Fashion: We'll take Manhattan by storm

Even a hurricane could not stop New York Fashion Week, where McQueen produced the American dream wardrobe.

Bigger, better, bolder... New York Fashion Week kicked off the spring/ summer 2000 collections last week in Manhattan. And what a week! First, a rabid mosquito infestation threatened to suck its way through the residents of the Upper East Side of the city and was duly attacked with pesticides. Then a so-called hurricane, by the name of Floyd, threatened to wipe out the second half of fashion week, but petered out, leaving nothing but giant puddles. As if all this obsessing over bugs and the elements wasn't American enough, attending the shows was like being inside the pages of the Hollywood equivalent of Hello! - such was the roll call of stars lining the front rows. No-one could possibly forget they were in the good old US of A.

And the designers didn't want you to forget it either, as flag-waving Americana became a major trend of the week. First was Tommy Hilfiger's red, white and blue collection in Madison Square Garden, a legendary US sports arena, where even the models' make-up - scarlet lipstick, sapphire eyeshadow and dazzling white teeth - reflected the US flag. From the rodeo-inspired, fringed jeans and cowboy boots inscribed "Tommy Rocks", to the Evil Knevil motocross leathers encrusted with glitter stars, Hilfiger's message was clear - "Yeee-ha! Ameri-ca".

Then came Ralph Lauren, the original king of collegiate clothes, re- packaging the uniform inspired by State-side style icons. Miss American Pie featured strongly in red and white gingham checks for the weekend, Wall Street pinstripes for the city, and rodeo leathers - punched out to look like lace - for the ranch. When Lauren, the designer who best represents the American dream, - he started out selling ties in a department store before rocketing to fame as America's biggest selling designer - came on stage at the show's end, it was only fitting he should be wearing a cowboy shirt, jeans and Cuban heeled boots.

The most surprising star-spangled event was when British star, Alexander McQueen, dropped his jeans at his curtain-call to reveal boxer shorts printed with the US flag. The gesture spoke volumes - evidently signalling his affection for New York, and yet also saying: "I'll take Manhattan... but on my own terms, thank you." McQueen also sent his models out in cool red, white and blue sportswear, complete with satin athletic shorts, vests and capes - looking like the girls who hold up numbered cards between rounds at boxing matches. McQueen is so astute at playing the media, with his air-born levitation sequence and his rather more unexpected homage to Americana, that he will no doubt generate those all-important front covers on the influential US glossies and so expand his business across the Atlantic - which is, after all, the point.

Americana continued apace with the big jeans trend. The country that brought us denim workwear will see to it that the jeans industry is revitalised, if only at the designer end of the market. Marc Jacobs, was the first to reclaim them from Gap and put them on the catwalk. His deluxe denim - cut into skinny drainpipes, some with big turn-ups; sun dresses; or cropped and fitted biker jackets - was some of the best, certainly the coolest of the week. If the pieces themselves were strict and simple in shape, the Western details were in the complex seams, white on a background of cherry, faded tan or blue, or piped with scarlet. Jacobs even branded his new line with a Sixties-style sun-burst motif, on back pockets or blown up across an entire A-line skirt - the fashion luvvies scribbled down orders there and then.

It was extraordinary that old-timers Oscar de la Renta and Carolina Herrera - who share the same polished and coiffed, chauffeur-driven clientele - should offer denim as the way forward for spring/summer 2000, albeit in prim dresses and slacks with embroidered cut-outs. But Anna Sui could, and should, make a fortune selling hip-hugging jeans sprinkled with sweet rose-buds to her avid downtown bohemian fans, just as Daryl Kerrigan, the Irish designer based in New York, will profit from her skinny, low- slung leather jeans - ideal urban warrior gear.

As for Donatella Versace, anyone on the celebrity checklist - including Madonna's daughter, Lourdes, who sat beside her mother on the front row decked out in Versace Couture - will no doubt ditch the Levi's and wear Versus instead.

The thing that most readily sprang to mind by the close of New York Fashion Week, was how brilliantly the American designers coped with dressing down for dinner. Now that fashion's remit is to play down dressing up, it was still a surprise that ballgowns and pant-suits never made it on to a single catwalk in the city that used to offer nothing but.

Michael Kors summed it up with a lemon cricket sweater; flesh-coloured bejewelled trousers, and paper-fine leather jackets with beach-style zebra print shorts. Calvin Klein ensured no purchaser of his clothes would go out on the town looking remotely "done up" as his collection remains steadfastly pure and minimal. Donna Karan issued gauzy veils of romantic chiffon or kimono shirts - great for a party - but worn with simple every-day black trousers. And John Bartlett put sex into his eveningwear, that was apparently to be worn in office hours, with his gold bugle beaded Twenties-style flapper dresses worn over cigarette trousers and accessorised with wide cavalry belts slung around hips and neon yellow spike heals.

It was interesting to witness the British invasion of New York. If McQueen's show, the highlight of the week, showed off Britain's best loved avant- garde fashion - presented like a blockbuster movie set - in only the way an East End lad can, Nicole Farhi showed the business-building side of Brit-fashion, not only with a purely wearable collection but with her new emporium uptown - the size of an aircraft hangar - that's bound to be a hit with all those well-groomed Manhattanites. As for Tanya Sarne of Ghost, when she did eventually get to show her collection - rescheduled due to Floyd - she showed Brits can also put on a judicious display of directional, yet commercial clothes.

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
Keira Knightley and Benedict Cumberbatch star in the Alan Turing biopic The Imitation Game

film
Arts and Entertainment

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Radio 4's Today programme host Evan Davis has been announced as the new face of Newsnight

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Pharrell Williams performing on the Main Stage at the Wireless Festival in Finsbury Park, north London

music
Arts and Entertainment
Carrie Mathison returns to the field in the fourth season of Showtime's Homeland

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Crowds soak up the atmosphere at Latitude Festival

music
Arts and Entertainment
Meyne Wyatt and Caren Pistorus arrive for the AACTA Aawrds in Sydney, Australia

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Rick Astley's original music video for 'Never Gonna Give You Up' has been removed from YouTube

music
Arts and Entertainment
Quentin Blake's 'Artists on the beach'

Artists unveils new exhibition inspired by Hastings beach

art
Arts and Entertainment
MusicFans were left disappointed after technical issues
Arts and Entertainment
'Girl with a Pearl Earring' by Johannes Vermeer, c. 1665
artWhat is it about the period that so enthrals novelists?
Arts and Entertainment
Into the woods: The Merry Wives of Windsor at Petersfield
theatreOpen-air productions are the cue for better box-office receipts, new audiences, more interesting artistic challenges – and a picnic
Arts and Entertainment
James singer Tim Booth
latitude 2014
Arts and Entertainment
Lee says: 'I never, ever set out to offend, but it can be an accidental by-product'
comedy
Arts and Entertainment
tvThe judges were wowed by the actress' individual cooking style
Arts and Entertainment
Nicholas says that he still feels lucky to be able to do what he loves, but that there is much about being in a band he hates
musicThere is much about being in a band that he hates, but his debut album is suffused with regret
Arts and Entertainment
The singer, who herself is openly bisexual, praised the 19-year-old sportsman before launching into a tirade about the upcoming Winter Olympics

books
Arts and Entertainment
music
Arts and Entertainment
Jon Cryer and Ashton Kutcher in the eleventh season of Two and a Half Men

tv
Arts and Entertainment
Ben Whishaw is replacing Colin Firth as the voice of Paddington Bear

film
Independent
Travel Shop
the manor
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on city breaks Find out more
santorini
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on chic beach resorts Find out more
sardina foodie
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on country retreats Find out more
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating
    and  

    By clicking 'Search' you
    are agreeing to our
    Terms of Use.

    Noel Fielding's 'Luxury Comedy': A land of the outright bizarre

    Noel Fielding's 'Luxury Comedy'

    A land of the outright bizarre
    What are the worst 'Word Crimes'?

    What are the worst 'Word Crimes'?

    ‘Weird Al’ Yankovic's latest video is an ode to good grammar. But what do The Independent’s experts think he’s missed out?
    Can Secret Cinema sell 80,000 'Back to the Future' tickets?

    The worst kept secret in cinema

    A cult movie event aims to immerse audiences of 80,000 in ‘Back to the Future’. But has it lost its magic?
    Facebook: The new hatched, matched and dispatched

    The new hatched, matched and dispatched

    Family events used to be marked in the personal columns. But now Facebook has usurped the ‘Births, Deaths and Marriages’ announcements
    Why do we have blood types?

    Are you my type?

    All of us have one but probably never wondered why. Yet even now, a century after blood types were discovered, it’s a matter of debate what they’re for
    Honesty box hotels: You decide how much you pay

    Honesty box hotels

    Five hotels in Paris now allow guests to pay only what they think their stay was worth. It seems fraught with financial risk, but the honesty policy has its benefit
    Commonwealth Games 2014: Why weight of pressure rests easy on Michael Jamieson’s shoulders

    Michael Jamieson: Why weight of pressure rests easy on his shoulders

    The Scottish swimmer is ready for ‘the biggest race of my life’ at the Commonwealth Games
    Some are reformed drug addicts. Some are single mums. All are on benefits. But now these so-called 'scroungers’ are fighting back

    The 'scroungers’ fight back

    The welfare claimants battling to alter stereotypes
    Amazing video shows Nasa 'flame extinguishment experiment' in action

    Fireballs in space

    Amazing video shows Nasa's 'flame extinguishment experiment' in action
    A Bible for billionaires

    A Bible for billionaires

    Find out why America's richest men are reading John Brookes
    Paranoid parenting is on the rise - and our children are suffering because of it

    Paranoid parenting is on the rise

    And our children are suffering because of it
    For sale: Island where the Magna Carta was sealed

    Magna Carta Island goes on sale

    Yours for a cool £4m
    Phone hacking scandal special report: The slide into crime at the 'News of the World'

    The hacker's tale: the slide into crime at the 'News of the World'

    Glenn Mulcaire was jailed for six months for intercepting phone messages. James Hanning tells his story in a new book. This is an extract
    We flinch, but there are degrees of paedophilia

    We flinch, but there are degrees of paedophilia

    Child abusers are not all the same, yet the idea of treating them differently in relation to the severity of their crimes has somehow become controversial
    The truth about conspiracy theories is that some require considering

    The truth about conspiracy theories is that some require considering

    For instance, did Isis kill the Israeli teenagers to trigger a war, asks Patrick Cockburn