September 9, 2013 6:00 pm

New York Fashion Week: Sunday, busy Sunday

Playful touches enhance classic themes

Sunday may mark the midpoint of New York Fashion Week, but for the majority of its nomadic participants, not surprisingly, it’s never a day of rest.

Every hour outside show venues – inevitably scattered across the length and breadth of Manhattan – crowds throng the pavements, beholden to a relentless schedule. Sometimes though, it’s worth it – and sometimes it’s really just about the famous faces that appear.

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Both, happily, were the case at Edun, where a front row of legendary 1990s supermodels, including Christy Turlington Burns and Helena Christensen, had gathered alongside Chili Pepper frontman Anthony Kiedis and U2’s Bono (he co-owns the label alongside wife Ali Hewson) to watch the unveiling of an inaugural collection by new designer Danielle Sherman.

With a steady hand, Sherman guided the eco-luxe brand in a new aesthetic direction this season, using monochrome graphics, tribal-checked prints and woven criss-cross leathers in an opening procession of boxy Proenza-tinged separates for the stylish urban woman.

These looks then gave way to languid off-duty basics reflective of Edun’s ethnic roots; think gauzy layered tunics, or elegantly tailored split-seam maxi skirts with rich ochre piping – though no piece fully left the impression we were seeing anything entirely original to Sherman herself.

Over at Thakoon, however, the Thai-American designer was keen to take things back to basics – on his own terms. “I liked the idea of something more classic,” he said ahead of the show. “I’ve been whittling things down in the past few seasons.”

In practice, this meant barely-there 1930s-esque silky lingerie slips, creamy and embellished with fragmented bits of dangling diamanté or scraps of embroidered lace. Though feminine, these seemed fussy and almost tawdry; better were the edgier, more minimalist offerings, such as the multi-pleated “pleather” midi in a rosy digital print, or a laser-cut stand-away denim sheath with loose-fitting white slacks.

At Y-3 meanwhile, where baby-faced pop teen idol Justin Bieber held court amid hordes of identically clad minions, Yohji Yamamoto had joined forces with graphic artist Peter Sackville for the brand’s second 10-year anniversary collection.

Yamamoto called this season a new start, though really it was just more of the same, with a series of sports-infused classics designed for those in search of a trendy downtown uniform. Stark cubist shapes in a variety of materials were infused with the brand’s sharp slouchy street swagger and silhouette, as well as the Adidas three-stripe motif.

Occasionally playful new touches appeared: a tie-dye rainbow palette kicked off proceedings, woven into the side seams of rain macs or splattered across tapered knickerbockers, while a cerulean blue tapered waistcoat suit was unexpectedly layered up with a flirty white pannier skirt.

At DKNY – also celebrating a big anniversary (25 years in the business) – Donna Karan was clearly in the mood to have fun, too. This season the brand paid energetic homage to its home city, updating nostalgic 1990s style tropes such as baggy denim overalls, glaring brand logos, platform sneakers and the biker bandana print with a sexy contemporary twist.

Layering and texture blocking was used to particularly strong effect; think a starched white tee and netted underskirt that showcased a ruched and wrap-waisted rain-mac midi-skirt, coral and cobalt neoprene skater dresses or the closing series of plastic pastel-coloured mac dresses with billowing trains.

The eye-popping finale saw a strutting Rita Ora – the British singer recently crowned as the new campaign face of the brand – meet Karlie Kloss in front of a New York taxi on the runway. It was as though the worlds of the city outside, front row and catwalk suddenly collided as one to become a great big slightly self-conscious but thoroughly distracting party.

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