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Nepal’s national dress and other highlights at New York Fashion Week

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It’s freezing in New York at the moment, with temperatures in the low single digits. Yet, nothing stops fashion week.

As guests attempt to navigate the city streets while dressed for possible snow showers, a nod goes out to the sheer determination of all involved.

With shows from the likes of Helmut Lang, Tommy Hilfiger and Prabal Gurung having already taken place, The National rounds up the best so far.

Prabal Gurung

This season Prabal Gurung embraced his Nepalese heritage by draping tops, dresses and coats to echo guniyo cholo, women’s national dress in Nepal. Now given a chic update – the collection featured oodles of shearling – fabric was caught in subtle ways around the waist or gathered into unexpected volume on one sleeve.

Both a glossy satin trench coat in powder blue and a shearling dress in dark oxblood had a scarf slung over the opposite shoulder to trail almost to the floor. The same draped effect appeared as a pale blue coat misbuttoned over a lilac trouser suit. New and elegant, this was Gurung at his best.

Tommy Hilfiger

Returning to New York after an absence of two years, Tommy Hilfiger doubled down on the essential preppy wardrobe he practically invented, revitalising it with some Manhattan chic.

The rugby shirt – a staple of every Hilfiger customer – arrived oversized with an elongated collar, shifting it towards something far dressier, particularly when worn under a slouchy blazer and below-the-knee skirt. It also appeared under a crew neck minidress and again paired with loose chinos, a caramel jumper and floor-grazing blue duster coat.

The varsity jacket was also oversized, sliding off the shoulder. In returning to his roots both physically and metaphorically, Hilfiger has made prep wear New York-cool.

Altuzarra

Celebrating his brand’s 15-year anniversary, Joseph Altuzarra delivered a show that was beautifully unfussy. Anchored on well-cut separates – and one bombshell bugle-beaded slip dress – the show was aimed at women who crave substance and simplicity.

A white jumper with black harlequin diamonds was worn tucked into a pleated leather midi skirt, and a knitted Arran jumper with tone-on-tone sequins scattered across it was worn with a straight-cut black sequin skirt.

Soft folds of Pierrot collars were a uniting element, seen in knitted periwinkle over a woollen dress, with black chiffon peeking from the neck and cuffs of a pea coat and a soft cream ruffle over a mustard duffel coat. Many looks included knitted jodhpurs snatched in around the calves, while more roomy coats had long storm flaps at the back – both a nod to the designer’s love of horseriding.

Khaite

Cult favourite Khaite delivered a mood, literally. On an under-lit runway, models appeared out of the gloom like apparitions. What we could see of the clothes, however, was an interesting play on volume, as glossy leather blouson jackets stretched down to the knees and fluid tops and skirts hung around the body in loose folds.

One dress, in smoky cadet blue wool, had its own hood, while another look mixed a tuxedo-style collared blouse – in crumpled, draped silk – over a sleek leather pencil skirt that was slashed almost to the hip. Worn with over-the-knee boots, it was fabulous.

Christian Cowan

As a brand that embraces all shapes on its runway, Christian Cowan paid ode to his Upper East Side clients this season. Fittingly, the casting reflected this, from standard skinny teenagers to the 50-somethings who actually buy the clothes, all sporting Jackie-O style bouffant wigs.

Cowan is about fun, and that came through loud and clear, from the opening look of a mini tank top with a skirt made of streams of sequins, to a strapless minidress with its own floor-length cape also fully covered in sequins.

Amid the sparkly, there was also some serious tailoring, such as corseted, strapless gowns in bias-cut ticking and a series of bias-cut high-shine satin sheath dresses, backless and trimmed with marabou feathers.

Helmut Lang

Peter Do unveiled his second collection for Helmut Lang, leaning further into the sharp tailoring that both he and the house he now leads are famous for. The opening look was a shirt-and-trouser set that seemed to be made out of bubble wrap, and this intriguing material appeared throughout the show.

The show was a mix of both men’s and womenswear. The men got the better coats – nearly every look was made up of multiple warm layers – but the women got the better tailoring. A trapeze woollen dress arrived with a double hem – with a lighter, silk lining just peeking out – and was worn over straight-legged trousers, while another straight-cut tabbard in grey wool was mixed with skin-tight glossy PVC trousers.

Updated: February 12, 2024, 12:23 PM

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