New York Fashion Week kicked off last Thursday and now we're at a halfway point (three more days left to go!). So many things have happened—from presentations in empty swimming pools to runway shows with performance art—that it's hard to keep track of everything. So, we've rounded up the nine coolest things that have happened on the runways in the past week: early 2000 trends making a comeback, diversity in size, men in heels, designers tackling social issues and more .
Chromat is known for celebrating women's bodies by accentuating their best assets in an innovative way—like wearable architecture. Designer Becca McCharen, according to the Huffington Post, counts powerful women as part of the inspiration behind her designs. So, it was no surprise last season when McCharen sent plus-size model Denise Bidot down the runway. This season, Chromat included two curvy models in their Spring 2016 runway show—bringing back Bidot, and adding Sabina Karlsson.
Chokers are back, specifically tattoo chokers, and so are denim mini-skirts (see: Rihanna here and here). Other trends resurfacing and showing no signs of leaving: satin and velvet, crop tops, denim everything, Jerseys (see: Beyonce), and Timberlands. Basically, the early 2000s are slowly seeping back into our lives. It was only a matter of time before low rise pants made a comeback; the Spring 2016 runways are giving them a chic upgrade, swapping out thongs for bodysuits.
Need more proof that the early 2000s are making a comeback? Look no further than the Spring 2016 runways which are carrying the dress-over-pants trend from the Spring 2015 runways at shows like Chanel, The Row and Rag & Bone. Public School, Rosie Assoulin, Dion Lee, Rachel Comey and more have all featured this layering option in their presentations and shows. Public School put a spin on the traditional suit by opting out of a shirt and adding a dress under a blazer instead. Rachel Comey played with textures and added a velvet trouser under a lightweight wrap dress.
Opening Ceremony is known to ditch the traditional runway show idea—for their Spring 2015 show the brand put on a stage play. And this season, instead of a normal strut down the runway they partnered with New York City ballet choreographer Justin Peck and the models (who were also from the New York City ballet) broke into dance.
Women weren't the only ones that Hood by Air designer Shayne Oliver sent down the runway in heels: The male models in his show were also strutting in black and white platform heels with large "Air" cutouts. Hood by Air continues to push gender boundaries.
New York Fashion Week is as much of a time for up-and-coming designers to shine as it is for established designers. These are some of my favorite first-timers (and ones to watch) this season: CDFA/Vogue Fashion Fund finalist Aurora James, of the African sourced accessory line Brother Vellies—who had Kanye stop by her presentation to show his support. Han Chong, of the laser-cut and lace heavy clothing line Self-Portrait, who has gained success from his social media presence and appeals to celebrities like Beyonce and Kirsten Stewart. Fernando Garcia and Laura Kim, formerly of Oscar de la Renta, of the clothing line Monse, that's adding its own spin on classics like the white shirt. And lastly, Beckett Fogg and Piotrek Panszczyk of the two-year-old clothing line A-R-E-A.
Three designers sent models with face embellishments down the runway. Givenchy's Riccardo Tisci expanded on his beautifully crafted face mask from the Fall 2015 collection and sent models with ornate face jewels down the runway. Dion Lee's models walked with a customized minimal metal "face separator," highlighting the bionic aspect inside the everyday woman. Eliminating the strenuous "pluck my uni-brow" beauty routine, Baja East featured models with rhinestones in the middle of their foreheads.
Designer Misha Nonoo skipped both the presentation and the runway for her eponymous label and decided to show her Spring 2016 collection on Instagram, which, if you think about it, saved her a ton of money (she donated to the non-profit organization Women for Women) and allowed her to reach more people. Nonoo also had a handful of friends who happen to be celebrities (Lena Dunham) and fashion editors (Harper's Bazaar editor Laura Brown) wear some of the clothing from her collection and post photos on Instagram.
Both Prabal Gurung and Givenchy opened their show with the chanting of monks. For Gurung, the monks were chanting gratitude to the audience for their donations to Nepal during the aftermath of the April 2015 earthquake. Gurung's entire collection was inspired by his childhood in Nepal. For Givenchy (which fashion critics Robin Givhan and Cathy Horyn wrote beautiful reviews of the collection), the monks were chanting to remind the audience to be present in the moment. Tisci used his show to pay tribute to the anniversary of September 11th. Last week, Pyer Moss' Kerby Jean-Raymond used his Spring 2016 show to promote awareness of police brutality. All of these fashion shows prove that designers can use their clothing to make a statement beyond what to wear, and have a voice in the bigger issues facing society.
Tahirah Hairston is a style writer from Detroit who likes Susan Miller, Rihanna's friend's Instagram accounts, ramen and ugly-but cute shoes.