[FASHION REVIEW] New York Fashion Week SS17

text by Adam Lehrer

New York Fashion Week is what it is. Of all the fashion weeks, it presents the most missable shows by a fairly wide margin. That being said, it’s also the fashion schedule that is most ripe for radical re-interpretations and deconstructions by a new generation of art-minded malcontents hell bent on making fashion and art in equal measure. Despite, or perhaps because of, the fact that New York Fashion Week maintains its representation for being the most commercially minded of the schedules, a prominent fashion underground has slowly been rising to the surface. Let’s call it the New York millennial fashion revolution (even though the Gen X’er could be seen as a progenitor to this movement in his embracing of both high art and trash pop culture). Almost analogous to the rise of young New York artists like Alexandra Marzella, Julia Fox, and India Menuez, the new New York fashion scene draws upon underground art, pop music, digital media, and celebrity in equal measure. The creativity that results from this lurid amalgam of ideas can be simultaneously fascinating and grotesque, but very indicative of New York now: DIY but tuned in, underground but digitally connected.

Hood by Air Spring-Summer 2017

How many images do you consume per day? Can you even estimate a number? How many of those images are pornographic and how many hold artistic merit? Does it even matter? Can pornography have artistic merit? Maybe. Those questions all filtered into Shayne Oliver’s Spring-Summer 2017 Hood by Air collection that saw the designer juxtapose abstract shapes with bastions of lurid digital imagery, the porno companies Hustler and YouPorn. The collection captured the mood of New York 20-somethings perfectly. In all honesty, there is a renewed interest in art and abstract ideas that you can feel wafting in the bars, theaters, and galleries of the Lower East Side, Bushwick, Gowanus, and Harlem. But at the same time, that interest in art is always in competition with de-personalized digital imagery, often of a sexual nature. Oliver, a true modern conceptualist, decided to embrace this dichotomy in this stunning HBA collection. As with most HBA collections, there were some wild images in here: jump suits folded into capes, Wall Street suits cut off at the shoulder exposing corsetry, and the much-talked about collaboration with Brooklyn heritage boot brand Frye revealing a Western cowboy boot designed to look like two boots attached at the heal. That last example especially reveals Oliver’s understanding of the modern consumer; the shoe works as both a meme and a feat of artistry. And then there were the Hustler and PornHub branded shirts whispering to the audience a sly acknowledgement of the conundrum of being both an artist and the boss of a very hype-driven brand. Time and time again, Oliver is able to deliver conceptual ideas in both silhouettes and viral marketing.

Side note: Wolfgang Tillmans has been my favorite artist, PERIOD, for years, and it’s rewarding to see the German photographer have this strange pop cultural moment. In addition to releasing two EPs of dance music and working with and shooting the cover for Frank Ocean’s Blond/Blonde, Tillmans served as a surprise model for the HBA SS 2017 show. He is EVERYWHERE, all of a sudden.

Ottolinger Spring-Summer 2017

Berlin-based Ottolinger’s Spring-Summer 2017 show was styled by Berlin-based arts and culture bi-annual 032C’s fashion editor Marc Goehring, and to me, Ottolinger fills a similar independently spirited intellectual punk void in fashion to the one that 032C fills in fashion publishing. Berlin just might be the last counter-culture major metropolis in the world, and designers Christa Bosch and Cosima Gradient filter that Berlin-bred radicalism into their couture quality pieces: the Berlin post-punk and industrial music scene of the mid ’80s, Berghain and gay techno culture, and the contemporary Berlin gallery scene all manifest in the design duo’s ideas. Like contemporaries Vetements and Y Project, Ottolinger’s aesthetics can be harsh and confrontational. But, Christa and Cosima have a specific vision of beauty that came through loud and clear with this most recent collection. In the collection, contemporary staples like pleated trousers, graphic tees, oxford shirts, and blazers were tattered and left with fringe hanging towards the floor. More extreme looks saw a pink satin jacket burned off at the top on one side (burned garments is an Ottolinger staple) and tattered see-through lace tops and pants. Despite Ottolinger’s Margiela-esque knack for deconstruction, the duo’s annihilation of threads does not feel like it’s for shock value. Instead, Bosch and Gradient only think about their garments’ relationships to their own bodies. This collection reeked of sex from the half naked models to the propulsive and full-volumed harsh techno soundtrack. The Rapunzel length pony tails were only one of the many reasons I couldn’t stop staring at Ottolinger’s exceedingly hot women.

Vaquera Spring-Summer 2017

Vaquera designer Patric DiCaprio brought on his friends David Moses (formerly of Moses Gauntlett Cheng) and Bryn Taubensee effectively turning the label into a three-person show. Despite it no longer being the sole creative vision of DiCaprio, the Vaquera SS 2017 show felt like an organic building upon of ideas that DiCaprio has honed in label’s previous seasons (both Moses and Taubensee have worked on every Vaquera collection in some capacity).

Much of the label’s signatures remained: ruffles aplenty, big sleeves, revealing cuts, and Southern pastoral colors. DiCaprio also played with a “graduation” theme insinuating plans to take this small and cultish label to greater commercial success. There were lots of very played-out references in the collection, from the Rolling Stones to Che Guevara. It made sense, reminding one of the kid at your college dorm (perhaps it’s you or me even) that eschewed fraternity life for early experimentation in counter-cultural icons. Sense of humor abounds in Vaquera; but jokes aside this was a very ethereal and important collection from an exciting talent.

Thom Browne Spring-Summer 2017

Thom Browne strikes me as being to fashion what Phil Spector was to pop music. Like Spector, Browne uses imagination, ingenuity, and experimentation to create a conceptually interesting and commercially successfully formula. In that formula, there is room for endless re-invention and re-configuration.

Browne’s SS 2017 collection strayed from his most consistent formula of grey suiting, however, opting for experimental garments with unique function. The brightly colored and humorously printed dresses were designed to look like Browne’s signature suit and pants. Ever the witty showman, Browne’s women all entered the floor at once. Revealing the clothing’s multiple uses, the girls unzipped their pieces and stripped away layer by layer, revealing shirts and pants and finally swim suits. What I love about Thom Browne is his inventor qualities. Unlike fashion experimentalists Rei Kawakubo or Simone Rocha, Browne constantly introduces new inventions to his brand that have practical uses. This isn’t about art, it’s about clothing. It’s an ingenious application of creativity in the high-minded artistic atmosphere of the fashion world. Browne has more in common with Spector or Joy Mangano than he does Picasso or Yves.

Adam Selman Spring-Summer 2017

Adam Selman is one of New York’s most talked about designers. Part of that is due to his well-established connection to Rihanna (Selman has designed costumes for the star and his boyfriend, 032C style director Mel Ottenberg, is Rihanna’s stylist), but his ideas stand on their own and his label grows more interesting with each passing season. Selman lives in a solitary fashion world in which fashion is taken lightly and with humor but never with stupidity. It’s refreshing that one of New York’s most interesting designers seems in touch with being American: the Texan designer’s SS 2017 referenced country, rock n’ roll, and disco (with a disco soundtrack to boot). The show started off with a soft pink dress, and slowly the show took on similarly light fabric’d clothing in easy patterns and shapes. Selman also believes in the fashionista’s right to be sexy. That sentiment rang loud and clear with a t-shirt sporting a graphic sourced from a 1940s porn film, and was lightly hammered in with looks that revealed legs, waists, shoulders, and clavicles. The designer also nodded to his own Venice Beach-recalling style with a Hawaiian print shirt tucked into a pair of loose fitting denim jeans. Selman is a master editor. I’d be hard pressed to find any designer that can pack so many concepts and, yes, FUN into a 32-look show. 

Marc Jacobs Spring-Super 2017

Am I the only one that thinks that it seems like, culturally, Marc Jacobs has a lost a bit of his shine? Sure, you’d be hard pressed to find someone that says, “Marc Jacobs is a bad designer.” But since leaving Louis Vuitton, it appears that Marc is often spoke more of in terms of commercial designers like Ralph Lauren and Calvin Klein than he is radical conceptualists like Nicolas Ghesquiere, Raf Simons, or Rick Owens. That is a shame, because Jacobs’ real talent has always been marrying high and low culture and filtering it through a conceptually driven but commercially appealing brand. Just look at the David Sims campaign for his excellent, Salem Witch Trial-influenced Fall-Winter 2016 collection. In the campaign, massive pop stars and models like Cara Delevingne, Cher, and Anthony Keidis appear alongside ads with radical performance artist Kembra Phahler, Throbbing Gristle/Psychic TV frontman/lady and conceptual artist Genesis P. Orridge, and even the iconic Japanese noise/free improv/psych rock guitarist Keiji Haino (if you want your mind fucked a little, go seek out Haino’s band Fushitsusha from the ‘80s/‘90s). Marc features enough fame in the campaign to captivate pop junkies and also enough radical artists to capture the attention of, well, artists and radicals. Truly genius campaign for a beautiful, dark collection.

Jacobs’ Spring-Summer 2017 show wasn’t as good as the previous one, but still, very fucking good. The show took elements from ‘90s rave culture; the last great sendoff before the potential Trump presidency that could halt the party forever. The clothes were all glamorous and trashy, but chic, if that makes sense. Lots of metallic lamé, fur collars, and holographic sequins. The show worked less well when Marc infused his Marc by Marc Jacobs diffusion line into the main line; army jackets didn’t illuminate upon the collection’s theme. If I were him, I would use the show for his good Marc Jacobs shit, and do a buyers’ presentation for the Marc by Marc Jacobs line. British illustrator Julie Verhoeven, who worked with Marc way back in 2002 on a Lou Vuitton collection, applied her work to sweatshirts, shoes, and bags. But really, Jacobs is the great celebrator of fashion and pop culture’s interactions. He clearly loves music, but he is less attracted to sub-culture than he is the cult of the icon.

Side note: I’m getting really sick of fashion critics going after designers for diversity of casting, especially when the man they are going after is Marc Jacobs. It appears to be an effort to feel relevant when talking about the silhouettes of jumpers that nearly ever designer has become a target for social justice warrioring. Sure, Vetements does have a race problem. But MARC DOES NOT. His casting has always been diverse, so stop trying to make yourself feel important by counting the amount of women of color on the runway. Let’s discuss AESTHETICS. When race is an issue, it’s an issue, and we can discuss that when it’s absolutely relevant. But it is not an issue in the casting of Marc Jacobs.

Eckhaus Latta Spring Summer 2017

For their SS 2017 collection, the duo’s 10th, designers Mike Eckhaus and Zoe Latta brought it home. Opting to show the collection in the Lower East Side’s Seward Park, the SS 2017 show exemplified all that Eckhaus Latta has come to be known for in their leadership role over New York’s new fashion generation: strange romantic cuts, gender-blurring, diverse casting, and a soundtrack provided by this generation’s hero musician Dev Hynes. Showing the collection an arm’s distance from where the now five-year-old brand started was fitting, as this label is firmly on the rise after getting named to the Forbes 30 Under 30, expanding to e-commerce, and opening their first retail boutique. Emblematic of the brand’s evolution, this was the most product heavy of any Eckhaus Latta show to date. Opening with an oversized white denim jacket and long skirt, the show featured a ton of easy-to-wear pieces accented by just enough oddity to appeal to the artsy weirdo acolytes of the brand. There were tattered jeans, re-built dresses, knit smocks, and nylon material dresses that looked wet when the wearers moved. Always a patron of interesting artists, Los Angeles-based multi-disciplinary artist (and former musician who used to perform under the name Barr and was a fixture of infamous LA punk club The Smell, which was home to bands like No Age, Mika Miko, and Abe Vigoda) Brendan Fowler contributed work to the collection in the form of pieces made of recycled garments, all emblazoned with the slogan, “Election Reform!” (it appears that Mike, Zoe, and Brendan were feeling the bern). Eckhaus Latta is growing (Zoe admitted to Dazed that she was aghast when she found a Zara rip-off of one of her ideas priced at $8), but their homegrown attitude and that closeness to the youth-driven art scene of New York could allow them to grow with their audience (Alexandra Marzella, India Menuez, Petra Collins) the same way that Marc Jacobs did with his (Kim Gordon, Sofia Coppola).

Lyz Olko Spring-Summer 2017

Lyz Olko, formerly of the label Obesity & Speed, offered a break from the rapid speed of New York Fashion Week with her namesake’s SS 2017 NYFW debut. As opposed to the super fast in and out nature of runway shows, Olko invited some journos and friends down to Elvis Guesthouse in the Lower East Side. There, you could grab a highly potent mystery drink in plastic sippy cups labeled “Drink Me” and mingle with models hanging out and wearing Lyz Olko. The collection itself consisted of lots of rocker girl staples: see-through sequin tops, suede dresses, denim jackets, and a Jeanette Hayes-illustrated leather biker jacket. There wasn’t a lot of product, per se, but there was an attitude. The all-girl rock band Pretty Sick capped the night off with a performance while wearing the collection.

Telfar Spring-Summer 2017

“This is clothing,” said Telfar Clemens of his brand Telfar and its Spring-Summer 2016 collection.   Teller’s “basics minus gender with a twist” has been ripped off countless times. But its Telfar’s aesthetic that makes him special: clean, minimal, colorful, and carrying odd but functional garment quirks. As collections, his work is beautiful, and as individual pieces his garments are fascinating. Coming in a palette of what Clemens called “Old Navy” or “Martha Stewart" colors, Telfar warped wardrobe staples into his vivacious vision: polo shirts with the backs removed replaced by bra straps, cardigans with deep (very deep) V’s, track pants sliced at the knees, suit jackets missing sleeves (reminiscent of Raf’s mid-00s work actually). The sportier looks were increasingly strange: a male model strutted down the runway wearing a one-piece bathing suit that could also work as compression gear for the gym. Telfar captivates a similarly fashion-minded audience as Vetements but in many ways is the antithesis of Vetements. While Vetements is a brilliant experimentation in branding that reflects its audience’s consumption of culture through the clothing (a Vetements collection can reference ‘70s glam rock, Norwegian Black Metal, and Justin Bieber in the same collection while still remaining free of any cultural philosophy, allowing the audience to apply their own specific interests to the brand and make it work for them), Telfar is truly about the brilliance of clothing design. The only branding in this collection was Telfar’s beautiful logo printed small on a couple pieces. Telfar has a vision of the future that is free of hype and branding. Will this future ever come to fruition? No one knows, but no doubt the Telfar brand will continue to grow and embrace new garment ideas.

Pyer Moss Spring-Summer 2017

Pyer Moss designer Kerby Jean Raymond subverted the fashion senses of evil Wall Street fuckfaces like Patrick Bateman, Bernie Madoff, and Donald Trump in his brand’s Spring-Summer 2017 collection. Following the deaths of Philando Castile and Alton Sterling and others and potentially preceding the very election of one of those evil fuckfaces in Donald Trump, Raymond appears to be slyly tackling contemporary political discourse. Back in the days of Occupy Wall Street, the movement was constantly denounced as lazy, under-dressed, and incomprehensible hippies, largely due to their fashion aesthetics. Noreen Malone wrote for NY Magazine of this problem, believing that the movement could have gained more traction and respect had the protesters dressed for success. Raymond has proposed the ultimate protest wardrobe in this collection with a series of luxury office wear styled down in the way that artists and radicals like it: slouchy but beautiful double breasted blazers, cropped perfecto jackets, twill trousers with sippers from the hem to the knee, and Prada-recalling leather jackets with smartly placed bleach stains. The politically charged prints remained, with Madoff himself appearing on t-shirts, as did the brand’s knack for luxurious sportswear. But what remains strongest about Raymond’s vision is that Pyer Moss is aspirational to the max. No one could argue that you don’t look dressed up wearing his clothes. It is a brand for people looking to take their activism or art to a state of legitimacy: to play their game you have to look the part, but you can hold onto your individuality while doing so. 


[FASHION REVIEW] New York Fashion Week Round Two: The Good, The Bad and the Ugly

And so it continues. Save for a few massive outings from Alexander Wang and Givenchy and some surprisingly inventive collections from newcomers like Baja East, the first few days of NYFW are always a bit slower than the days to come. And then WHAM! It’s like your internet browser is getting assaulted Battlestar Galactica premiere style with the endless updates of amazing collections from the best fashion labels that the US has to offer. It feels like it’s been a particularly strong year, all things considered. Here is what I’ve liked. And by extension, what Autre has liked.

September 13


Edun designer Danielle Sherman is one of the few designers working that honestly can make the claim that she is applying an eco-conscious mindset to the highest levels of fashion. Other than Vivienne Westwood, there is nary a designer you could think of that is using environmental materials in collections that could be described as anything less than high fashion. It’s commendable, and the SS 2016 collection took cues from dance costumes of the Kuba Kingdom in Central Africa for an overall look that was bright and atmospheric.

The collection was minimal but rich. The models looked sexy as hell, as if the cuts of the garments revealed just the right amount of leg or neckline. Usually I find the models to be sexier in their day-to-day garb, as the collections are more about the designer’s statement than sexual stimulation. But even though the message was clear in Sherman’s collection, there was something assaultingly beautiful about the models’ looks in this show.


Designer Nicola Formichetti is not afraid to bend reasonable expectations of taste and his Spring 2016 collection proved no different. What was different is that he imagined what his art-damaged junkie punks would dress like if these people ever decided to get married. That’s right, there was a serious bridal aspect to this collection.

Formichetti is best known as artistic director for Diesel. While I don’t know if there are any sales figures supporting the notion that Diesel is on the up and up, it has at least given Formichetti the capital to offer some wildly avant-garde fashions under his Nicopanda label. While his work at Diesel usually features hyper-masculine tattoo dudes, his Nicopanda label has hyper-masculine tattoo dudes wearing oversized bomber jackets over a white dress. You tell me which label he has more fun with.

Opening Ceremony

Opening Ceremony’s sample sales are the two times of the year that I can afford to get a taste of the REALLY good stuff (at the last one I managed a Komakino camo oversized bomber jacket marked down from $1500 to $350, bung bung!) so I can’t help but feel indebted to them as a brand. But in reality, Opening Ceremony is so much more than a fashion label. Everything around the brand has become something of a safe place for the New York City creative community. Carol Lim and Huberto Leon are patrons of ALL of the arts, from Hollywood big wigs like Spike Jonze and Jonah Hill, to down and dirty rock n’ roll bands, to the ballet dancers that walked in the show for the Spring 2016 collection. Their influence on New York fashion cannot be understated. The influence for this collection was Frank Lloyd Wright’s daughter, who was a modern dancer, with her dad designing much of the sets that she danced upon. As such, the clothes were elegant, in subtle shades of beige, black and white, but loose and moveable. Subtle choreography allowed the garments to breathe and move, and garment-wise alone it was one of their best collections in seasons. Though I have never been overly enamored with their work at Kenzo, I’m happy to have Carol and Humberto serve as New York creative ambassadors to the world. Their world is tight-knit, but inclusive. Everyone’s allowed in (and with price points that are fairly accessible in terms of high fashion, you don’t need to go broke to sign up). Long live Opening Ceremony.

Let down of the day: Public School

As a young guy working in a creative field living in New York with a taste for high fashion and hip-hop, I’m supposed to be totally enamored with Public School. But I don’t get it. Their menswear collections have always looked like a cleaned up version of Yohji (cleaned up, in my opinion, means boring) and they are definitely still finding their footing in womenswear. Their inspiration for the SS 2016 collection was travel, the dullest of all fashion archetypes. The guys have a crazy knack for tailoring, and one wonders maybe if they’d be better off applying their tactile skills to something that ditched the street influences for something even more inaccessible. I am curious to see what they do for DKNY.

September 14:

Phillip Lim

I’ve always thought that in the way that Public School misses the mark for me, Phillip Lim totally nails it every time. He’s now been offering his accessible high-low mash-up for 10 seasons, and to celebrate his SS 2016 collection was presented with mounds and mounds of dirt dumped all over the runway. That dirt was, in fact, created by months of food compost thrown away by the 3.1 team.

The collection wasn’t mind-blowing, but it was totally Phillip Lim. Lim was pretty early on in the whole masculine attire re-conceptualized in a sexy, girlish way. These aren’t tomboyish clothes, even if a guy wouldn’t look particularly out of the ordinary wearing some of them. Sporty materials with floral prints, short shorts, baggy biker jackets, you know the drill. Good stuff.

Jeremy Scott

Man, I feel like I’m just rifling off the designers that one would expect me to rifle off, and I almost didn’t include Jeremy Scott because of this. I mean, between the documentary he has coming out, designing Katy Perry’s Superbowl looks (that surprisingly didn’t take second stage to her ever-famous bust), creative directing the ridiculous VMAs, and Moschino, he is everywhere. But moments like these are for a reason, generally, and Scott has become master of his own B-movie drenched, low culture-infused universe. His SS 2016 collection references Doo-Wop singers from the 1960s up from the extravagantly bright printed dresses to the Bee-Hive hairdos, and the men’s looks looked like a Saved by the Bell high school formal. These clothes will sell, and Jeremy will reign as king.

Can’t tell whether it’s good bad or bad good: Thom Browne

Thom Browne’s SS 2016 menswear collection shown in Paris caught a lot of flack for co-opting oriental culture without using enough Asian models. I can’t tell if there is a similar lack of over-sight going on in his SS 2016 womenswear collection. The models looked freakish, to be sure, with their black lipstick pursed into a small circle in the middle of their faces and hair pulled into demon horns sticking straight to the sky, but the clothes were interesting. As usual, there were a lot of suits, but there was crazy patchwork going on and wild prints. Browne has always made formalwear subversive and, yes, cool. He’s a fucking genius, yes. I just never know what to make of that genius. Maybe that’s the point.

September 15

Eckhaus Latta

Mike Eckhaus and Zoe Latta, of the prestigious Rhode Island School of Design, are a fashion label seemingly tailor made for us at Autre. Along with kindred brands like Gypsy Sport, Vejas, and a juggernaut like Hood By Air, Eckhaus Latta is churning out fashion that serves as a kind of conceptual art project just as much as it does a clothing manufacture. As a reaction to the fashion vanguard, or maybe not, there was no historical context to this collection. There was only an emotion: horniness.

These clothes, while minimal and chic, were racy. Elbows, thighs, knees, hips and other skin areas were properly displayed. And with Autre friends like Alexandra Marzella, Dev Hynes, Bjaarne Melgaard, and Julianna Huxtable, walking in the show, this was a sure thing to make the list. We love this brand.


Kate and Laura Mulleavy put on their best Rodarte show in seasons for the brand’s 2016 collection, equally informed by Emily Dickinson's poetry and Electric Light Orchestra's prog pop cheese (disclaimer, I love ELO).

The clothes looked really spectacular, to the point where they are hard to write about. But basically, if I saw a woman dressed like the models in this show, I’d be in love with her. Glam rock sparkles set to neon light, the cheesiness of the materials lent itself to an elevated romance. Rodarte is a master at taking things that could be cheesy, and yet comes off as not cheesy at all. Miguel was at the show, and his style could be read as Rodarte man if it existed: psychedelically conceptualized effortlessness.

Adam Lehrer is a writer, journalist, and art and fashion critic based in New York City. On top of being Autre’s fashion and art correspondent, he is also a regular contributor to Forbes Magazine. His unique interests in punk, hip hop, skateboarding and subculture have given him a distinctive, discerning eye and voice in the world of culture, et al. Oh, and he also loves The Sopranos. Follow him on Instagram: @adam102287