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NYFW: A Changing Legacy - Fashion's Evolution in the Age of Influencers

by Amy Walter

Fashion, like the seasons, always changes, yet one constant has always been New York Fashion Week (NYFW). 

Since its inception in the 1940s, NYFW has curated some of the most iconic moments in fashion history, and this year proves no different. From protests to Elena Velez's unconventional mud runway, this article delves into the highlights and eyebrow-raising moments of the latest week in the world of fashion, all while questioning whether this event still wields the influence it once did.

The Spring/Summer 2024 collections at NYFW displayed an impressive array of styles. From whimsical creations to classic working-girl chic, these shows defined the trends of the coming year. Blazers were everywhere, with Luar, Jason Wu, and Willy Chavarria making structured looks the stars of their runways. 

On the opposite end of the spectrum, Batsheva embraced all things pink and frilly, while Anna Sui's models donned pastel-coloured milkmaid styles, reminiscent of Daisy Jones. Elements of the '90s also made a striking comeback.

The dramatic presentation of models walking across chairs seemed fitting, given the stars of the show: Wiederhoeft's dresses. 

From striking red rose dresses that accentuated the model's figure to '90s gothic chic and a modern silver Cinderella ball gown, the designer's range offered something for every occasion. NYFW was nothing short of diverse, featuring both high-end and high-end fast-fashion brands. Even Love Island's Ekin-Su made her debut with 'Oh Polly.' 

This year's Spring/Summer NYFW truly had something for everyone, and the celebrities in attendance didn't disappoint. Julia Fox's bridal look, complete with white accessories and a fur-edged veil, stole the spotlight, as Fox often does.

The past New York Fashion Week was brimming with "OMG" moments around every corner. 

Collina Strada's smiling models, initially playful with their demonic expressions and pastel attire, revealed a deeper message from designer Hillary Taymour. She emphasised that, in the current state of the world, fashion remains a unifying force even amid chaos, while also playfully poking fun at the event itself. 

Things escalated further with Elena Velez's runway, where models trekked through sludge, culminating in a planned mud wrestle. This divided opinions, with some seeing it as pretentious commentary and others appreciating its unique take on the modern woman.

An unexpected appearance came from environmental activists blending into the model lineup. Holding signs reading "Coach leather kills" in reference to Coach's use of leather bags, their message was clear. After Michael Kors' show, they confronted the designer at the after-party, highlighting his use of fur with a sign that read "Michael Kors: Angora is Torture."

Despite NYFW still drawing celebrities like Naomi Campbell and Julia Fox, many now question its future legacy. With influencers occupying front-row seats and a declining involvement of designer brands, the event's exclusivity, which once captivated eager eyes in fashion magazines, is in jeopardy. 

NYFW is a prime example of fashion events having to sensationalise their shows to stay relevant, whether through outlandish controversy or the involvement of influencers to attract viewers. Today, good designs alone no longer suffice, given the constant exposure to trends and new looks. This increased accessibility to the public is seemingly the only inclusivity surrounding the event, despite the desire for greater diversity in both models and designers.

In recent years, NYFW has delivered eye-catching moments, but they often feel fleeting, overshadowed by the spectre of the event's past glory. As we anticipate the next New York Fashion Week, it's clear that its influence has evolved and faces challenges unlike those of its prime years.


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