Cinq à sept: a French phrase that literally translates to mean ‘five to seven’. Also a fashion buzz word right now used to describe the sartorially indulgent time between work and home, that is 5pm till 7pm. Therefore, it’s an appropriate name for one of tonight’s New York Fashion Week designers and one perfectly applied to the whole evening.
Most anticipated tonight, of course, was Brandon Maxwell. The 34-year old-Texan who, during this last couple of years, has become somewhat of celebrity through design. His refined, elegant pieces being chosen by a calibre of stars extending to Lady Gaga and Meghan Markle. Following tonight’s presentation at the Penn Pavilion, Brandon took to Instagram with a picture of himself and his mother Pat taking a bow on the runway. Alongside it, a heartfelt message that included “This collection is the physical manifestation of the strength my mom and so many women in my life have shown…I am here tonight because of their strength.” So, beyond the face-value of this knock-out-chic autumn winter ’19 collection (that had buyers, editors and influencers busy recording from the front row) Maxwell’s original concept was actually slightly forlorn. A reasoning behind its overarching structured, monochromatic focus.
Looks tonight took on an unexpected 90s Sportmax tone in the form of racer-back dresses, toggle-necked zip-ups and quilted, cropped motos. Waists were primarily cinched by gold-buckeled cummerbund-belts while skirt lengths dipped between A-line minis and silky tubed, pencils. It’s becoming increasingly clear that 90s YSL mixed with Ralph Lauren classicism is in the fashion water at the moment. Parallels are even easily drawn between this and Lauren’s collection from Friday. However, Maxwell stated that the addition of cover-ups and hardware was not so much a ritzy embellishment as it was a representation of armour. “I found myself thinking about the potential of clothes to act like armour against the elements both physical and spiritual.” But before you gasp at the lack of ball-gown-beauty that Maxwell has become so famous for, he didn’t disappoint. Like a pop star digging deep to pump out his bread-and-butter hit, the last part of the collection included movie-star volumed skirting in fuschia, black and pale blue and liquid-languid gowns in a shade of green that will undoubtedly shoot straight to the most-wanted list.
Across town, and way up high, another young designer noted for his work in evening-wear, was showing his new season collection. Unfortunately overshadowed by messy organisation (the show was held at the Top of The Rock leaving hoards of angry invitees waiting in long, long queues to reach the location via the building’s small elevators), Christian Siriano delivered another markedly exciting show. Contrasting futurist metallics with dolly-vintage cuts it drafted a The Matrix meets Some Like It Hot storyline. While this pairing is confusing it is certainly unique. Art Deco silver lamé striping gave looks their pizazz while his use of decorated sheer overlay on A-line party dresses was incredibly wearable. There was an 80s formal dress irony here, too that was not to be denied, with the use of full length velvet, striped organza and folded shoulder-baring necklines. However, irony is quickly overlooked when glamour levels are this high.
The other labels fancifying the after-five today included Self-Portrait, PRISCAvera and much talked about newcomer Cinq à Sept. Each presentation was a refreshing approach to dressing for success. Self-Portrait delivered overt prints by way of gingham and Scandi florals, treated with lace underlays and sequinned mesh. Textures ran rife at PRISCAvera too with slipped satin in floor length gowns (replete with an encompassing head and neck scarf) proving 90s bias dresses are here for another season. At Cinq á Sept a medley of Chinese printed silks played loudly against lavender satins, frothy feathers, op-shop velvets and all-over suited sequins. It was a colour-wheel of texture and tone that, when delivered in a cascade, worked like a vintage-store mannequin still life.
The look for the ‘cinq à sept’ is varied this year. A plethora of cuts and colours that opens the window to opulent styling and individualism no matter what your cocktail hour might bring. Cheers!