I had thought about skipping New York Fashion Week to dedicate more time to the begetting of Casa Lau but fortunately as it turns out, the fashion week train will be taking me across the Atlantic and I'm due in tomorrow night for a week of cat karaoke (more about that later), IFB gabbing and of course the shows, which are more often than not a mental shopping list of sorts. There's value to be had in watching a show and wanting to wear the entire thing. With some specific shows, were every single piece squirrel its way into my wardrobe, I'd be tippety-top doolally happy. Creatures of the Wind and Suno were two of the early New York shows from last season that ticked those boxes. I love that the duos Chris Peters and Shane Gabier of COTW and Erin Beatty and Max Osterweis of Suno are friends with each other. Whilst distinctly different in their design approach, it just so happens that their collective choice of textiles and prints tick every box in the "Susie Wants to Play In These Clothes" check list. I hope that remark doesn't debase these collection in any way. Both COTW and Suno are rising through the ranks of the New Yor fashion scene with the help of CFDA and schemes like MADE by Milk. They're the newish fresh blood that makes the trek over to New York all that more varied.
Creatures of the Wind's crafty ways bring a much needed off-kilter side to New York Fashion Week, which sometimes can be overwashed with overly sensible and wearable clothes. This season, they created a delightful cacophony of textures and happy-happy hues that are loosely derived from 1960s Parisian haute couture. That said, it's nothing as banal as riffing off of Jacques Fath or Cristobal Balenciaga or the like. Gabier and Peters instead takes mere suggestions of those shapes and renders them in fabrics that got me very excited when I saw it all in the showroom - fluro pink woven jacquard that reminds me of sixties polyester lingerie of the kitschies order, geometric plastic flecked tricolor tweed, humble gingham elevated into that same plastic-flecked tweed, comic-book star prints jumping out at you in shades of purple and green, butterflies a-fluttering on frayed chiffon and hand-embellished Swarovski crystal application by their friend, artist Kristina Sparks. Even a slinky python print lame looks coherent amongst this rainbow lot. What's made all of it worked though was the duo's proposition of clever layering that suits the likes of me, who finds the idea of wearing two or three skirts at the same time totally normal. A shorter d-belted skirt would contrast with a longer tweed skirt. Voluminous jackets would have a longer jacket peeking out from beneath. I'm never going to be a gown-sort-of-a-girl so their tulle-covered bustier, above-the-knee skirt and longer pleated skirt underneath is right up my alley. Tabitha Simmons sometimes-brogues, sometimes-chunky heeled Mary Janes worked a treat here in hsades of retro sofa green, dusky pink and mustard yellow. There's a bit of continuity too with their continuation of their kilt buckle detailing that pops up in a lovely apple green ensemble. Whilst most have noted that the duo have presented their most "mature" collection, I'm wholly glad that there's still shreds of awkwardness in the way their girl emerges - all layers, textures and colours. Hopefully that girl doesn't clean up too much over the course of COTW's next steps.
Suno are a few steps ahead of COTW in a business step and they've established their penchant for prints from the get go. Max Osterweis and Erin Beatty's shift from Kenya-inspired Africana to general print whimsy is also very nearly complete. So it is that we take SS13, not as a centrally themed collection but a loose collation of ideas that they take pleasure in. Watercolour florals on PU-esque nylon and shimmering satin, country flowers on silk, Polish-inspired embroidery, sturdy stripes to provide something robust and then a touch of the humorous with a graphic mobile phone print made up into an elegant dress. They're a dab hand at mixing things up into combinations that you immediately want to emulate without delving too far into one particular stylistic period, central motif or theme. It's a collection that taps into the modern psyche of mix n' match mentality, which perfectly fits into the way Suno clothes are worn in reality. I especially like the way how everything breezed down the runway with an ease that you wouldn't normally find with such tricksy print combos. Were my own five-prints-in-one-outfit experiments this successful, I'd eschew wearing solid colours altogether.