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highlights from New York Fashion Week

From designs inspired by America’s industrial Midwest to evocations of a childhood in Spain, AFP looks at the some of the highlights from New York Fashion Week so far.

– Ship captain –

Elena Velez wowed with designs evoking the Rust Belt image of her home city of Milwaukee, Wisconsin, including a pleated gold dress that incorporated two stained-glass discs.

Her collection alternated between the elegant — a beige jumpsuit in brushed cotton with long gloves and matching boots — and the less classic: a dress held together by a multitude of cords.

“I’m from the Midwest. It’s not New York, it’s not Los Angeles, it’s not Paris, and is kind of not really considered in American fashion,” said the 28-year-old designer, named emerging talent of the year in 2022 by the American fashion union (CFDA).

She told AFP she was inspired by her mother, a ship captain on the Great Lakes. 

“She’s somebody who is assertive and prioritizes functionality over perfection, and just really lives with the urgency to live life, in a way that feels very romantic and very feral in a way,” said Velez.

– Celebrating ‘imperfection’ –

American Tory Burch pushed on with the reinvention she began a few seasons ago.

Her new collection, presented in a former bank branch, was made up of imposing silhouettes, far from the bohemian lightness that usually characterizes her designs. They featured lots of satin, wool and leather.

She told AFP she wanted to celebrate “imperfection” and women not having to be “restricted” by rules.

“I wanted to think about challenging the concept of traditional femininity and beauty,” said Burch, who will celebrate the 20th anniversary of her fashion house next year.

– Sheets and shirts –

Young designer Alejandro Gomez Palomo chanelled his childhood memories in Spain for his Fall/Winter 2023 collection, using sheets and his father’s large shirts.

He made colorful, embroidered coats from the towels he wrapped himself in as a child and turned tracksuit fabrics into a sophisticated suit.

A coat in the shape of a duvet, or rather a duvet in the shape of a coat, was the star of the 30-year-old’s show. 

“We don’t live in the 19th century anymore, where it was decided that men had to wear suits. Why can’t men wear a skirt or a dress?” he told AFP.

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