New York: Ashlyn, Salon 1884 and Bibhu Mohapatra
New York Fashion Week’s final day threw up some cool, cerebral, cultish and clever collections on a wet Wednesday, from Yohji Yamamoto ex Ashlynn Park; veteran Bibhu Mohapatra and an impressive new label known as Salon 1884.
Salon 1884: A star is being born
Expect to hear a great deal in the future about Salon 1884, a fresh marque founded by fine artist, Andrea Marshall.
An Italo-Irish Bostonian, Marshall founded her collection in November 2021 and immediately gave Neiman Marcus a one-year exclusive, in seven of its department stores no less.
A blend of assertive New Yorker chic and indie artist panache, Salon 1884 has oodles to recommend it. Skillful draping, natty ruching, gutsy silhouettes - all made in noble materials from Loro Piana cashmere, to the finest lambskin.
Inspired by 80s New Romantics and Japanese avant-garde design, this was a great collection. What’s special is Andera’s sense of cool adventure: punchy biker jackets with dramatically slanted shoulders and adjustable side straps; dramatic lambskin dresses cut with diagonal collars; and an uncanny micro trench that doubles as a leotard. Talk about a wow-factor top.
The brand is culled from the art exhibition of the same name, Salon 1884, legendary for unveiling John Singer Sargent’s painting Madame X, which Marshall first discovered as a child.
Remarkably, Marshall is also a truly talented artist, who works in photomontage and fine oils, producing superb self-portraits on canvas. Think Jacques-Louis David-meets-a-Southie-Artemisia Gentileschi.
Now that the Neiman’s exclusive is up, Net-a-Porter and MyTheresa have been by, so women of style will be able to get their hands on Salon 1884’s unique ideas. In a word, the most important new designer in New York.
Ashlyn: Artful tailoring by Yohji alumnus
In a dank morning in Soho, a moment of grace from Ashlyn, presented in elegiac fashion inside Lisa Perry’s minimalist downtown loft.
An alumnus of Yohji Yamamoto, Ashlynn Park has plenty of the cutting skills of the Japanese master, though with a good deal more levity.
Born in Korea, but living in New Jersey, Park like many great Asian designers has a conceptual take on fashion. But blended with a smart dash of practicality.
Most guests perched on stools, though Perry, Katie Holmes and a few pampered critics shared a mid-century modern leather couch. Admiring the cast weave about the all-white loft.
This spring/summer 2024 collection was based on the idea of puzzles, or more precisely using rectangular pieces of fabric to develop elegantly constructed clothes. Her show programs contained such fabrics swatches.
For next spring, this designer wants to dress women in cool black blazers pleated likes fans below the waist; or schoolgirl kilts finished with circles of white cotton ruffles. She also suggested zippered corsets finished with stiff white-collar shirts. Very much sexy-nun looks. Ashlyn also showed the best pants in New York, rippling, long and wide – and plausible to gym or cocktail hour.
Cropped spencers and aviator jackets, very Yohji-like puckered window jackets, and a totally over-the-top bulking bridal gown worn by veteran sup Guinevere van Seenus, all made for the one of the best collections this season.
Bibhu Mohapatra: Sculpted grandeur in Tribeca
In practically the last show of the season, Bibhu Mohapatra produced a charming collection inspired by two distinguished Black female artists.
From the 1930s, Augusta Savage – a great star of the Harlem Renaissance. From our current era, Simone Leigh, the first Black female artist to represent the United States in the Venice Biennale, in 2022.
The result was a series of distinguished looks – from a brilliantly judged denim safari dress and impeccable porcelain cady double-breasted blazer, to ombre hibiscus print cocktails, and a stupendous onyx silk organza dress studded with pearls.
Bibhu’s Murano glass-style handle bags were intriguing; and his new sunglass range with iC! Berlin was a clever contrast in tough chic.
Mohapatra is not a master of self-editing, and at times his drapes and appliqués dragged several looks down, but overall, this felt like a magisterial performance; presented on a cast largely of ladies of color.
Pre-show, Bibhu’s team busily shot the collection’s look-book one block away, due to the tight squeeze of the Duane Street loft where the show was staged. Where an impromptu crowd gathered, bursting into excited, spontaneous applause in between sunny showers, as the models posed before a garage wall. Savage and Leigh would surely have admired the moment.
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