, uptown to downtown. Pieces on display featured everything from leopard prints and canary yellows to pink slips and purple geometric outerwear. As to be expected with a Dennis Basso show, fur was a prominent element, with faux-fur coats mixed into his signature sables and minks.

Returning to China Day, another Chinese brand making itself known at NYFW was 
Peacebird Men. Last year’s NYFW marked the first appearance of Peacebird on the international market, a surprise given the age and persistence of the brand on the Chinese mainland. Started in 1995 by Zhang Jiangping, Peacebird is now a leading mark in China with over 1500 stores. For this show, the brand played on tropes and ideas from both Chinese and Western culture – characters like Elmo brandished on layers of baggy-fit shirts, pants and jackets, with chains and man bags as eye-catching accoutrements.

Flowers floated through
LANYU’s show – petals crowned models, eye makeup mimicked the layers of spring blooms, and light blue, pink and violet dresses evoked spring and fairytale wonder. The theme, Les Fées de Lan — ‘the fairies of Lan’ — was apparent from the first of the show’s fifty looks. Sheer, light dresses drew obvious inspiration from the many magical characters of Disney and Aesop’s Fables. Works incorporated Suzhou embroidery, a labour-intensive and highly detailed craft; mountains and water were woven into a white silk Chinese suit using this technique.

The last show we’re taking you behind-the-scenes for is the bejewelled and glimmering world of 
The Blonds. Notable for its use of shine, studs and other loud accents, The Blonds’ most recent display continued the brand’s tradition of theatrical runway performances by including a literal runway performance by Lil Kim, who rapped her song “Go Awff” to close out the show. The performances and pieces on display were heavily inspired by Scarface and other movies of the era, glamourising money and the gangster lifestyle. The clothing offered typical Blonds fare – gem-encrusted, spiked, sequined, always attention-seeking.

Find out more information about New York Fashion Week here.

photography. Nick Merzetti
words. Braden Bjella


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