1. Apparently, it's okay to wear fur again?
It's a fall collection staple, but the use of fur is generally more sensitive an issue than this show season would suggest. The AW14 runways were positively laden with both the real deal and faux fur alike, by way of subtle trims and accents through to hyper-coloured statement pieces. As floor length mink coats, usually confined to the Upper East Side, descended on even the front rows located south of the Lincoln Center, there wasn't so much as a murmur from PETA. Perhaps it was simply too freakishly cold to loiter outside the shows with buckets of paint? I'll reluctantly admit, when it was barely -9° and my arm brushed Andre Leon Talley's monstrous fur wrap as we sat at Milk Studios, the only thing I thought to myself was, Damn. I bet that thing's warm.
2. They're called mules for a reason...
As far as footwear goes, mules are one stubborn trend and they came trekking down runway after runway this MBFW. From sleek and chic styles at Tibi and Mara Hoffman, to the more polarising interpretations at Alexander Wang (complete with shinguards) and Rag & Bone (nothing divides a crowd like shearling-lined footwear), there's no shaking this trend just yet. The only way mules are going next season is south of your ankles.
3. Karen Walker is killing it.
Here's to you, KW. Your shows in New York are continually cool, unwaveringly cohesive and undeniably, recognisably yours. This northern hemisphere collection proved a home run with the crowd who gathered at Pier 59 for the show. Strong silhouettes merged feminine looks with the utilitarian, giving the collection a capable feel - appropriate, considering AW14 was inspired by the suffragettes. We saw statement digital floral prints, the expected killer eyewear and a confident introduction to Walker's first toe-dip into evening-wear. And good news for everyone who died over the current benah X Karen Walker bags: there's more to come from this match made in colab heaven.
4. Wide-brimmed, black hats still make a statement.
Hipsters and Saint Laurent SS13 fiends, rejoice: the wide-brimmed hat will be celebrated a while longer. Cushnie et Ochs' felt slightly cowgirl-turned-cityslicker, while Dion Lee's offerings had an Australiana vibe. The award for most wearable goes to Public School for bringing their resolute style of cool into the mix. Tibi's pilgrim hats, however, were show stealers and the most memorable by far.
5. Getting to off-site shows is worth every ounce of extra effort.
The first collection I ever attended at NYFW was John Varvatos in September of 2007. The show was held at night, an incredible 45 stories high above a construction zone that was once the World Trade Center; it was outstandingly memorable and as a result, I never question whether I can be bothered to trek out to an off-site show. You simply never know what awaits you. This year, those designers choosing to veer away from the Lincoln Center did themselves proud with some sensational locations: from Delpozo's west side skyscraper overlooking a snow-capped Manhattan to the Navy Yard location housing a rotating runway care of Alexander Wang. Who else would be capable of coaxing the Brooklyn-phobic fashion crowd across the East River on a Friday night?
6. Sub-zero temperatures eventually take their toll on street-style.
While at first there were plenty of strategically open coats and pedicured blue digits peeping out of open-toed shoes, the madness gradually subsided when the snow didn't. Turns out Nike Air Max sneakers are still the solution to every practical footwear dilemma.
7. The Row.
When it's sub-zero, one may hazard a guess that cocoons made of 900-gram double-face "fur cashmere "are going to be positively salivated over. Bold but calm - as always - this was a quiet palette across confident silhouettes that swamped with purpose. Draping, tailored looks were finished with handmade brogues, as simple and luxurious as everything else on offer.
8. There are some bright young things to watch out for.
While they're hardly fresh out of fashion school, the aforementioned Public School are the next big buzz. This was the first runway show for designers Dao-Yi Chow and Maxwell Osborne who debuted a triumphant line of womenswear amongst the menswear they're notorious for, complete with their signature downtown aesthetic. The pair were recipients of a cool $300k care of the CFDA/Vogue Fashion Fund Award in November of last year, putting Public School in the company of Alexander Wang and Proenza Schouler (Derek Lam, Thom Browne, Thakoon, Rodarte, Phillip Lim and Prabal Gurung make up a formidable list of past runners-up). It's no secret the industry is standing very firmly behind them, some quite literally as the show concluded with standing applause from a decent percentage of the crowd. Anna Wintour and her daughter clapped more respectably from their seats in the front row - but make no mistake, Wintour was smiling as she did.
9. Enough with the tall poppy syndrome.
It's easy to feel like the much-younger siblings from down under when New York Fashion Week boasts the likes of Calvin Klein, Marc Jacobs and Ralph Lauren. We may not have Wang, but antipodean designers - whether seasoned veterans like Karen Walker or relative new-comers to MBFW such as Sass & Bide and Zimmermann - have proved once again they can stand proudly alongside the big kids. Oh, and as far as on-site locations go? Both the Viaduct Events Centre in Auckland and Carriageworks in Sydney beat the pants off the Lincoln Center. NZFW and MBFWA should be proud.
Words by Natalie Cantell.