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NYFW: Teyana Taylor, Kelsea Ballerini and Louisa Jacobson at LaQuan Smith, Carolina Herrera and Jason Wu

American fashion is making a great case for its presence on the upcoming red carpet, judging by some of the high-profile shows debuting this week for Fall/Winter 2023 in New York. Jason Wu’s elegant presentation in a theater room at the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum was one of the season’s outstanding examples, a sublime blend of customization and romance told through Wu’s understated, confident sensibilities.

“In a day when you see much bigger houses dominating the red carpet, I’m really proud of the fact that actresses choose to work with me and wear my designs,” Wu (who recently dressed Viola Davis for the Golden Globes and Niecy Nash for the Critics Choice Awards). The Hollywood Reporter follow the performance. “The red carpet has become such a business, but we believe in genuine relationships and friendships. Look at Niecy; she came to my very first fashion show 15 years ago. And her performance Dahmer was great also because people consider her to be a comedian. I was so happy to work with her [for Critics Choice]. She looked beautiful and she called me after the show; Those kinds of things make it worth it to me.”

Many designs in Wu’s latest collection landed actresses on an awards show’s best-dress list, starting with the black silk faille ball gown detailed with a touch of frayed tulle along the strapless neckline, the icy bias-cut silk dress that worn under a full dress. long black tuxedo jacket and a series of sheer dresses embellished with elegant lace or beading. “I would absolutely wear any of those pieces,” says HBO’s co-star Louisa Jacobson The Gilded Age, in the front row next to Huma Abedin, Olivia Palermo and Sophie Thatcher. “It’s hard to pick a favorite, but I loved the strapless red corset dress, which was simply stunning.”

Louisa Jacobson with Jason Wu, Fall/Winter 2023

Dan & Corina Lecca/Courtesy of Jason Wu

That draped red dress and another in gold velvet, as well as a black jersey high-neck dress with ruffles, exuded an old-world Hollywood glamor that was not incidental. “Marlene Dietrich was a huge influence on this collection,” explained Wu, who called herself a “classic movie nerd” who discovered classy movies like Rear window when he first moved from Taiwan to Canada at age 10. “That’s how I learned English. We didn’t have those movies readily available in Taiwan, so my mom went to Blockbuster and I only wanted movies with the best fashion. It became a very important part of my DNA.”

Jason Wu - Catwalk Presentation - Fall/Winter 2023

Jason Wu, Fall/Winter 2023

Dan & Corina Lecca/Courtesy of Jason Wu

In addition to those glamorous dresses, Wu also explored modern ideas of tailoring, starting with a beautifully sculpted jacket that kicked off the show, as well as a red double-breasted jacket worn over a nude organza dress and a great take on black wide-leg pants. pipes. all of which felt perfect for a show that took place in an iconic New York location. “I wanted this to be more than a fashion show; I wanted this to be a performance,” Wu said of choosing the Guggenheim’s theater space. “In New York we don’t always get a lot of appreciation for craftsmanship, but we have great talent here. That’s also why I wanted the girls to go a lot slower this time, so you could see everything up close and really see the details, and know that these clothes are made in New York.”

About 30 blocks south of the Guggenheim, Wes Gordon chose another New York icon, The Plaza Hotel, where he also exhibited last season, to debut his fall/winter collection for Carolina Herrera. Movies like Corsagewho conquered one A certain prestige trophy to star Vicky Krieps at Cannes last May, continuing to fuel the public’s fascination with Empress Elisabeth of Austria, otherwise known as Sisi, has also influenced Gordon this season. “What I like about Imperial Austria and Habsburg and Sisi is that you get a combination of military discipline with opulence, which you don’t find in Imperial France or other dynasties,” he explained to THR after the performance. “Because you have this military family, there’s a discipline that’s applied to everything, and I think that’s very much a formula for Herrera as well. Elegance is always a given, but it’s about restraint mixed with opulence, and in fittings I found myself removing more and more to arrive at what felt right.

Indeed, that attention to detail resulted in looks that felt lavish but never overt, starting with the lavish beading that adorned bouclé suits and silk dresses, as well as the botanical floral prints used to create dresses and gowns that accentuated the fullness of their skirts, often because of the many layers of tulle peeking out from underneath. “I’ve always been an old soul and I’m so lucky to work in a house like Herrera, which has an amazing history and a great studio,” Gordon said. “So it’s not just about the embellishments, but the actual textiles, because we have access to a lot of fabrics that have been pretty extinct on catwalks for the last 20 years because of the complexity [of creating them]. For example, we were able to create the silk inspired by a 19th century damask print I found, while many of the flowers were based on a porcelain print, just working these old-fashioned techniques with the best fabric mills to create something that was a celebration of beauty and that promise of Herrera.”

Carolina Herrera - Catwalk Presentation - Fall 2023

Carolina Herrera, Fall 2023

Thanks to Carolina Herrera

On the front row, Kelsea Ballerini — wearing a strapless Herrera dress with heart-shaped detailing on the bodice, her nod to Valentine’s Day — said she loved the “classic and very feminine” vibe of the collection. As for Gordon’s lavish gowns, Ballerini had one in particular in mind: “I’d die wearing that to next year’s Grammys,” she added.

Also of note: the show’s soundtrack began with Dionne Warwick singing “I Say a Little Prayer,” written in 1967 by Burt Bacharach and Hal David, a detail noted by audience members who knew of Bacharach’s passing on February 8th. unintentionally – we had that song in place days before, because I wanted to create this cinematic moment, and I love that song in My best friend’s weddingGordon noted before adding that another song, “Georgia on My Mind,” was deeply personal, as he and husband Paul Arnhold welcomed their second child, a daughter, a week prior to the show. “We named her Georgia, so adding that song was kind of my own kind of indulgence and a nod to her.”

Late Monday night, the trifecta of New York venues concluded with LaQuan Smith’s presentation in the Rainbow Room atop Rockefeller Center, where Lil Nas X — a guest on several shows this month — slipped into his seat at the last minute, and so did the audience. including Teyana Taylor and NFL star Stefon Diggs. “This season I was really inspired by tuxedo suits, and I loved the idea of ​​high society, New York’s elite getting glamorous, drinking champagne and eating caviar; it just feels like a movie scene,” Smith noted THR behind the scenes after the show. “The Rainbow Room is nostalgic in itself and I wanted to embody a collection that not only makes women feel empowered, but also inspires them to dress up and just have a great night.”

With recent red carpet placements including Sydney Sweeney, Lupita Nyong’o and Tracee Ellis Ross, as well as the looks he created for Lenny Kravitz and Khloe Kardashian for November’s CFDA Awards, Smith is enjoying the high-wattage attention that comes with deals with such moments. “I think it’s a big role for me to have that presence, not just as a black designer but also as an American designer,” he said. “As a native New Yorker, I grew up watching all these insane moments on the red carpet, and I said to myself, I want to be a designer and have that moment. That representation on these Hollywood tapestries is so necessary: ​​pushing American luxury designers, pushing black designers into a luxury space, and that’s where I feel like I’m contributing.

Celebrity Front Row - Julia Fox - Lil Nas X - Teyana Taylor - LaQuan Smith - Fall/Winter 2023

Julia Fox, Lil Nas X and Teyana Taylor at LaQuan Smith Fall 2023

Thanks to LaQuan Smith

Fringed details are a big trend in the Fall/Winter collections, and Smith sent one of the best shots of the week, a black halter dress with full fringes, while artfully constructed mini dresses were designed to evoke Bond girls. , and vertical nude and black stripes on pieces like a wraparound square neck dress were created to fool the eye. “The way I design always starts with the body,” explains Smith. “I always look at the female form and the ways we can accentuate the body and enhance a woman’s curves. I like to play with lines and shapes and also play with illusion: is she naked, is she naked? And from there, we create plunging necklines that cut out the body and focus on a woman’s shape and explore all the ways we can enhance it.

As for the presence of A-listers in the front row, like Nas and Julia Fox, who donned gold masks on Smith’s show? “My target audience just wants to look great and be unashamedly sexy and confident,” he said. “My wife, my husband, they want to be the center of attention, and that’s what it’s all about, energy and attitude. Everyone I dress embodies that same idea, and for me the feeling is mutual.”

LaQuan Smith - Runway Presentation - Fall/Winter 2023

Laquan Smith, Fall 2023

Thanks to LaQuan Smith

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