Every Single New York Fashion Week Show Included a Model of Color
For the first time ever, every single show at New York Fashion Week included a model of color on the runway. Strides were made too for plus-size and transgender models.
This past New York Fashion Week was full of political statements, but the biggest sign of progress might not have been so evident at first.
Amidst the statement tees, Planned Parenthood-endorsing pink buttons, and white bandanas, something momentous—and not to mention long overdue—happened: every single show featured a model of color on the runway.
That’s according to the fashion statistics obsessives over at The Fashion Spot, who’ve been track of runway demographics for several years now. Last season all but one show, The Row, had featured at least one model of color, but Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen finally caught up with the times and helped make the season a perfect showing.
Overall, 31.5 percent of models who walked the major Fall 2017 runways were minorities. That’s slightly up from the season before, but still a dip from the all-time high of 31.9 percent achieved for Fall 2016.
Though, encouragingly, six of the top ten most booked models this season were minorities, including Jamaican model Alicia Burke and Nigerian model Mayowa Nicholas.
The data also paints the past New York season as something of a breakout for plus-sized models on the runway. There were 26 instances of plus-sized women in shows this season, including, notably, ten at Christian Siriano. Ashley Graham, one of Vogue‘s current cover models, also had her most prestigious runway moment ever as a model for Michael Kors (in turn, it was the first time Kors had cast a model over size 12).
The Fashion Spot also points out that there were eight transgender models who walked the runway this season, the same as the previous two seasons, but for some reason doesn’t account for the three trans models who walked for Marc Jacobs (transgender male model Casil McArthur also walked at Jacobs, but the statistics only include female models). So it’s also possible this was a notable season for trans models as well.
There are of course still strides to be made in the name of runway diversity (the number of models who are over 50, for example, fell from last season), but the fact that all-white casts hopefully seem to be a thing of the past (in New York, at least) is still huge news.
In fact, exactly ten years ago during the Fall 2007 runway shows, precisely one-third of the major fashion shows during New York Fashion Week lacked models of color.
The Best of New York Fashion Week Fall 2017
Jacobs was inspired by the documentary Hip-Hop Evolution, and his fall collections melded Marc-isms and touches of 90s era hip-hop style. His inspiration came through loud and clear in this Jenny from the block fur hoodie and baggy pant.
Kors offered up many a dress with animal spots and fringe, but a favorite look was not as loud – this undone blouse and calf-grazing leather skirt was a classic and chic.
LRS, a young label designed by Raul Solis, is one of W’s New York Fashion Week designers to watch. A favorite look was a white military-inspired trench coat that can be deconstructed and reconstructed with buttons, allowing the wearer to create different silhouettes and shapes.
The denim label continues to offer up the coolest and most covetable denim. It just so happens that their ready-to-wear separates are just as enticing. Every woman should have a leather trench in her closet, and this one will be snapped up by fans of the brand come fall.
Rojas is the recent recipient of Fashion Group International’s rising star award, and with this fall collection, she proved that she is one to watch. An oversized tuxedo jacket and wide leg pant looked easy-to-wear and not so precious, exactly what a woman in charge needs in her daily wardrobe.
Kanye West launched denim at his Calabasas collection, in a stonewashed blue and black. A slightly baggy denim jacket worn as a shirt and tucked into jeans that purposefully bunched at the ankle is a new denim silhouette to consider.
Aussie label Zimmermann is well-loved for their day summer party dresses. Now, for Fall 2017 they’ve shown us how to wear that dress in the winter – by throwing on their shearling, in a subtle peach shade that perfectly matches their pretty florals.
Season after season, Brandon Maxwell presents a parade of red carpet-ready eveningwear that harkens back to a far more glamorous era. Imaan Hammam closed the designer’s fall design in a truly gorgeous green gown matched with a jade fur jacket.
Inspired by Katharine Hepburn’s character in The Philadelphia Story, Tory Burch showed a collection of impeccably detailed pieces, including an especially luxe mixed fur coat worn over a prim plaid dress.
For her first runway show, Gabriela Hearst hosted an intimate soiree of chic, wardrobe staples done in muted colors. An iridescent eggplant-hued dress was a standout.
Coach’s Stuart Vevers continues to move the storied house well into the future–this time, with help from a front row appearance by Selena Gomez–with floaty floral dresses and cool shearlings the brand has become known for.
Narciso Roriguez’s runway is always a zen moment in the chaos of New York Fashion Week. This season, the designer showed languid, elegant pieces, including this edgy take on the jumpsuit.
Lineisy Montero walked in a black velvet one shoulder dress that was dripping in crystals. A highlight of Fernando Garcia and Laura Kim’s debut at Oscar de la Renta, place your bets now on who will wear this number to the Oscars at the end of the month.
There is so much to love about this collection, but a gown made of fabric that Assoulin created using dried flowers and metallic star stickers beloved by elementary schoolers was most charming. Assoulin also created her own shoes, and enlisted a potter to help create miniature ceramic jug earrings.
Mrs. Herrera herself often wears a crisp, white, button down, and it is always a pleasure when these work their way into her collections. For fall, a white peter pan collared peplum button down was paired with a crisp white pleated skirt. A simple black ribbon bow tied at the neck finished off the look. For those of us who may never find themselves wearing one of Mrs. Herrera’s evening gowns, this is a covetable daytime alternative.
Shane Gabier and Chris Peters’ best looks of their fall outing were when they deconstructed the fur jacket. By taking the floral lining from the inside out – and adding a few crystals along the way – they created a way to wear fur that felt modern and vintage at the same time.
Lacoste’s sporty separates and outerwear was exactly what a freezing and windblown fashion crowd were covering. The loose fitting cargo pant done in a lightweight windbreaker fabric could easily be worn with a chic pump – a nice high low mix for the usually utilitarian cargo pant.
Lippes had a huge sign on the fence of his Washington Square Park North brownstone, and that sign declared his support for Planned Parenthood, which mere footsteps away, was holding a rally. Despite the uncertain times we live in, and of which many fashion designers have been responding to, Lippes did what he does best–beautiful clothes in charming florals, including this fringed Liberty print dress.
Who doesn’t need a stone-washed black denim oversized coat? Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen turned out impeccable coats for their fall collection, and many secured shut with chic tone-on -tone belts. This denim coat felt young and easy.
Ryan Roche held her first runway show this season, and the clothes warranted it. Her tailoring was perfect, the fabrics luxurious. It was difficult to choose a favorite – a cream knit dress styled over a slouchy knit pant was a contender – but this red suede trench won out.
Fernando Garcia and Laura Kim’s Monse line stayed true to its developing DNA – shirting, deconstruction, military/utilitarian touches. The finale featured a handful of chic red-carpet looks – a favorite of which was a blue and yellow ‘paint splattered’ sequin dress.
One of W’s designers to watch this season, Piotrek Panszczyk and Beckett Fogg are known to enjoy using Swarovski crystals in their work. For their runway debut, they used them to mimic a woman’s curves on this burgundy jumpsuit. While not everyone will dare to wear this number, the duo also did a sweatshirt version which we can easily see on the likes of Bella Hadid or any insta-girl.
Joseph Altuzarra proved he truly is fashion’s renaissance man with a fall collection that mixed old-world techniques with a true sense of modernity.
Jonathan Saunders continued to unveil his new vision for the legendary brand with colorful, joyful pieces that felt both totally modern and completely DVF.
Simkhai adorns his clothes with crystals, and feathers, but he won with this floaty, easy sheer dress. However, the audience’s favorite look seemed to be the one the designer himself wore – a t-shirt that read, “Feminist AF.”
Tome’s exceptional fall collection was inspired by the anonymous all-female art coalition, Guerrilla Girls, cleverly manifested in furry outerwear that took on the appearance of an ultra-luxe, well, gorilla.
Victoria Beckham made the notion of school uniforms ultra-chic, pairing classic blazers with floaty chiffon skirts and structured bags.
Once again, J.Crew’s Jenna Lyons presented her collection on “real” models–editors, artists, etc.–but with a collection full of wardrobe-building pieces, the focus remained fully on the clothes which erred on the playful side thanks to polka dots and plenty of leopard print.
Once again, Sies Marjan’s Sander Lak showed incredible mastery with bright hues, the most sensational being a cool, mint hue, shown on a model with hair to match.
Prabal Gurung’s feminist t-shirt filled finale nearly broke Instagram, but his slinky, sequined evening dresses were just as note-worthy, not to mention completely red carpet ready.
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