I have just spent the past four nights in New York discovering new places to sweat. Thank Coco, Yves, Christian and all the fashion Gods that residual Botox stopped my forehead from resembling Niagara Falls.
Compensation for my back turning into a water slide with a less-than-Kardashian ending is the instant fashion fix gained from wandering the avenues of uptown and crawling for coffee in Greenwich Village.
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For women, the overwhelming influence can be summed up in one word: Gucci. Somehow creative director Alessandro Michele has managed to turn every woman not taking comfort in Normcore white sneakers into a tightrope act, stumbling along sidewalks in towering pumps. The sleek black anonymity exemplified by the Olsen Twins label The Row has given way to the Gucci kaleidoscope of ’70s colours. It’s the perfect antidote to an Australian winter where navy and camel seem to be the only escape from a fashion blackout south of Brisbane.
Michele’s crafty approach has trickled through to the high street and other designers, with emerging labels in Soho making use of vintage fabrics and hand-sewn embellishments. It might be time to breakout the Janome, make a trip to Lincraft and brush up on your sewing skills to stay ahead of the pack.
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If the very idea of trying to push a thread through the eye of a needle has you feeling queasy and reaching for a calming Rose, take the easy option by embracing print. One woman strutting fifth avenue would have had Bill Cunningham’s trigger finger fidgeting in his grave wearing an abstract floral tunic and mod-boho, postmodern tapestry-print ankle boots from Tabitha Simmons.
If you’re a matcha tea-sipping, matchy-matchy girl this is not the season for you. Summer here is about experimentation and fun, which is the perfect antidote to the dreadful news from Turkey, Nice, Baghdad and anywhere Donald Trump makes a speech.
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While the colours and concepts have a ’70s heritage, the execution is definitely still ’90s, just to keep things confusing. Make-up and hair have moved out of the blow dry bars and nail salons, giving way to a raw finish (which takes just as long to achieve, with slightly less hairspray). Then again, this may have had something to do with New York’s notorious humidity where a full face would slide off the second you stepped out of Sephora.
Perversely while women have embraced that undone French style, men are taking hair to new heights. Quiffs and pared-down pompadours are keeping barbers busy, with sides clipped almost as close as a XXX waxing.
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Prints are also popular for lads, with short-sleeved shirts (Thank you Gucci once again) making almost as much noise as Tinder matches in a hotel lobby. The only print to steer clear of is the flamingo, which is fast becoming this year’s pineapple. Meanwhile, jeans are sliced above the ankle with raw threads dangling provocatively.
As for shoes, leather must be kept for the office or the dungeon with oxfords and brogues banished from most restaurants with a waiting list. Custom sneakers have taken over, even if the only wear they get is from Uber to your apartment. It’s a New York fashion fantasy that came to an end the moment I stepped into JFK airport, where the style and sweat both disappear.
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