A Heads Up On Style In The First City of Fashion
London, Paris and Milan – European cities whose bias toward their own designers often results in little mention of emerging U.S talent. New York; a hot-bed of textiles talent and home-grown designers aka Michael Kors and Donna Karan. When it comes to fashion forwardness, Europe lags considerably in the futuristic department. Versace and Dior are known for their flowing classic cuts and bohemian trends, yet rarely do the houses showcase street-style – probably one of the most defining fashion trends of the 21st Century. Conversely, New York is also affiliated with glamor, glitz and red-carpet readiness. Her women are style conscious, trend ready and oozing confidence with wardrobes created from staple basics. Home to the biggest collective of beauty salons, stylist boutiques and hair specialists in the world, New York could teach us all a thing or two about style.
Like a musky old chypre, Punk inspired fashion refuses to die, regardless of how much it is watered down by itsy bitsy spring floral prints or nude hues. The classic leather bomber jacket was a must-have for every self-declared punk during the 1970’s, and once again continues to invade catwalks as an edgy contrast to ultra-feminine styles.
For men, the leather jacket in any shape or form refuses to relinquish itself to the cupboard of vintage, popping up at Bottega Veneta’s Summer show, as well as Gilded Age back in the Spring.
Utilitarian fashion during the 1980’s could be described as anything that went against the grain of conceptual style. Before über brands such as American Apparel and The Gap began their bombardment of pared down basics and preppy looks, Ally Capellino and Harriet Selwyn were making their mark with bold separates lines and one-piece jumpsuits. Confined to the heftily discounted sale rack for over a decade, it wasn’t until the mid 1990’s that utilitarianism started to make a comeback.
Its philosophy leans towards anti-fashion; anything that doesn’t conform to runway chic. Think jumpsuits paired with a base t-shirt and given the edge with a pair of Miu Miu heels. The UK’s export trend-setter Alexa Chung is a good example, having recently teamed up with semi-retro brand Madewell. For men, the Paul Smith fall season dictates suit trousers tucked into bother boots, over-sized bubble anoraks and pared down basics such as a neutral t-shirt. Of course, if you can’t face creasing up your Armani then you could opt for the more casual Burberry direction, teaming drainpipe jeans with D.M’s and bold thigh-length duffel coats!
Regardless of your age or shape, vintage glamor à la 1930’s is still very much ‘en vogue’. Now we don’t suggest rocking up to the Hard Rock in a sweeping McQueen creation, however the key to the look is self-maintenance. Most women tend to focus upon one aspect of the glamorous 20’s or 30’s for a wearable daily style – such as bolero jackets. Butterfly necklines, broad shouldered capelets and impeccable grooming are all synonymous with the 1930’s, coupled with demure, almost barely-there make-up courtesy of Tom Ford. By contrast, the 1920’s look calls for a little more effort. A slash of red lipstick; short bobs with finger waves and detailed drop-waist dresses. Moschino stock a particularly glamorous collection. Hermes offers a fascinating array of scarves and accessories – ideal for building a signature style interpretation.
For the most part, vintage fashion for men is limited to key suits from the era. Wider trousers known as “Oxford bags” thankfully haven’t made a return, however the crisp seams and wing tipped shoes buffed to a high shine are considered bang on trend. If you’re stuck for inspiration, check out Brooks Brothers on Madison Avenue or Rothman’s Warehouse at Union Square.
Understated Designer Chic
Dressing for the occasion is practically second-nature in NYC and doing it in designer-wear is the ultimate statement – providing it doesn’t scream runway. The key to pulling off any designer ensemble is attention to the finer details – the cut, the hem and the press to be precise.
Women tend to favor Donna Karan, Vera Wang and Alice Temperley as the key ingredients for day-wear, while Alexander McQueen and Vivienne Westwood are by far the glamorous choice for dining out or venturing onto Broadway. Similarly, men retain a semblance of style by sticking with what they know. Boss, Acne and Armani are particularly ideal to transcend from day to night, without the hassle of a complete restyle!