Here we are in New York among the snow and the weather to enjoy and indulge in the Autumn 2014 fashion week shows from a range of diverse and interesting designers.  After the previous weeks in Milan, Paris and London, New York has pulled out the stops to create and transform once again into the must see destination for a range of labels that are probably better known here in Australia than perhaps some of the reviews that I did from the other shows in recent weeks.  With design houses such as DKNY, Victoria Beckham and such all showing in New York there is something on show for everyone.

Alexander Wang www.alexanderwang.com is one of my favourite forward thinking, trend setting designers showing in New York and his autumn collection did not disappoint.  The show was staged in the old Navy Yard in Brooklyn much to the annoyance of some who were concerned about bad weather hampering their ability to get to the show. But most made it on time and the smart zipped across the water in water taxis!

The show started with rolling claps of thunder and lightning buying into the theme of surviving in an urban landscape.  From the opening look—a  tunic dress over a high-neck rubberized leather button-down that had the kind of pockets you would expect to find on the back of a paratrooper or in a wilderness outfit and the compartment at the side of water-resistant waders, this was clearly a statement of what was to come and what to expect.  Matched with the very masculine looking hair and androgynous forms of the models bringing a very forward thinking look to the complete collection.

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A masculine approach with a soft feminine edge!

This myriad of pockets that could be found on most of the outfits were designed not for a paratrooper but for the modern woman wearing his clothes so she could carry the accoutrements of modern life  like her mobile phone, lipstick and the like.  This outdoor reference came through in more subtle ways, with the unfinished hemlines of a shearling jacket which had the rugged edges of a snow-topped mountainscape. Add to this the look of an almost masculine edge and you have a collection that was both wearable and completely on point with its story and its idea that you can survive in the urban landscape with a practical edge to what you are wearing.

Alexander Wang continues to show his unique ability for forecasting what’s hot and what’s cool and what is now.

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Colour playfully works into the collection along with wading boots with the backs cut out!

And now for another label that if you are in New York you will know but may not if you are here in Perth but I loved this collection from the women behind  Cushnie et Ochs www.cushnieetochs.com .  Carly Cushnie and Michelle Ochs have created a collection that is all woman and shows off the curves and the flesh with draping, see through lace dresses and one of their earlier signatures the bustier.   There is not much room for modesty here and you really need to be comfortable in your own skin to think about wearing many of the pieces in this collection as some of the pieces are very low off the shoulder necklines. There is an inherent sexiness to this collection shown with the use of lux fabrics such as velvet and lace.

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Some of the back story for this collection came from the wild west but a romanticized idea of the wild west mixed with velvet and lace, plus silk crêpe and chiffon. Topping this with custom cowboy hats that could have evolved into a real campiness they avoid this with a strong collection.  The designers wanted to play with richness and texture, and that is exactly what they did. The patent-leather bustier echoes the structure and edginess from previous collections from them, but still offers a glimpse of their new direction.

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This was not all just a collection of dark colours but was infused with teal and blue hues that added some distinction and further style.   It is  when the designers  keep it more simple—as in the case of their black neoprene and velvet handkerchief-hemmed mini dress and a white patent leather and  crepe gown—when they really show their talents.