NY Fashion Week 2016: Rihanna And Jason Wu Among First Acclaimed Designers

New York fashion week has made a star-studded splash in 2016 in its first few days. Vogue turned out a very positive review for Rihanna’s debut Fenty x Puma show, proclaiming, “Rihanna rules the world.” Rihanna’s collection of streetwear for Puma is based on her own personal fashion and style choices, with a strong element of gothic drama capped off with black lipstick on the models, a group that included Lexi Boling, Ruth Bell, and Gigi Hadid.

New York fashion week focuses on American designers and proved a successful venue for Rihanna’s debut. Vogue continued its extensive coverage of Rihanna’s collaboration with Puma by remarking that Gigi Hadid was “unrecognizable,” focusing on the innovation of Hadid’s goth look as it included her makeup, not just her outfit. Her starkly contoured look and black lipstick marked a significant departure from the tamer nude or red lipsticks that she usually pairs with bronzer, and her blonde hair was painted white.

“If the Addams Family went to the gym, this is what they would wear.”

Vogue went on to praise Rihanna’s New York fashion week debut for tapping into and honoring the current trend of “subversive streetwear” in the fashion world, and representing it at fashion week while still infusing her show with her own unique style. Indeed, in a backstage interview with the Associated Press, Rihanna, 27, praised other designers while declining to choose one in particular who had a major influence on her, stating that she would never want to copy another designer’s work.

New York fashion week also proved to be a great experience for Jason Wu, 33, whose collection titled “Immaculate” also premiered to great reviews and lots of press attention. Jason Wu has benefitted immensely from First Lady Michelle Obama’s patronage, particularly because she chose him to design her gown for the inaugural balls following the first inauguration of President Barack Obama in January, 2008.

“I like the idea of these chic strangers walking in the room. You know, filling the room, and immaculately dressed. That was really the point of the collection. It was to really address what she loves and what she desires.”

New York fashion week in 2016 may be known for celebrity-related buzz provided by Rihanna, Kanye West and the Kardashian-Jenner family, but Polo Ralph Lauren has added to the memorable moments in its own way — an Irish setter named Ruaidri (pronounced “Rory”) walked the runway for Polo Ralph Lauren on Friday. This crowd favorite and champion show dog has appeared in previous Ralph Lauren campaigns and was the subject of much blog chatter following his appearance, both amused and bemused. Ruaidri also works as a therapy dog for developmentally disabled adults and autistic children. Vocativ notes that Cara Delevingne’s mixed-breed dog Leo sat front-row at the Chanel show during Paris fashion week and Marc Jacobs’ dog, Neville Jacobs, often makes appearances at fashion week as well — proving that canine attendees and participants are just as memorable as their human counterparts, if not more so.

New York fashion week seems to be the domain of young designers in its first few days this year, bringing the praise for Christian Siriano, 30 — the youngest designer to win reality television contest Project Runway in 2008 — and Alexander Wang, 32, in addition to Rihanna and Jason Wu. Siriano’s work celebrated bright colors and knits during a particularly cold February week for New York City. He stated that textile artist Sheila Hicks was his primary inspiration for this collection, citing an exhibition of hers called “Art of the Yarn.”

Alexander Wang represented the under-35 crowd with a show that the New York Times praised for honing in on the individuality of each model. New York Magazine called it “an overt tribute to rebellion, even more so than usual.” Set in St. Bartholomew’s Episcopal church on Park Avenue, Wang dressed his models in edgy outfits including sheer skirts, coats, and skirts printed with pot leaves, and a sweater with the silhouette of a woman on a stripper pole.

The youthful feel of New York fashion week in 2016 was also reinforced by the attendees in Alexander Wang’s audience, which included Kylie Jenner, Amandla Stenberg, and Solange Knowles.

[Image courtesy of JP Yim/Getty Images]