by Jeremy Danté

NEW YORK – the game has been changed, and what new york city represents for our nation of american’s is very, very special. during men’s fashion week in milan this past january, it seems more and more common that american menswear labels are joining the ranks of new york fashion week to present their latest collections. selecting my favorite five collections from each of the fashion capitals this show season, these are my absolute favorites of the fall/winter 2014 season, straight out of new york city. new america thrives beautifully.

PUBLIC SCHOOL – a rapidly developing style duo out of new york city has quickly become one to watch. this season, they continue to promote and actively create a visual signature. distinctively american in their use of blending the sophisticated and the street. predominantly a menswear label, the collection this season entered into the realm of womenswear. heavy where needed but also effortless, the collection has a strong identity in comparison to the throngs of labels that are showing every season in new york. i find that public school is very modern in this interestingly classic, very new york city type of way. following their CFDA fashion fund victory last year, all eyes are on this label. the collection presented headwear and focused on layered richness. sneakered and wisely tailored, it was interesting to see the designers touch upon a perspective of womenswear. the lines have gradually become more and more blurred between men and women in fashion. women’s lines are becoming stronger and yet more relaxed, shilouettes have widened. all the while menswear collections have borrowed some of the creative ideals that often keep womenswear a cut above the rest in the world of fashion. and even beyond that, the developing visual signature was not once shifted, or off-center. overall, the runway show from concept to model was strong. i do feel that a greater sense of development needs to happen. i don’t feel that the collection was completely independent in thought, as much of the large brimmed hats reminded me of saint laurent. it’s tricky when inspiration is sourced from the street. the street is inspired by a number of elements which include other design houses. it’s important for design labels like public school to create the trends, not to follow them. in palette, the collection is also very one note, there seems to lack a true sense of versatility there. relevant of now? yes. there is clear potential here, but in order to reach past that plateau will take some time. i loved the outerwear and feel that a range of must-haves or style essentials were provided in this strong showing.

coachCOACH – stuart vevers steps in as the executive creative director at american fashion brand, coach. this collection proves a lot. it represents vevers understanding of coach in the present, while being mindful of the past in order to set up the label in having an even stronger future. print seems to be the element of fancy for fall 2014, as we’ve seen it sprayed across many collections from menswear in milan to what has been strolling the catwalk during this first leg of show season, at new york fashion week. in the market of american fashion, many are transplants. coach has been a long standing entity on the scene. past creative director, reed krakoff worked steadfastly to allow for the label to see it’s greater creative potential, which can be a blessing and a curse for new director vevers. while the brand has been set up for success, it’s track record under krakoff can apply greater pressure in the present to continue that path to greatness. what i felt in the collection, in just viewing the clothes was the potential to appeal to an even younger, cooler market but to appeal to that demographic is a more relevant way. the clothes felt competitive of proenza, while flexing a bit on brands like prada. coach is more widely regarded as an accessories brand; with millions of american women buying their bags across the nation every day. this collection seemed to take the focus off of accessories a bit and create full looks. to be present in the sense of showcasing and promoting trends and further developing ways to expand the brand’s appeal across the board. successful, even at this early a stage in the game; i am definitely going to keep my eyes on this label. i admired the ways that they respected the DNA of the brand. the incredible footwear and beautiful use of leather, fur and suede celebrated the idea of coach as an emblem of american iconicism. as a leading leather goods company, i would love to see coach become a stronger fashion force in apparel as they clearly have the consumer audience to win. in aligning themselves to compete with brands like j.crew, the company being founded in 1941 means they stand to create a stronger sense of identification by priding themselves on the construction of that legacy, even with just their handbags. a strong collection, and an impressive first showing for vevers.

VERA WANG – an interesting label associated more closely in my mind with bridal, vera wang is actually a gangsta in fashion. she has had a long, enduring career which began during her years as an editor at american vogue. her sprawling career as a fashion designer has allowed her a larger platform, in which she culivates beauty and makes women’s dreams come true. but this season, vera murdered the runways of new york fashion week, presenting an interesting fall collection that was sprayed with florals and entracing bouts of sheer. it was almost like a feminine response to all that saint laurent, hipster, emo bullshit that has been trending lately. i was incredibly impressed by the design quality. labels on today’s scene busy themselves with re-interpreting existing trends, but this season vera presented a different type of female. you felt that vera wang signature of elegance, but here we seen a greater style commentary that said, “this is new york, as we see it”. beautifully conceptualized and imaginatively executed, this collection was easily one of my favorites this season. i love that balance of agelessness, while a sense of cool is still felt. that cool can easily feel forced when the execution of certain design components is put together in a way that feels inauthentic. consumers feel that and here that cool factor was communicated clearly. there was this upper east side snob shit combined with this east village ease to this collection. a perfect marriage of street sensibility that was all very new york. the long length gloves, the bugs that were sprinkled through the collection. the plaids were super classic, but done in an alternative music type of way. which i love, love, loved. the palette was everything i live for, in tone and there was a greater sense of function that didn’t lack style or prettiness. a little touch of glitter, sheer florals, fur, leather- everything ill of the fall season was put into this collection in a unbreakably consistent type of way. through to the final collections looks, the sheers that closed out the collection were almost valentino. functional while sophisticated- everything to love about womenswear was provided in this collection. every girl should buy or duplicate what vera presented.

OPENING CEREMONY – the minds behind the reinvention of kenzo are the same minds that have allowed opening ceremony to have a cemented place on the american fashion scene, in new york city. outfitting the cool kids, this label brings about a greater feel of style libertation. this collection felt much more poised, more refined in comparison to other collections, and reveals an entrance into the fashion big leagues. already successful on the scene with a well received consumer base, what i love about new york is the merging of the street onto the runway. this stye marriage was ever present in the collections this season, and the collections i gravitated toward all encompass that sensibility perfectly. a leader in that whole movement, humberto leon and carol lim have evolved incredibly quickly. their creative role at kenzo seems to have aligned with the ways they approach their first partnership at opening ceremony. similar to vera wang, the lines in this collection; and every collection i selected this season, have this studious feel. i love that look of school girl, i love the idea of uniformity as consistency. print is usually a trend that is presented for the spring, but for the fall of 2014-15, print will be on everything. lines were kept tight and clean in the collection that felt weighted in the right ways. deep forest greens reminded me of pine trees, and quilted leathers added dimension and greater depth within the collection. i loved the use of blue, but could’ve done without the palette cameos of pink throughout. off all the concepts provided, there was a strong identity. quite literally, some of the collection pieces were differentiated by their use of what appeared to be a finger print. i took those elements of mindfulness with a true sense of inspiration. you see that the brands work at kenzo influences some of what is presented in this collection, but it’s all done in a way that is greatly identifiable to that of opening ceremony’s distinct DNA. one of the coolest collections presented in new york.

edunEDUN – playing to my love of neutrally centered palettes, edun presented an incredibly chic fall collection that was comparative to parisienne levels of taste. as a fashion label with a greater purpose, edun was created to generate greater opportunities of manufacturing in regions of africa. that theme of africa is often incorporated in the collections, while diversity is often represented in their model castings. this season, that aesthetic was upgraded as the label continues to develop as a major competitor adopting chic cleanliness that gives brands like celine a run for their money. soft, feminine, sporty and luxe- the collections warm palette was void of print, which was seen galloping down every show’s catwalk during new york fashion week. edun as a label has developed a strong signature in their use of weaving, this season seen that signature develop in a smarter, more significant format that was less obvious than in season’s past. i loved the knitwear tremendously, and appreciate the label holding tight to their signatures while not ignoring the importance of expanding that sensibility through design. this collection, though tame, was one of my favorites for it’s subtle gesture of awareness aimed at trend. one of my favorite labels to watch, evolutionarily, this collection sees greater potential being exercised. all five collections represent that beautiful merger of suit and sport, luxury and function. a stunning showing from all five have position new york in an even stronger position as a leader in world style. a strong showing for new york as a fashion leader this season.

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