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New York Fashion Week AW16 Illustrated

New York Fashion Week Fall and Winter 2016 coincided with an arctic blast that enveloped the city. There couldn’t be a more appropriate climate in which to present fall and winter collections. After many years of being held in the iconic white tent sponsored by Mercedes Benz at Lincoln Center, this year the events were located in different official venues around Manhattan for the first time. The most fascinating location was New York City’s Central Post Office in Midtown, where the runway shows took place in an old docking space once used to load mail from the postal trucks. Once again I had the privilege to cover some of the events and found the whole experience even more exciting and energizing this year as the shows I attended were mostly by young designers, some more established than others, who brought to the plate, although not always successfully, nevertheless a fresh and stimulating approach to fashion.


RalphyPablo is a debuting new brand on the menswear scene, still on the fringe but full of potential. Street-wear meets classic Italian style with a romantic goth vibe is the attitude. Designed by Rafael Aguirre, his new collection included a fusion of luxurious classic pea coats worn with slim-fit, cropped wool trousers and white button down shirts. Silky scarves knotted around the neck completed a classic romantic look. A more street-wear-rock approach showcased wide-leg tweed trousers or Italian wool shorts, finished off with either bomber jackets or square-neck t-shirts and slit shoulder electric blue knit sweaters. I will keep an eye on this young designer and the group of creative people behind this brand and follow their achievements in the future.

Fashion Hong Kong 

A model wearing a bright silky suit with a print mimicking white marble walks down the runway, immediately capturing the attention of the audience. That’s how Harrison Wong chose to open his show at New York Fashion Week, an unexpected surprise since strong and dramatic pieces were used for its close. Harrison Wong is a young successful prizewinning designer from Hong Kong, and his new FW Collection is very appealing and marketable for the urban male. Seen on the runway were bombers and warm finely quilted coats in classic colors ranging from navy blue to bright turquoise with surprising sinuous draped sleeves. Silky hooded overcoats with prints reminiscent of sumptuous dark marble were paired with long shirts and trousers. Not following precise rules, these trousers spanned from short large leg over the calf, to skinny leg, to large at the waist pleated pants. 1940’s inspired hats completed the effect of this sophisticated 'Stone Lines' collection inspired by the organic texture of mother earth.

Zang Toi 

The former enfant prodigy, who exploded on the fashion world in the early 1990’s, presented his new FW 2016-17 collection of ladieswear at New York Fashion Week. His impeccably structured signature suits were naturally the highlight of the show, but Mr. Toi surprisingly snuck onto the ladies’ runway a couple of menswear pieces. The first was a black and gray silk sportswear quilted vest adorned with a luxurious fox fur collar over an impeccable warm wool jersey track suit. The second apparition, shown later in the show as a counterpart to a wedding-like gray gown, was a sumptuous black brocade cut-away evening blazer with velvet vest and gray trousers. This fun ensemble was humorously topped with a top hat.

Asia Fashion Collection 

Asia Fashion Collection invited designers from Japan, Korea, Taiwan, and Hong Kong to compete to win tickets to debut and showcase their collections at New York Fashion Week. AFC refers to itself as an 'incubator' aimed at discovering fresh new talent from Asia. Among the six winners, at least half of them presented menswear designs in their collections in New York this season. 

Kurt Ho - Perhaps the most experimental among the winners, Mr. Ho presented a cohesive collection that favored the tones of gray/tope, white, and black, composed of fluid silky oversized coats in different lengths, layered over asymmetrical shirts and vests and paired only with knee length baggy shorts with peculiarly low crotches. He also dared to present jumpsuits cut below the knee. Ribbon like appendices and long tails were flowing playfully underneath jackets and coats, completing the overall Ho look. 

(A)crypsis - This brand was founded in 2014 by Chang Yi-Hung and Shen Tzu-Chun, two designers from Taiwan. Their collection is decisively more marketable than the one presented by Kurt Ho, the designs being very sportswear oriented with hooded oversized waterproof coats layered over long shirts and sweaters of different lengths. Baggy cargo pants or shorts with generous pockets completed the presentation. 

ZokuZokub - For his brand, ZokuZokub, Japanese for thrilling and beautiful, designer Takuma Hoshi was inspired by classic Japanese graphics and architecture. However, the flavor of the collection Mr. Hoshi presented on the runway was a little school-project-like. His heavy black leather tops stitched with red thread or inlayed with traditional ethnic images indeed have architectural textures, but the overall feel is of an uncomfortable rigidity. Baggy shorts cut below the knee in classic Japanese prints are fun, but I found the final result of this collection a little too contrived.

Best of Serbia 

Bata Spasojevic was the crown jewel of the small group of designers from Serbia who presented during New York Fashion Week 2016. Perhaps because Mr. Spasojevic is from chilly Serbia, his uncompromising urban-street collection fully embraced the wintery aspect of his seasonal designs. With a variety of heavy leather coats lined with fur and warm wool tweeds with dark leather accents, his models in menacing postures powerfully walked down the runway, their legs tightly wrapped in dark leather pants. Punctuated by live electronic percussion and even street tappers, Mr. Spasojevic’s presentations owned the otherwise disappointing evening.

*Illustrations also by Stefano Imbert


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