Year after year, New York Fashion Week showcases the breadth of American fashion. One category that continues to expand: the contemporary market. Here, WWD rounds up a mix of brands with serious businesses and their proposals for spring 2023.
“We were contemplating those moments in summer of deep reflection and quiet pleasure so beautifully captured by cinematographer Néstor Almendros, and inspired by the soothing yet vivid colors found in the paintings of Danielle McKinney,” said Vince creative director Caroline Belhumeur. Color, in fact, has become somewhat of a staple of the brand over the past few seasons, but color the Vince way, grounded in its staple offering of neutrals.
Voluminous pants, very much a trend this season, came lower-waisted, paired with slimmer shirts and jackets. Tailoring was over all looser and had a sense of ease. Staples of the brand — leather separates, washed silks and light cotton — were all here, too, making a collection of pieces that felt seasonless and can be go-to pieces beyond just spring.
Cinq á Sept
“Whatever else clothes may be about, I believe they must add to the enjoyment of life. A dress is a failure unless it gives a woman added confidence. She must put it on, feel great and then forget that she is wearing it and get on with her life,” read a quote from artist, designer and muse Thea Porter on Jane Siskin’s spring 2023 Cinq á Sept collection notes.
“The whole idea is a modern take on its bohemian style because of the relaxed attitude but not bohemian in a traditional way. It’s luxe, beautiful and to make a woman feel sexy,” the designer added of the lineup.
Siskin continued to expand resort’s modern bohemia and influence à la Porter with a mix of cocktail dresses and separates (from little black dresses to swishy frocks in a handkerchief-inspired diamond-and-paisley patchwork print), dressed-up denim, crinkled satin suiting and embellished separates.
AG took a road trip to the American Southwest for its spring collection. The California-based brand served up its take on the appropriate wardrobe for an escape from the city in the wake of the pandemic as people yearn for an easier life. That translated into a collection rooted in desert-inspired neutrals that showed up in everything from vegan leather shorts with a matching jacket in a soft ivory to a dressier take on French terry that elevated slouchy sweats for lounging at home into a more sophisticated cardigan and shorts ensemble suitable for going out. For men, the brand offered up sweatshirts and joggers along with an ikat printed anorak in a painted desert palette.
Although the collection offered a lot of denim alternatives, AG didn’t forego its roots in jeanswear — but this season, many pieces were embellished with hand-loomed panels of Southwestern graphics that the brand commissioned New Mexico artisans to create and added to the backs of denim jackets for men and women. Similar graphics were used as subtle accents on several styles of jeans. All told, the spring offering, overseen by Sandy Oh, head of design, proved the brand is continuing to evolve into a lifestyle sportswear collection.
Tanya Taylor used the angles and lines of the ’70s artists’ residency space Westbeth as her jumping-off point for spring. It gave pieces like a bustier a more rounded shape and also was found in her embroideries. She called her prints a “beautiful mess,” pointing to her magpie like color mixing that she has come to be known for, along with her fabric development. That attention to detail gives her clothes a movement and flow.
It’s her 10-year anniversary, and her knits and tailoring continue to resonate, becoming staples for her customer. Taylor prefers to style her collection in-house, crafting looks that feel unexpected but give her customer several ways to interpret her work. A decade in, it’s a formula that works.
Kate Spade New York appointed Tom Mora and Jennifer Lyu as the principal designers for all product categories and the duo developed a spring collection that leaned into the house code — girlie, prints, color, novelty accessories and bag upon bag. The ready-to-wear came in a mix of saturated colors, stripes on A-line dresses, bright florals in dresses on wide-legged pants and monochromatic looks that had a retro ladylike appeal. But the bread and butter of the brand is its accessories, and spring sees a host of new bags and reworked classics take shape.
“This season, almost as a theme I kind of chose ourselves as a story,” creative director Christian Juul Nielsen said of the Hervé Léger spring collection. “It’s very bandage-y and architectural.”
The designer was also inspired by the views from his New York City windows — specifically the architecture of Hudson Yards — as well as the architectural photographs of Hungarian photographer Lucien Hervé, which Juul Nielsen played off of to reveal and conceal the body in new ways. The idea worked especially well on a light brown, body-hugging number with sharp abdomen-revealing straps across the bodice alongside “full looks” of innovative, almost futuristic bra and cropped tops, fringed pants, and plenty of sexy little dresses with strategic cutouts.
Candy, more specifically its texture and shape, were on the mood board for Simon Miller’s Chelsea Hansford. Broken up into sections, one inspired by silver wrappers with lamé pants in vegan leather and sequined dresses gave a holiday party vibe. Taffy was up next, with wavy lurex pieces, cover-ups and some swimwear. Another section played with coconut with a group of textured separates with a seasonal logo, and a novelty varsity jacket. Hansford paired them all with supersized bubble wedges, an update on a brand staple. Acrylic hardware was found on a mix of dresses, an abstract take on the theme.
Overall it made for a very tactile collection, imbued with Hansford’s trademark whimsy. Rtw is growing; for example, her printed sets and knits offering, particularly a set of saturated knit high-waisted pants, paired with matching knit tops. They had a retro, lounge-y but modern vibe.
There were even a few takes on bridal with a vermicelli noodle dress in white or lurex crochet dresses.
Accessories will likely be bestsellers — wrapped candy heels, clogs on clogs and cute structured bags that match all the fun prints and textures.
“It’s about boldness, romance, drama, about her living and feeling beautiful, that’s what it’s all about — and it’s everyone,” L’Agence’s fashion director Tara Rudes Dan said amid the brand’s party-style presentation at the Boom Boom Room. “Walking out of that house feeling that ‘a-ha’ moment: confidence, sexy, feminine. It takes her from day to night — that’s what’s so great about L’Agence, it’s so versatile.”
The brand’s 24-look spring collection offered new takes on signature silhouettes — blouses, dresses, suiting, with the common denominator being the brand’s ongoing denim program — all amplified in bright saturated shades, like a sparkling sequined purple slip or acid green suit.
“The most important thing about what we do is taking our classics — our easy, effortless pieces — and it’s all about the fabric. Taking things that are wearable and putting them in exciting new fabrics,” chief executive officer and creative director Jeff Rudes said. “She can trust it, it’s easy.”
Autumn Adeigbo’s spring collection went vibrant with a fresh take on vintage silhouettes and a hint of Y2K flair. Inspired by the real world, the designs incorporated femme daisy prints, large-scale florals and ombré sunset elements.
“It’s very vintage, bright and mood elevating ” Adeigbo, who has grown her staff to seven, including another designer, said. Clearly the second round of funding from celebrity investors Cameron Diaz, Gabrielle Union and Mila Kunis is helping her scale the brand. “We really used the initial colors of these fabrics from Spain to set the tone for the rest of the collection.”
Accessories were strong, with an assortment of hats, scrunchies and headbands that completed the looks. Sequins and beading details added another level of shine to the collection, injecting a bit of whimsy.