What’s with the unfussy, easy vibe in New York? Could it be the upcoming elections? Could it be the sweltering heat of the summer? Or could it just be designers deciding that there’s a lesser need for all the frou-frou fashion they’ve been dishing out in seasons past?

Zac Posen, for example, showed more relaxed clothes and fabrics than usual: There were jacquard booty shorts on his runway. Stiff taffeta’s were traded for organza. The emphasis this season was on day wear and transparency. Gowns with anatomic seaming traded places with motocross jackets. Flat sandals grounded every look.

Also in a relaxed mood this season was Carolina Herrera. To celebrate her thirty-fifth year in business, she thought to make her collection less pristine, formal, and proper. The opening look was a corseted denim ball gown. It goes against everything Herrera stands for, but it was very much her. Flat shoes were the shoes of choice.

It is no news that the Oscar De La Renta label just hired the duo at Monse, Fernando Garcia and Laura Kim, as co-creative directors, but for this season, the studio team created the collection. It was a respectful presentation that honored the designer who designs mainly for park avenue princesses. Oscar signatures like knit skirt suits, Safari jackets, and cocktail frocks were paraded.

Following the exit of David Neville at Rag & Bone, Marcus Wainwright re-visited the aesthetic of the house we’ve become familiar with: British public school vibe, motocross jackets, and the nonchalance of the 90’s. It made up for a collection that was inevitably season-less.

Fashion’s favourite scientists Jack McCollough and Lazaro Hernandez of Proenza Schouler delivered their most fun and colorful collection to date. That is not to say the clothes were any less technical: clingy rib-knit dresses and sweaters with peephole bodices, checkered tops made from glued-together ostrich feathers, jackets reminiscent of Dior’s iconic ‘Bar’, and striped dresses that were woven from leather.

Theatrics are still part of Thom Browne‘s DNA. The models on his runway looked like stepford housewives in the sixties, with their ‘done’ hair and pastel colored outfits. But the genius of Browne’s clothes lies in the theatrics: those suits were actually trompe l’oiel sheaths created via intarsia and seam detailing.

Also looking to the past was Phillip lim of 3.1 Phillip Lim, who cited Victorian bathing suits as inspiration. They were inspiration for just some of the looks that consisted of print bra tops and shorts shrugged with a cool leather or sleeveless jacket, but they ended up looking more 90’s than anything, thanks to the urbanity of Lim’s hands.

Jeremy Scott took the naive approach of yore to futurism. It birthed eighties-inspired color-blocked frocks with an injection of sex via patent leather and S&M detailing.

This might be the DKNY collection that perfectly merged the New York attitude of the storied label to the street but sport-inflected charge of Dao-Yi Chow and Maxwell Osborne. Futurism met sport, and sport met street, and street met dystopia, and dystopia met New York. Their best effort for the Donna Karan New York line yet.

Maybe fashion is realizing that the need for conceptual clothes has become less and are listening to what buyers actually want to wear. But as we approach London fashion week, it is probably to early to speak. Let’s just hope that all the talk of see-now-buy-now actually makes sense, and that in the following weeks, the voice of fashion screams one thing: wear-ability.

Author: Kayito Nwokedi