How the ‘Swans’ of New York and More Made Their Way Into the Fall 2024 Collections

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Before the fall collections begin down the runway at New York Fashion Week this Friday, WWD got a look at the inspirations behind the fashion. And already, some defining themes of the fall 2024 fashion season have emerged.

With a new show venue, New York City will come to the fore.

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The story of NYFW could be told just as easily by the show venues as by the shows themselves. Fall 2024 will mark a new chapter as the shows say goodbye to Spring Studios and move north and further west to Chelsea’s Starrett-Lehigh building.

Bach Mai will be among the first to break in the new digs, closing out the first day on Friday with a collection devoted to “La Dévoyée.” His late night time slot could heighten the drama of his show, following “a bourgeois woman’s descent into depravity,” he said. Starrett-Lehigh will also host Ludovic de Saint Sernin at 8 p.m. Sunday. Although his timeslot conflicts with Usher’s Super Bowl Halftime performance, the fashion crowd will surely turn up to witness the Parisian designer’s highly anticipated U.S. debut, featuring pieces from a jewelry collaboration with Tous, like the gold and enamel “X” earrings shown here.

“I’m very excited because for the first time ever, my collection will feature a line of fine jewelry that I’ve developed along[side] Spanish jeweler Tous.” — Ludovic de Saint Sernin
The “X” earrings from Ludovic de Saint Sernin’s jewelry collaboration with Tous.

Walking the same runway just hours beforehand, Area’s collection will give new meaning to see-now-buy-now with eyeballs used as its leitmotif. According to designer Piotrek Panszczyk, “eyes not only captivate but also symbolize the essence of viewership.” Though Sergio Hudson was less forthcoming on his reference point for the bionic-looking ensembles he previewed, what is known for sure is that he has solidified plans to show at Starrett-Lehigh one day later.

But with so many iconic New York landmarks and institutions to choose from, why stick to a home base? A few designers decided to break away.

Anna Sui is one of them, choosing the rare books room at The Strand to debut her collection inspired by Agatha Christie’s murder mysteries; while Christian Siriano is going sci-fi, touching down at The Plaza Hotel with a “Dune” theme. Also looking to the extraterrestrial, Monse’s Laura Kim and Fernando Garcia are planning to bring Area51 to Rockefeller Center for their next outing: “UFOs, CEOs and OOOs.”

A sketch inspired by Babe Paley for Badgley Mischka's fall 2024 collection.
A sketch inspired by Babe Paley from Mark Badgley and James Mischka.

Speaking of Rockefeller, Lafayette148 creative director Emily Smith took her cues from art patron and collector Blanchette Rockefeller for the brand’s first official presentation on the CFDA calendar. Manhattan’s highfalutin families are proving highly influential this season — a Guggenheim inspired Libertine’s Johnson Hartig, while the likes of Babe Paley and C.Z. Guest served as muses to Mark Badgley and James Mischka. Perhaps they were gearing up for Ryan Murphy’s second season of “Feud,” as any one of Truman Capote’s swan women would look ravishing in the white single-shoulder gown they shared with WWD ahead of the show. Funny enough, Jackson Wiederhoeft chose a drawing of an actual swan, but given his track record for satirical fashion, it’s doubtful he’ll take a socialite theme as literally.

Dennis Basso, no stranger to dressing the city’s 21st-century swans, depicted a couple of his latest evening creations promenading over the Brooklyn bridge because, “what better way to be inspired than a glamorous night on the town?” Elsewhere, Phillip Lim, Jonathan Cohen and Kobi Halperin were captivated by bright lights and the big city as well. But taking the biggest bite out of the big apple this season will likely be Tommy Hilfiger, who kicked off the creative process for his co-ed show by posing three questions: “If you had a New York minute, where and how would you want to spend it? What would you wear?” His answers to come at 8 p.m. Friday.

A teaser for Tommy Hilfiger's fall 2024 co-ed show.
A teaser for Tommy Hilfiger’s fall 2024 coed runway show.

Expect comebacks and vintage revivals galore.

While The Metropolitan Museum of Art’s Costume Institute gears up to mount its “Sleeping Beauties: Reawakening Fashion” exhibit in May, NYFW is gearing up to do some reawakening of its own, with some familiar names back on the schedule.

For starters, Derek Lam is returning to the industry as creative director for his husband’s brand, Câllas Milano. In a bid to give it a stronger identity, Lam will emphasize “structure and silhouette,” referencing the juxtaposition of architectural styles he encountered on a trip to Hamburg. And back from Paris where he showed last spring, Christian Cowan is gazing up at the stars for fall, just see the fabric swatch to accompany his quote from Plato. Also resurfacing is Spanish brand Delpozo, which hasn’t presented since 2017. This season will mark its 50th anniversary under new owners Enrique Mellado and Joaquin Trias who said they plan to go back to, “the codes of its founder who used fashion as a tool to sculpt the body and color as a way of building endless narratives.”

"We are excited to present a new vision for Delpozo, which celebrates it 50th anniversary this year, inspired by the codes of its founder who used fashion as a tool to sculpt the body and color as a way of building endless narratives.” - Enrique Mellado & Joaquin Trias.
A sketch from Enrique Mellado and Joaquin Trias reflecting their vision for Delpozo.

But it isn’t just the designers and brands making the comebacks — trends from decades gone by will, too.

Taking it the furthest back in time is Elena Velez who will recontextualize costumes from America’s reconstructionist period with inspiration from “Gone With the Wind.” Not as historical, but still vintage-inspired, Wes Gordon chose as his inspiration a striking profile shot of Carolina Herrera from 1979 — attending the Met Gala, no less — with her face obscured by gargantuan bow sleeves. An early adopter of the trend that would later become synonymous with ‘80s fashion, Herrera once professed to WWD, “when you sit at a table, what is most important is everything that can be seen from the waist up.” Gordon’s next collection will be the second in his three-part collection series retelling her life through style.

"Carolina." - Wes Gordon
Carolina Herrera attending the Met Gala in 1979.

Fast-forward a decade, Michelle Ochs looked to Hervé Léger’s sexy bandage dresses from the ‘90s; the sexy Raul Lopez is bringing back at Luar comes with a heady dose of early-2000s nostalgia, too. A photo of himself in 2003 wearing a white tank top with tinted shield sunglasses and a side-tipped hat was the starting point for his show, “Deceptionista,” which will be a meditation on metrosexuality.

Also kicking it old-school are Sandy Liang and Sally LaPointe, who both referenced junior-high motifs, and the Tanner Fletcher boys, who scoured flea markets and estate sales for their source materials, like lace and pinstripe wool.

Raul Lopez in 2003.
Raul Lopez in 2003.

Meanwhile, Puma went digging through archives of its own. The German brand will stage a runway show celebrating the reissue of its Mostro sneaker from 1999. The signature “low-profile,” design will extend to the apparel, explained global creative director Heiko Desens, by focusing on tight-fitted athletic uniforms.

While rediscovering an old favorite can certainly have its thrills, fashion thrives on new talent. This season’s debuts include Kazakh native Meruert Tolegen who’s hoping to offer “a moment of reflection, grounding and connection” during her first runway presentation. But as Michael Kors can attest, nothing beats a classic, and his name is one that never goes out of style. The designer, though prone to ‘60s and ‘70s references, submitted an inspiration image of a clock with the tagline: “Timeless.”

Valentine’s day will color the collections with romance.

This season, NYFW culminates with Valentine’s day and unsurprisingly, many of the city’s designers found themselves in the mood for love, sharing with WWD some pretty Hallmark-worthy sentiments.

A gestural sketch by Gabriela Hearst.
A gestural sketch by Gabriela Hearst.

Take, for instance, Gabriela Hearst, who waxed poetic, reciting a verse from ‘30s surrealist Leonora Carrington’s book of Tarot. Carrington may proclaim, “I don’t paint dreams,” but Hearst’s gestural sketch of what appears to be a drop-waist silhouette is definitely dreamy.

Henry Zankov made it obvious his love language is touch, submitting an image of his hand pressed against a window with the quote: “All I want to do is be with you.” Who he’s longing for is unclear, but his close friend and co-runner-up for last year’s CFDA/Vogue Fashion Fund, Rachel Scott of Diotima, shared a similar sentiment. She’s coming “lusciously undone” over something (or someone). And whatever Melitta Baumeister is feeling ahead of her first collection since being awarded the grand-prize winner, “this is deeper than all,” she assured.

Elsewhere, Kate Barton confessed her love for construction, as did Fforme designer Paul Helbers, who has been finding a sense of freedom in “the contrast of sculpting, draping and tailoring.” His experiments appear to be bearing very chic fruit, just see the artful sleeve in delicious bordeaux he previewed here.

A sleeve detail from Fforme's fall 2024 collection by Paul Helbers.
A sleeve detail from Fforme’s fall 2024 collection by Paul Helbers.

Call it the Ancora effect as other, V-day-ready reds — not unlike the one Sebato de Sarno made Gucci’s signature — appeared on a dress, a skirt and a jacket from Adeam, Aknvas and Ashlyn, respectively. Red is also the star color in Alexandra O’Neill’s picture from inside the Santuario della Consolata in Turin, where the Markarian designer fell head-over-heels for its wall of framed hearts.

It was the splendors of Belgium that caught Pamella Roland’s heart this season, while newcomer Jane Wade and Alejandra Alonso Rojas each professed their love for nature. The latter’s next collection will follow the changing seasons, going from the “vibrant hues of autumn leaves to the serene elegance of snow-covered landscapes.” Adam Lippes, celebrating his brand’s 10th anniversary, and Daniella Kallmeyer also found beauty playing in the snow.

The interiors of Willy Chavarria's friend's home.
The interiors of Willy Chavarria’s friend’s home.

Cozying things up, Willy Chavarria took things inside, looking to the warmth of home. The designer captured a few religious bric-a-brac belonging to his friend for an ode to “the love we carry with our families — both chosen and birth,” he said, while Kiev-based Svitlana Bevza chose the wheat berry as an ode to war-torn Ukraine. And the PH5 designers? They’re busy knitting an ode to the most humble of accessories: the scarf.

Such mundane objects can be a springboard for marvelous, innovative fashion. Tory Burch would know: she chose a simple silver Josef Hoffmann basket to symbolize her modus operandi this season: “making the everyday extraordinary.”


Launch Gallery: New York Fall 2024 Designer Inspirations

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