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NYFW F/W 2020 Designers Showcase Futuristic Inspiration

Marc Jacobs

Marc Jacobs never fails to cap off New York Fashion Week with a bang, and this collection was no exception. The show at the Park Avenue Armory began with a performance from dancer and choreographer Karole Armitage, which ushered in a crew of dancers in Marc-designed bras and hot pants or skirt sets. Then Jacobs went back to basics, literally. A collection more evocative of old school Marc—mod clothing like simple A-line coats and mini shift dresses—walked the runway. Miley Cyrus joined the ranks later on in the show with a simple black bra and trouser, and there were displays of statement dressing inspired by American fashion icons, like Jackie O and Audrey Hepburn, who was interpreted in a sultry Breakfast at Tiffany’s version by Bella Hadid for an evening look. It seems that between artfully crafted evening wear and easy options for day, Jacobs fans both old and new will have much to covet come Fall.

Marina Moscone

This just in: Marina Moscone is not a minimalist. It seems that we’d mistaken her sharp tailoring, which still sits at the core of the brand’s DNA, with a completely understated aesthetic, but her Fall 2020 show drove home her many facets. A brocade suit, some sexy options for evening, leopard print, and an array of animal-printed fringe gowns for evening that closed the show were just some of the signs of her not-so-minimalist leanings, but the suiting still stood out, as did the plush outerwear. 

Michael Kors Collection

Equestrian vibes have been all over the New York Fashion Week runways, but they are nothing new to Michael Kors. The all-American supernova has been dabbling with great-outdoors themes throughout his career, and this season he hearkened back to them but stretched their masculine and feminine sides. Kors showcased men’s and women's wear versions of almost the same head-to-toe looks, and there was not a high heel to be found on his runway. There were, however, looks that looked back to some of his career’s best looks, like a red and camel poncho look donned by Kaia Gerber, and some fresh takes on tailoring that felt like a continuation of classic Kors themes. For evening, riding boots and knitwear were paired with pleated lamé gowns. While this season felt more like a continuation and an evolution on the past for Kors than something brand new, we’re buying everything he is selling come Fall 2020. 

Prabal Gurung

Black might always be the first thing one thinks of in connection with New York style, but there is so much more than that. New York City women love fashion truly and embrace madcap flights of fancy better than any other tribe around the globe. Prabal Gurung declared his fall 2020 collection a love letter to the city and packed it with silhouettes and prints that capture eccentric glamour. Standouts: light-as-air feathers that covered a jacket for movement bottling the energy of Manhattan and luxuriously folded taffeta that built for a perfectly disheveled peplum. From suits to gowns, everything one needs for a New York moment was there.


Rodarte would be forgiven for tacking a sign to the door that said, “Minimalists, go home.” Kate and Laura Mulleavy have never been afraid of dramatic maximalism, and for their return to New York Fashion Week, they turned the dial up to 11. It was a fashion fantasyland with spangles, spiderwebs, garlands of blooms and billowing trains. Even the most subdued pieces were hardly that, including retro-inspired suit jackets and dresses. Though not a collection one could call wearable, that is hardly the point. Fashion like this is intended to make us dream. 


Beyond Debbie Harry and Blondie’s surprise performance, there was a lot to pay attention to on the Coach runway. Colors, fabrics, extreme layering, stripes on stripes. It was an intentional sensory overload. Creative director Stuart Vevers envisioned a downtown art scene from the ‘80s while working, and he succeeded in bringing the various members of that tribe to life. Striped separates would help an abstract painter camouflage errant paint, while crisp lapels and pleated trousers surely belong to the person with aspirations to become an art dealer. It was not all imaginary characters either. The brand collaborated with Jean-Michel Basquiat’s estate on a series of limited-edition pieces. 

Vera Wang

Per the show notes for Vera Wang’s fall collection, there was boudoir and body, but also a bit of bondage via leather harnesses and straps. Another B-word to add to the list: bubblegum, as shown by the brights she mixed in among her standard noir. It was a study in scale, too, as layered, tucked, and draped tulle floated behind models as they walked. Thigh-high socks with platform sandals made legs appear endlessly long, and oversized outerwear was made to look even larger by wooly trims and hand-hiding sleeves. While tiered tulle gowns spared nothing when it came to volume. 

Gabriela Hearst

One gets the feeling that Gabriela Hearst pulled from all parts of her life when putting together her fall 2020 collection. Fringe, tawny suede and richly woven fabrics all belong on the Uruguayan ranch where Hearst grew up. It is easy to imagine her spending childhood hours studying similar styles, absorbing their inherent glamour while waiting for the day she would become a “grown-up.” The sleekness of her adulthood in New York City is represented by beautifully cut coats, chic dresses, and off-the-shoulder cashmere. Every designer approaches the idea of sustainability differently, too, and Hearst’s take is to look to the past. Hand-painted designs turn leather coats and accessories into pieces that will be kept for generations, and Manos Del Uruguay, a nonprofit cooperative of female artisans, did much of the knitting. Style plus substance, truly.


While some names flash and burn out quickly, others track steadily upward. Khaite’s Catherine Holstein decidedly belongs in the latter camp, and Fall 2020 confirmed that we will continue to hear Khaite on the lips of cool girls everywhere for years to come. The newest collection presented as a tale of two women. The first, embodied by opener Bella Hadid, has images of Mick Jagger dancing in her head, a sprinkling of louche fairy dust in her back pocket, and a mood board tacked with ruffles, animal prints and hot pants. The second? A modern swan borrowing sartorial elements from gilded ‘80s wardrobes (think tulle, ruched taffeta, dropped waists, and puffed shoulders). Holstein does not make us pick a side either. Elements from both were mixed together to show that it is possible to have your cake and eat it too. After all, what’s more modern than being impossible to categorize?

Oscar de la Renta

A night at the museum—or rather, the New York Public Library—drew fashion’s It-crowd at almost-10p.m. on a Monday night for Oscar de la Renta’s Fall 2020 collection. Had it been a weekend, it would have been just the right time for a party—and rightly so, given Laura Kim and Fernando Garcia’s quick transition from tailored, high day wear to a display of party frocks. Crystals, beaded fringe, feathers and full skirts were just a few of the dance-floor ready details on show. Highlights included the finale feathered looks, donned by Cara Taylor and Bella Hadid, and riffs on Scarlett Johanssen’s draped, corseted Oscars gown of beaded fringe. For those longing for the de la Renta DNA, that also came in droves—mostly in the form of gathered taffeta skirts on bodices, fishtails and high-low ballgowns. 

Proenza Schouler

Many of the looks at Proenza Schouler’s Fall 2020 show were a bit askew, whether it was a jacket falling off the shoulder or an asymmetrical bodycon, cut-out dress. Jack and Lazaro were not afraid of a little sex appeal this season, leaning into little frocks made for after dark. Those glittering creations walked alongside cool suiting, and a multitude of scarf details—strewn over the shoulder or billowing behind a leather slip dress. All of it was topped off by giant bags, fitted over-the-knee boots and white sandals—all the better to make an entrance.

Carolina Herrera

Carolina Herrera’s Fall 2020 collection debuted at the newly opened The Shed in Hudson Yards, a glass-walled bit of modernity in the middle of the city. Creative Director Wes Gordon’s designs, however, contrasted nicely with so much glass and steel—these were soft, pretty things for ladies who aren’t in too big of a hurry to get anywhere. From sheer lace whites to bold, voluminous gowns in blues and all shades of yellow, from golden to lemon. A black column gown was a bit more austere, but nonetheless lovely. Flat lace-up brogues accompanied many of the looks for another bit of contrast. It was an assured collection that was a lesson in balances.

Jonathan Simkhai

Simkhai was inspired by the photographer Julius Shulman for his fall offering—Shulman shoots architecture on the West Coast. It is a bit of a love story to L.A., Simkhai’s home base after so many years in NYC. This translated to tailored pieces, like trench coats, jumpsuits and suiting. These pieces gave way to softer fare, silk dresses in scarf prints with fringe inspired by Simkhai’s family heritage in Iran before the 1979 revolution. There was also a collection of knits, from dresses to sweater sets. All quite personal and very wearable.


Zimmermann’s show notes announced the brand’s dedication to helping Australia recover from recent wildfires. The brand is inherently Aussie, showcasing that laid-back seaside vibe so many Sydney natives share. The fall offering was a bit less boho beach girl and a bit more tailored, with bold, printed suiting. There were ruffles upon ruffles and a poncho for those chilly Indian summer nights.

Jason Wu Collection

Jason Wu knows his way around a pretty look for a special occasion, and his secret garden of frothy, feathered frocks will not disappoint romantics looking for an uptown polish, or some downtown edge. In an industrial space adorned with an overgrown Dutch Masters-inspired garden, Wu sent his legion of socialites, suits, and party girls down the runway with unique finishes like hand-drawn florals and quilting. Come the Fall/Winter gala circuit, lovers of all things ladylike and ultra-femme should add Wu to their wish lists.

Tory Burch

There is nothing like a cup of coffee and a visit to a gallery on a lazy Sunday morning in New York. And while a New York Fashion Week Sunday morning is anything but lazy, Tory Burch welcomed attendees to her show at Sotheby’s with a cup of piping hot Sant Ambroeus brew and an art-meets-fashion show. Sculptures by artist Francesca DiMattio, 11 of them to be exact, scattered the runway, serving as the backdrop to Burch’s latest array. The designer describes DiMattio’s work as pieces that “imbue the decorative with strength and power.” Expectedly, Burch’s collection did the same, softening the power of suiting with more fluid cuts, and smattering wear-to-work dresses with DiMattio’s ladylike prints. 

Christopher John Rogers

There has not been a new, true evening designer of note out of New York in recent memory, and Christopher John Rogers is staking his place in the realm of taffeta and full skirts. The CFDA/Vogue Fashion Fund winner is here for the drama, turning out a collection of boldly hued suits, glimmering column dresses, and truly voluminous gowns for ladies who want to make a statement on the black-tie circuit. From his head-turning collection to his pirouette on the runway, we want to watch pretty much everything this designer has to offer. 

Tom Ford

The fall 2020 season did not actually kick off at NYFW. Instead, Tom Ford stayed close to home to showcase his latest in Los Angeles—complete with a star-studded front row that included Jon Hamm in a silver suit. But onto the runway, where full glamour was on display for Oscars weekend, with a little grit by way of patchwork jeans, sweatsuits, and logo tees thrown in for the Chateaux Marmont crowd. What really brought down the house, however, was Bella Hadid in a sheer sequined dress that looked to be tied onto her body with velvet—and just as easily removed. If there has ever been a designer who understands the power of suggestion, it’s Mr. Ford.


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