New York Fashion Week: An Artsy [Fartsy] Retrospective

Marrying fashion and literature isn’t easy. Fashion, as an industry, has a reputation for shallowness and discrimination against certain women that isn’t unwarranted. Having this blog split into two unlike things worried me when I began writing about two seemingly disparate topics; however, when New York Fashion Week comes along and I see the truly inspirational designs exhibited by some of the best artists of the time, I am reminded of the passion and artistry that drives fashion. And I realize that literature and fashion are more alike than I previously imagined. Skinny/fat-shaming and horrible Photoshopping scandals aside, fashion at its heart is an art form, constantly in dialogue with film, art, and yes, with literature.

Take Karl Lagerfeld for Chanel. In this piece on, Lagerfeld explains how his inspiration for his Fall 2013 line was “tradition with future.” He exhibited futuristic, boxy styles but with tweed, suede, sequins and classic silhouettes. The result was an energetic mix of old and new. In this way, Lagerfeld admitted to being influenced by Aldous Huxley’s Brave New World and by Fritz Lang’s frightening dystopian classic, Metropolis. When asked about the influence, Lagerfeld dramatically responded, “My whole life is a Fritz Lang moment.”

Artists being influenced by other artwork characterizes the artistic experience. The world of art thus becomes a huge dialogue among all those who create; fashion is simply the creation of the things we wear rather than the things we hang on our wall or place upon our shelves. It’s the easiest form of expression, and yet sometimes the hardest. So anyway–here are my top three favorite picks from New York Fashion Week! In no particular order:

Alice + Olivia


What initially drew me to the Alice + Olivia show was the unconventional approach. Instead of a runway, Stacey Bendet rented out a theatre and used her clothing and her models to tell a story: something I instantly loved. Her clothes combined a Victorian style reminiscent of Alice in Wonderland, with a fantastic, fairy-tale spin and beautiful colors and textures. The result is stunning!

Rodarte’s Star Wars dresses


Need I say more? Rodarte’s daring decision to end their show with models dressed in gowns plastered with Star Wars characters has polarized the fashion world. As a lifelong, devoted Star Wars fan, I am firmly in support of this decision! It was amazing! But Star Wars dresses aside, the Rodarte ready-to-wear Fall 2014 line was an interesting mix of strange silhouettes and mixed textures. I also loved the color palette.

Sass & Bide


Layering, layering, layering! I loved the bare legs, miniskirt-heavy collection, as well as the multi-layered look of the line. Drapey, flowy, layered things make me happy. Plus the collection is heavy on prints and embroidery and lots of beautiful detail. I love intricately-worked clothing. I could sense an art-deco influence in a couple pieces, which I absolutely adored.

I could go on for hours about the clothes I coveted this Fashion Week but I’ll leave it here. Shows like these remind me why I love fashion and style and how easy it is to express yourself through your personal style. It reminds me of the huge influence appearances have on our lives, for the good or the bad. The fashion industry is deeply flawed, but it’s about a glamorous confidence, it’s about transporting the viewer into another reality; it’s about using art to transcend the mundane that is often characteristic of the everyday human experience. Isn’t that what art is all about? (Say yes 😉 )

all photos link back to their sources

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  • I’ll admit, I’m a sucker for fashion week (insert city.. lol) and I think that as an industry it is too easily brushed off as something superficial, shallow even. I love the idea of holding the show in a theatre! I often think fashion tells its own story, and that just seems to be reaffirming that thought for sure.

    Great post here! And thanks for the Lagerfeld link! I love Chanel.. xD

    • Thanks for your feedback! I’m glad you enjoyed the post! I also love Chanel 🙂

  • I also really enjoy fashion, though sometimes I have trouble admitting that to other people. But I love reading Vogue every month! I do! Did you read the February issue? It had my favorite fashion shoot from the last…well, couple years or so, I think – the simple one with Sasha Pivovarova.

    • I think it’s interesting you have trouble admitting it; I think it’s because we tend to view people who enjoy fashion as unintelligent, and fashion as frivolous and unimportant. I tend to do it, too! I wonder why. Also, yes I loved that spread! Very bohemian, very American and as you said, simple and beautiful.