In 1943, with Europe caught in the throes of World War II, PR maven Eleanor Lambert spearheaded “press week” at the Plaza Hotel in Manhattan, giving a much-needed boost to the U.S. ready-to-wear business. Back then, New York was an afterthought on the global fashion stage as American editors and buyers fled their home turf to chase new trends. Oh, how times have changed — for the spring 2023 season, it is the Europeans who are making the journey across the Atlantic.
Italy will be well represented in New York with Fendi feting its Baguette bag here on Friday, one day before Francesco Risso kicks off a multiseason traveling concept for Marni. Flying the flag for the U.K. is Cos. The high-street brand, part of the H&M portfolio, plans to follow up on its first runway show in London with one at the Starrett-Lehigh Building on Sept. 13. The fall offering, said creative director Karin Gustafson, will “continue to focus on timeless style and craftsmanship.”
Also on the agenda is the “Futrograde” experiment from German sportswear giant, Puma — a live show and digital activation that will look to the future as well as the past, debuting new collaborations between the likes of Palomo, Koché, and Dapper Dan alongside updates on its archive pieces.
Independent designers are mining their heritage for inspiration as well, namely Kiev-based Svitlana Bevza, who chose the wheat spikelet, a primary export of Ukraine, as the foundation for a tribute to the war-torn country, and Theophilio’s Edvin Thompson, who is flying everyone back to his hometown via “Air Jamaica.”
Some inspirations, though, are a bit harder to trace: CFDA/Vogue Fashion Fund finalist Jackson Wiederhoeft got lost in “situational intersections,” while, in a similar stroke of mystery, Bach Mai claimed “Absence.” Perhaps Prabal Gurung knows what these two are up to — he is leaning into voyeurism for his showcase on Saturday. All will be revealed soon.
Here, WWD presents the last installment of a three-part series looking at the inspirations behind the New York spring 2023 collections.