Sophistication, not athleisure, dominates women's wear at NYFW

New York - Athleisure has been dominating the fashion industry for the last year, and it was a trend that was expected to continue through this Fashion Week. After day 4 of NYFW, there appears to be as little trace of athleisure as possible in these collections. This season, sophistication has returned in traditional form to the runways, where even the designers that would be expected to do athleisure have turned a new leaf.

Maxwell Osborne and Dao-Yi Chow of Public School, who made their name off streetwear inspired clothing, went for the glamour this season, as they sent several looks down the runway that looked red carpet or corporate girl worthy in comparison their usual aesthetic of casual American street style. Never in the history of fashion has a design team managed to so successfully transition to a more traditionally high-fashion aesthetic, but for a duo who has a CFDA award under their belt, this should come as no surprise. From their first look, a white crepe sachey long vest with white crepe embroidered deblush pants, a new Public School was introduced, and given the audience's pleasant reaction, it was hopefully just a taste of what's to come moving forward.

Lie Sangbong stayed true to his classic refined aesthetic with one of his signature looks being a black asymmetrical button-up dress, in addition to having several printed silk pieces that were the pinnacle of chic edginess. Metallic blues were also a major part of his collection, while metallic in general seems to be a growing runway trend. Sangbong is one of those designers who will always hold true to wanting to dress the highly sophisticated woman, and would never stray into the realm of athleisure.

Sophistication, not athleisure, dominates women's wear at NYFW

Classic sophistication returning to the runways

Also in the realm of chic edginess was Georgine. Designer Georgine Ratebald, who dedicated her show to Argyrios Petkanas, one of the most acclaimed furriers in New York, somehow managed to successfully integrate fur into her spring/summer collection. It was a rare feat that very few designers could accomplish as fur is usually restricted to fall/winter collections, but between her dress with yellow fur sleeves, and her skirt and blouse paired with a purple and pink fur trench there was virtually nothing to complain about with this collection. Ratebald also went heavy on the sequins and lace for this collection, proving she has an excellent eye and skill for adding details.

The star of the night and the epitome of sophistication was easily Prabal Gurung. The designer opened his show with a group of monks saying a prayer to bless a show that was a blessing to the audience's eyes. Gurung, whose collection was dedicated to his homeland of Nepal which was devastated by the earthquakes 2 years ago, wanted to do a collection that would combine elements of Nepal with elements of his new home, New York.

The designer collaborated with India-based Nepalese artist Laxman Shrestha to create a collection that fused the worlds of their Nepalese culture and high fashion. The level of construction done on this collection was so impressive, you would think it was something that was over three years in the making. Take for example the porcelain silk organza coupe holi powder brushstroke jacquard halter top and porcelain holi powder brushstroke print silk charmeuse t-shirt dress with hand-tacked asymmetric draped hem. Garments like these would take almost as long to make as a couture dress.

It was one of the most heavily detailed collections to go down the runway at NYFW, and for a designer who described his collection as a "personal gesture of gratitude", we should be grateful to him for sending such astoundingly incredible fashion pieces down the runway. If there was a lesson in how to create a ready-to-wear collection with couture level construction, Gurung would be the ultimate man to learn from.

So, while athleisure has seemed to be owning the fashion scene for quite some time, classic sophistication is making its return to the runways. The era of old school glamour is returning, and people will be dressing better than ever. It might be time to hang up the joggers and make room for the silk crepe dresses.

photo1:Public School via New York Magazine
photo2:Prabal Gurung via New York Times