Cushnie et Ochs displayed the same side-cut-out dress we've been seeing for the past year but threw in a little splash of galaxy print that has been over used at this point. There were no new prints or silhouettes that stood out. Derek Lam, who used to amaze me with his print selection and combinations, also felt flat. It was all-around unmemorable because we've seen these pieces a million times before.
In contrast, the Milan and Paris shows are known for their designers whose names carry great weight in the industry, and in history. Industry experts pay close attention to the creative directors and designers behind the brands, expecting them to stay loyal to the brand's vision and at the same time bringing something new to the table. It's a challenge -- and an exciting one -- to see how every season Karl Lagerfeld stays true to Chanel's tradition (heavy use of tweed and the famous Chanel suit, for example.) For the 2012 Pre-Fall collection, Lagerfeld most definitely made Coco Chanel proud, even when incorporating Indian influences or, like he did for the Chanel 2013 Resort collection, channeling Marie Antoinette.
When you watch a Chanel or Lanvin show, you know there was an actual person named Chanel or Lanvin almost a hundred years ago who revolutionized fashion at that time. Like that one time Chanel revolutionized pants for women after the war because it was uncomfortable to ride a horse in a skirt so - voila - now we have lady pants. These designers drew their inspirations from a time when art nouveau, Louis Armstrong and Al Jolson made up the "buzz-worthy" list. When Coco Chanel was making hats or pants for the first time in the early 1900s there was no social media, no Perez Hilton, no Worst Dressed lists. She used outside influences to change history, not to dress Lady Gaga in a meat suit.
What's wrong now – in my opinion – is that designers are designing for the 15-minutes of fame, for the trendy socialites of the month, or for the absurd celebrities that pop up six months. The few exceptional collections at NYFW are those which you can see the trail of inspiration that led to the final product. Some are influenced by music, film, news, art, conversations, or just about anything that causes inspiration that carries greater meaning than something that A$AP Rocky might wear.