New York based designer Sandy Liang has a strong track record in successfully modernizing traditional feminine fashion; from ballet inspired footwear, to dramatic ruffled skirts to delicate corset tops, her past collections have given exciting new takes on classic womenswear. Her fall/winter collection, which debuted last Friday at the beginning of New York Fashion Week, definitely lived up to this, showcasing dark feminine looks complemented by soft yet bold makeup and accessories.
Liang is no stranger to delivering gorgeous, unique looks at the semiannual event. Her latest spring/summer collection, which debuted at NYFW in the fall, reinvented the idea of the uniform, turning it into mature and powerful pieces. This year, her show matched this inventiveness. The runway, decorated with wooden bookshelves and antique chandeliers, set the tone for the show with a dark, vintage energy suitable for a fall/winter collection. The bright windows and brass vent covers at the venue added to this, creating an atmosphere that exuded New York City interior design — perfectly fitting of a collection showcasing the individual and authentic nature of New York fashion.
The collection uses bows as a central aspect of its looks. Many tiny pink and black bows adorned the models’ hair and were stuck onto the models’ midriffs, surrounded by small gems. Additionally, larger bows were used to tie another model’s hair back. Bows are also abundantly used in this collection’s clothing — covering the front of tops and dresses as well as puffer jackets, in a variation of sizes. These bows are a perfect example of Liang using traditionally feminine accessories in unexpected ways, giving them a new purpose in modern fashion.
Lace and mesh also made small yet significant appearances in the models’ looks. Mesh eye coverings featuring roses embellished some of the models’ faces, creating a masquerade-like appearance that complimented their dresses. Similar mesh roses were also featured on a choker, a very ’90s accessory choice which made the more modern cropped cardigan that it was paired with feel more timeless. Mesh tops and dresses composed of lace contributed to the vintage, angelic feeling of the collection.
The silhouettes of the pieces pointed towards vintage feminine styles as well. Long and mid-length ruffled skirts and dresses, Victorian necklines and puffy sleeves reminiscent of styles dating back to the 1800s somehow still felt modern and fresh paired with accessories like athletic leg warmers and sneakers. Tighter-fitting long sleeved tops and skirts mirroring more recent vintage fashion maintain the collection’s classic elegance while paired with high boots, ballet flats and large bows.
The rich, fresh color palette brought an edge to the softness of the collection as well. Scarlet, black and neutral gray/browns added a layer of harshness to the soft pieces. On the other hand, pastel pinks, light blues and white maintained the themes of styles associated with traditional youthful femininity. The colors create a perfect balance of youthfulness and maturity in the pieces.
Within all of the looks, the models’ makeup contributed greatly to the collection’s special feel. Light, bleached brows gave an otherworldly look to the models, paired with glowy soft eye makeup and light-pink shimmery blush. This was often balanced by bold, dark lips in shades of purple, black and red. The balance of the dark lips and light, glowy eyes reflected the collection perfectly, complementing the dark and modernized takes on soft, established feminine clothing.
Overall, Liang succeeded in creating a vintage-esque style that never felt dated. The team gave the looks a soft element through flowers and bows, flowing silhouettes and pastels, while maintaining their modern, unprecedented edge through darker colors, cropped styles and pieces such as puffer jackets which establish and hold their place in present-day fashion. This collection points to the future of current styles rooted in ballet and dancewear, taking a step further into reinventing pre-existing styles and similar subsets of fashion. Sandy Liang’s New York Fashion Week show is a strong indicator of how today’s styles will evolve over the year, giving exciting insight into which trends are to come.
Daily Arts Contributor Cece Dore can be reached at [email protected].