Fashion week is gearing up, and we’re looking forward to new designs from our favorite style houses.
Every February, denizens of the fashion world–editors, buyers, influencers, manufacturers–descend upon the frozen city of New York in search of what’s hot, while North America’s top designers assemble their best looks in the form of an eleven minute runway show. And even though we’ve done it all before, year in and year out, there’s always something new and fresh to glom onto. This year, more than ever, we find ourselves obsessed with the work of emerging female designers, so here are seven woman-helmed labels that we can’t wait to see at New York Fashion Week.
Since Sylvie Millstein launched her womenswear brand Hellessy in 2012, she’s gained a formidable celebrity following (Rihanna, Gwyneth Paltrow, Priyanka Chopra) and the support of influential stockists including Net-A-Porter, Neiman Marcus and Harvey Nichols. But before we classify her as an overnight success, it’s important to note that she spent a decade working in the merchandising sector at Europe’s most storied fashion brands such as Chanel, Givenchy and Harrods. So yeah, you could say that Millstein knows something about fit, quality and price points. We just admire her ability to design colorful separates that are as beautiful as they are wearable, and can take us effortlessly from day into night.
It’s been two years since she launched her namesake brand, but Kim Shui has already made an indelible mark on the New York fashion scene with her body conscious cool-girl dresses that have shown up on tastemakers like Cardi B, Solange Knowles and Kylie Jenner. Her bold, architectural clothes are made to be in motion, they flow and billow about the body like flags on a windy day, while never obscuring the delicious hourglass of the female shape. Her Spring 2019 collection explored the relationship between “the native and the foreign,” using elements from traditional Chinese tailoring–such as glossy silks and the qipao collar–juxtaposed with and transformed by tie-dye, neon, leopard print and crushed velvet. We have no idea where her aesthetic journey has taken her next, and we can’t wait to find out.
The public profile of Canadian designer Nina Kharey, the founder of Nonie, exploded into the stratosphere last summer when Meghan Markle was photographed in a powder pink sleeveless Nonie trench dress. Markle’s stylist, Jessica Mulroney (a Canadian herself), has made it her mission to showcase designers from Great White North, and one Instagram shot of Markle wearing Nonie expanded the brand’s reach more than a full page ad in Vogue. The daughter of South Asian immigrants, Kharey’s aesthetic is inspired by the clean lines of Indian menswear. Her designs employ prodigious draping techniques to shape the body, and her dresses are manufactured in Canada from fabrics that are ethically sourced in Korea and Japan. We’re hoping that Nonie’s Fall/Winter 2019 show has a few pieces that are sufficiently staid for a Duchess, and brash enough for us commoners.
Carly Cushnie spent a decade as one half of the ace design duo Cushnie and Ochs, and the brand’s following included Michelle Obama, Gwyneth Paltrow and Beyonce. Last season, after the departure of her co-founder Michelle Ochs, Cushnie celebrated her independence and virtuosity with a denim line that she showed in addition to her debut collection of dresses and separates under the Cushnie label. For Fall/Winter 2019, the designer plans to showcase her accessories line in concert with a curated selection of spirited party dresses and versatile separates.
Chiara Boni La Petite Robe
They may be long or short, frilly or understated, in jewel tones or in jet black, but all our favorite party dresses from Neimans, Bergdorf’s and Saks have one thing in common: they all come from the Italian designer Chiara Boni. She’s been making figure-enhancing frocks and separates since the 1980s, but when she launched her label Chiara Boni La Petite Robe in 2007, her European cult following turned into a vast legion of international exponents. Her dresses have turned up on red carpets and galas on the likes of Oprah Winfrey, Catherine Zeta Jones, Sharon Stone, Serena Williams, Jeanine Pirro and Niecy Nash. But what we love about Boni’s designs is that they are sufficiently flattering, affordable and comfortable to transform mere mortals into superstars.
Chromat is a swimwear and separates line founded by architect Becca McCharen-Tran. Each garment is meticulously designed with fit, comfort and performance in mind, and manufactured in fair-wage factories in New York City and Sofia, Bulgaria. The company is dedicated to using high-tech, post-consumer materials, such as econyl, which is a nylon fabric spun from recycled plastic bottles. Aside from their commitment to sustainability and fair-wages, Chromat’s bathing suits are stylish and flattering in a punk-rock kind of way. And unlike some swimwear companies, the team at Chromat aren’t bitchy fashion elitists: their clothes are available in sizes 2-20, and their runway shows are equally inclusive.
Anna Sui has been the Queen of New York Fashion Week since her first show in 1991—featuring supermodels Naomi Campbell and Linda Evangelista—which got fashion buyers and the press to stop and take notice. Known for her chimerical take on style that’s both vintage and modern at the same time, Sui has been slowly taking over the world as she transitions from a womenswear brand to a lifestyle company, with her freestanding boutiques, fragrance and skincare lines, shoe collection and even a diffusion line (Dolly Girl). And then there are her collabs. She partnered with Fila on a sportswear line, with Ford on the Mustang Unleashed Collection, and with Target on a Gossip Girl line. She’s even got a Barbie named after her and a Hello Kitty stuffed animal collection. But what we care about most is what Sui is going to put on the runway this February for Fall/Winter 2019, and we suspect that it will be as rollicking and vibrant as everything we’ve ever seen from her since 1991.
Featured image: Models walk the runway for Cushnie Spring/Summer 2019 in Sept. 2018.