The durable and the delicate: Top trends from New York Fashion Week SS24

Anna-Louise McDougall
September 14, 2023
3 min read

It was in 1997 that New York became the first city in the fashion month cycle. Helmut Lang had simply declared he was ready to show ahead of the European schedule - and it stuck. It’s been 18 years since the famously private designer left his eponymous label, but it was on everybody's mind this week with Peter Do stepping in to helm the brand - and kick off the Spring Summer 2024 season. 

But did the godfather of New York urbanism ever really leave? What does a Helmut revival look like, if it’s already everywhere? It was one of the first brands that elevated shirting, layered tanks and slashed denim to commercial and critical acclaim.

Lang won over a generation of women with his desire to dress them intellectually, sensually, and comfortably - all at once. Even this week, perfect-fitting denim, the ease of unexpected fabrics, and the beautiful rendering of utility tropes are just a few of his signatures that could be seen throughout the shows.

As consumers start to tire of one-outing pieces and viral dressing gaffs, it pays for brands to tap into the cultural mood.

And, if there is any brand that shows New York in its currency, it might just be Sandy Liang whose nostalgia and girlhood-driven collections have led Tiktokkers and the fashion set alike to embrace bows, coquettish tailoring, pedal-pushers and satin Mary Janes. 

Meanwhile, laid-back glamor and classic American sportswear were back on the menu - washed denim, slip dresses, skirts with crew neck sweaters, and embroidered lace arrived at Ralph Lauren, Brandon Maxwell, Michael Kors and Staud.

Proenza Schouler and Khaite conjured effortless and endless outfitting, with powerful suits, mesh layers, floor-sweeping slips, and leather in dresses, blazers and coats. 

Sculptural fluidity was an enduring theme at Tory Burch, 3.1 Phillip Lim and Jason Wu. Corsetry, bodices, and an extended focus on the waist came for another look-in, while bubble hems continued their quiet comeback at Helmut Lang, Tory Burch and Dion Lee. 

Crinkle sheers, netting and lace everything were ever-present, especially at Ekhaus Latta, Collina Strada, Bevza, Coach, and Altuzarra. Saint Laurent-style plunging necklines and U-necks infiltrated evening wear at Prabal Gurung, Khaite, Gabriela Hearst and Tory Burch. Dion Lee offered his most literal - yet wearable - interpretations of workwear yet, just one of the labels proving we’re not done fusing the white and blue collar wardrobes. 

Let’s take a look at what could be some of the New York SS24 trends hitting racks in the coming year. 

Corporate sports 

Tory Burch, Tibi, 3.1 Phillip Lim, Helmut Lang, 3.1 Phillip Lim

With new ideas of American sportswear at the fore this week, a bevy of designers imbued soft utility signatures in classic workwear shapes to usher the hybrid worker back to the office. Technical fabrics, collars, zips, belts and low, loose trousers were on offer in muted and neutral palettes. Tory Burch opted for nylon taffeta zip polos, while Phillip Lim returned to the runway with relaxed khakis and jackets cut with unconventional details. Zoe Latta of Ekhaus Latta aptly described the look to journalists as, “the tension between what’s really durable and hard and wearable and what’s delicate and fragile.”

Soft metals

Michael Kors, Fforme, Tory Burch, Dion Lee, Ralph Lauren

The idea of American glamor, whether storied, Hollywood or vacation-ready is never far from a little shine. Chrome, liquid gold and silver metallic were dotted throughout countless shows, but no more than at Ralph Lauren. His runway return brought gold lamé polos, silky pants and jumpsuits, and Christy Turlington’s one-shoulder wonder. Michael Kors also took to gold to speak to early 70s-inspired party wear with skirts, dresses and hooped hardware, while Tory Burch took us to the 60s-space-age with iridescent coats and coatdresses. 

The LLD (little leather dress)

Coach, Helmut Lang, Proenza Schouler, Jason Wu, Gabriela Hearst

Stuart Vevers of Coach opened the first show of fashion week with a black slip dress made from pieced-together leather, and it was a sign of things to come. A buttery leather number suits a New York after-dark sensibility, especially with Coach’s exposed stitches and moto boot styling. Proenza Schouler took a cool, minimal chord with utility-style gathering and a strapless silhouette, while Helmut Lang took to the bubble hem as a modern reply to the leather mini dress. 

New ways of seeing (through) 

Bevza, Jason Wu, Tory Burch, Gabriela Hearst, Altuzarra

The sheer trend is nothing new on the recent runways, in fact, it appears to be only just hitting the mainstream, with fragile, translucent, lacy, gauzy and mesh fabrics set to stick around for another season. However, the best iterations felt fresh and dynamic layered over slips and separates that could exist perfectly on their own - and actually be worn without risking it all. Jason Wu showed delicate fabric deconstructions, bias-cut in tanks layered over trousers or dresses over underwear, and Joseph Altuzarra had crushed textures in slip dresses, gauzy organza and tulle. Bevza opted for a floral marigold print underneath sheer panel dresses.

What will the coming weeks bring? More plunging necklines, rising 60s hemlines, and acid-wash denim? Keep up with Style Arcade’s fashion month coverage as we head to London by signing up for updates here.

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