fashion meets echo meets politics at New York Fashion Week

fashion meets echo meets politics at New York Fashion Week

Three months after the US Supreme Court’s decision to revoke Roe v Wade, removing the constitutional right to legal abortion that lasted nearly half a century, New York designer Gabriela Hearst went to New York Fashion Week to “declare “Cecile Richards, former president of Planned Parenthood, on her spring runway.

This fashion week is the first since the decision in June and Tuesday afternoon, wearing a black double-breasted coat with mottled rose gold bars along the lapel, the women’s rights activist was among the 50 strong “goddesses and warriors”, among including teenagers climate activist Xiye Bastida and amputee model and activist Lauren Wasser.

The show wasn’t explicitly biased towards women’s reproductive rights, but focused on those who were neglected, drawing inspiration from the ancient Greek poet Sappho – often considered Homer’s woman – only discovered by Hearst after her daughter decided to dress as her for Halloween. “It makes me wonder if I would have heard of her if she was born a man,” he said before the show.

The Uruguayan-born designer launched her womenswear brand in 2015 with the sole goal of making clothes that women can actually wear, albeit at a three- or four-figure price. Despite showing women’s and men’s fashion on Tuesday, the modest number of real men actually on the runway – there were a few, even though they mostly appeared as accessories for women and were dressed in complementary colored clothing – was an attempt. to put women front and center of the show.

Featuring leather and nappa (faux leather) dresses with gold armor, floor-length merino dresses knitted like cobwebs, poppy-colored dresses and fisherman-style sandals, the collection lay somewhere between ancient and modern Greece except that inside a warm corrugated metal fish hangar in Brooklyn, normally a transit point for 10 million pounds of fish a year and that once hosted a democratic debate between Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders. The Resistance Revival Chorus, a collective of women and non-binary singers, served as the soundtrack to the show, suitably dressed in floor-length white dresses.

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Top model Paloma Elsesser walks the Gabriela Hearst catwalk for spring 2023. Photograph: Kristy Sparrow / Getty Images

Hearst, who lives in New York and also oversees Chloé, made a quiet arrival in fashion at a time when women designing for women was a rarity. Known for capturing two of the most visible women in US politics: Jill Biden, who wore two versions of the same embroidered dress on the night of the inauguration and first speech in Congress, and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, who wore a teal dress for a fashion shoot for Interview magazine – Hearst is also known for her sustainable manufacturing practices.

In this spring collection, a third of the collection was made with deadstock fabrics and the shoe soles were largely biodegradable. The glue that held the gold foil knit dresses together was also eco-certified, no matter that the warehouse was chock-full of international press and buyers.

Elsewhere in this surprisingly sustainable NYFW, circularity has made its way onto the Coach runway, where under British designer Stuart Vevers, leather soccer balls and old leather jackets have been reworked into tracksuits, coats and bags.

Vevers’ collection was a tribute to his love for American neo-noir cinema. Set on a rickety New York pier, and referencing everything from Paris is Burning to “Joey Ramone at Rockaway Beach and Patti Smith at Coney Island, it was all about modern proportions and bare legs. Seven oversized leather jackets in brown. chocolate, a pair of pants and a beautiful patchwork coat were followed by a handful of paint-stained knitwear and finally various short babydoll dresses in pastel and gingham. The shoes were high heels or brightly colored jelly sandals – very 80s , much consummate Dorothy in Oz.

In both cases it was clothes that looked to the future by working with fabrics – and an atmosphere – firmly fixed in the past.

Related: Can fashion be sustainable? Yes, says Gabriela Hearst of Chloé

Rapper Lil Nas X wears a large leather vest and shorts on the Coach runway

Rapper Lil Nas X debuts as a model for Coach at NYFW. Photograph: Taylor Hill / FilmMagic

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