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Refinery29 Dispatch: Wednesday's Shows

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Here, Refinery29 weighs in on the shows that took place yesterday, the first official day of Fashion Week. And now, what you need to know about Wednesday's runways.

Screwball glamour ruled at Vena Cava's spring collection. Witty Kate Hepburn in all her lithe glory would go wild for the long, chiffon gowns nipped at the waist while quirkier Annie Hall would don the high-waisted white shorts and the sheer, collared shirts. Black-and-white images of old movie stars from Kenneth Anger's Hollywood Babylon mingled with models in graphic beer-can printed jumpers and flowing skirts with a giant typewriter print. Designers Sophie Buhai and Lisa Mayock's signature loveliness prevailed, mixed with a jigger of kooky flirtation and a dash of boyish good looks.

Forget the trashbags. Under the tent, the thinking woman's fave presented his vivid, innovative vision of a formalware party upended, torqued and then shoved through a blender. ALEXANDRE HERCHCOVITCH outfitted many of his women with amputated tux lapels worn as neckpieces and men's formal cuffs accented by silver chains. The first half of the show featured low-hipped trousers, bisected tailcoats and simple tops all in familiar tux shades. The tail-end of the line offered a flash of color with feathered cocktail dresses turned upside down and backward and a bold red and black combo where the contrasting colors met on a bias cut. The tailoring was, as always, immaculate. Still, there was more stunt than substance here— something rarely said of the daring Herchvovitch.

Stepping away from the dark, brooding collection that propelled them to new fame last season, Britain's RAG & BONE presented a softer line for summer. Of course, the team still managed to work in a sense of nervous energy (was it the Radiohead blasting over the runway or just the race-inspired piped tailoring?) This was a sportsman's collection, with aviator's trousers, high-ankled pants and desert colors. The women's looks were knife-sharp but, as always, it was the men's suits that stood out. There was a new hint of prep in this collection, but, as ever, Rag & Bone manages to look both dandy and dangerous.

Last night the North Cabana at the Maritime buzzed with fashionable Brits (including Jacquetta Wheeler and Agnes Deyn), as Londoners (and some New Yorkers) came out to support one of their own: SUE STEMP. The collection was titled “Desordre Anglais,” playing off the eccentric and quirky girls that stroll the streets of London. Stemp played on the difference between day and night fashion: for daytime she went more bohemian, with lots of white, magenta, and turquoise tied into bold prints and patterns. For night, the mood was darker, with loose-fitted frocks in black and various metallics.

GEN ART, that yearly review of up-and-coming hits and misses, introduced six new fashion imprints to buyers, press and the public today. Debuts from DAGMAR, YOUNG MEAGER, GRACE SUN, WHISTLE & FLUTE and DELPHYNE GUIRAUD were all met with eyes eager to see the promising upstarts. Standouts MOOKA KINNEY impressed a few with their whimsical doo-wop jumpers and A-line dresses, BENSONI snapped up new fans with flowing ruffled gowns and painted linen jackets and, perhaps most notably, men's label A-Z took on the daunting task of fashioning raincoats for a debut collection.

High above the Hudson River in a vast, glass-encased photo studio, a crowd gathered for Yigal Azrouel's spring/summer goods. Inspired by decadent '70s summer Americana, the deft Azrouel injected a bit of rebellion and extreme sensuality into traditional summer dresses and trousers. Goddess gowns felt sporty with racerback styles and loose, floor-skimming shapes, gauzy T-shirts and knits took on a more glamorous vibe paired with chunky jeweled neckpieces and oversized bonnets. For men, weekend-wear went a little bit dandy in the way of sports jackets paired with washed linen scarves and fantastic oversized cardis accompanied by big overnight bags. Wherever Azrouel's summering next year—we wanna go to.

Visions of fairies emerged at Bryant Park when Erin Fetherston debuted her spring/summer "Flights of Fancy" collection. Returning with her signature frothy, feminine mystique and a bit of whimsy, Fetherston's collection included delicate details like pintuck pleats, high waistlines, and lots of decadent ruffled hems. Washed out oyster grays, soft whites, modest prints, and delicate metallics kept her palette subdued and light as air. Like characters in an ethereal dream, models covered in white eyeshadow and lashes lent to an air of fantasy where Aphrodite-inspired one-shoulder frocks were topped with coral tiaras and headdresses that were nothing short of magical.

Photo from Vena Cava's show via