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New York Fashion Week kicks off with rising stars, established brands

The week started out with strong showings from up-and-coming labels such as Kaelen and Honor and a show by mass brand BCBG Max Azria that takes surprising directions

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BCBG Max Azria, the label designed by the namesake's wife, head designer and muse Lubov Azria, kicked off the morning with a parade of femme fatales. Inspired by Helmut Newton (timely, too, considering the late photographer's recent retrospective at the Grand Palais in Paris), the show featured graphic harnesses reminiscent of those in Newton’s work in white and black leather over BCBG's signature fluid dresses. Lace made an appearance, too, thanks to Azria's continuing obsession with lingerie. The result was the boldest show the mass-market label has seen in years and, apart from a few forced denim pieces and leather trousers (that's right, for summer), it worked.

Richard Drew/AP

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Richard Drew/AP

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Richard Drew/AP

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Richard Drew/AP

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Richard Drew/AP

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Wildflower displays all over Honor's Chelsea venue hinted at the obvious: designer Giovanna Randall loves those floral prints. The unabashedly girly collection featured outlined orchid and tree prints atop of sweet, voluminous dresses, skirts and jackets. Though slightly repetitive, they did have a kind of Zooey Deschanel-meets-Jane Austen charm to them. Despite the predominance of gowns, the standouts were the separates, particularly blouses with microsparkle collars. The effect was, literally, like icing on cake.

DAN & CORINA LECCA

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DAN & CORINA LECCA

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DAN & CORINA LECCA

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Another Torontonian, Tanya Taylor, presented her sophomore collection at MoMa on Wednesday night. She's been one to watch since her show became an editor favourite the previous season, and her spring/summer 2013 proved that she's got the wit and talent to back up the hype. Her spring collection was based on the Sandy Lane hotel in Barbados. Inspired by vintage prints found in the resort's archives, she repeated a hand drawn floral print throughout the collection (most successfully in a sequined gown). Touches of coral, a shade seen in almost all the shows so far, popped out in sharp suiting and a covetable jacket thrown over a model's shoulders.

Matteo Prandoni/BFAnyc.com

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Matteo Prandoni/BFAnyc.com

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Matteo Prandoni/BFAnyc.com

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Matteo Prandoni/BFAnyc.com

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Matteo Prandoni/BFAnyc.com

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Matteo Prandoni/BFAnyc.com

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Tia Cibani, another designer raised in Canada, presented a strong debut collection on Wednesday afternoon. Cibani, who left a successful stint as designer at Ports 1961 to start a family, continues to evolve the clean yet interesting silhouettes she pursued at her previous label. Taking cues from Margarite Dumas’s novel The Lover, and the sea and earth, Cibani sculpted soft layers of gold lame, silk Gazar and georgette into petal shapes with subtle volume. She acknowledges the focus on fluidity came from her recent pregnancy (she gave birth to a baby girl two months ago), but at the last minute, she decided that there needed to some belts in there for balance. The end result (with a few nipped waists) was flattering, feminine and cohesive.

Gustavo Caballero

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Gustavo Caballero

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Gustavo Caballero

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Gustavo Caballero

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Gustavo Caballero

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