NEW YORK NEW YORK

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New York is in a constant state of evolution, and while there are timeless icons worth revisiting, each year brings a steady flow of new elements to experience. From the themes of wanderlust and cultism that defined the Spring/Summer 2018 season at New York Fashion Week, to the architectural depth engraved in the city’s DNA, New York is a city that is at its best when designers in different fields are let loose in the department of pure creativity. Travel with me, between the fine lines that unite design, fashion and architecture…

In a city filled with stunning skylines there is no doubt that the people of New York City have a love for architecture. From cloud-busting towers to stolid brownstones, the dense and diverse skyline is filled with offices, residences, civic institutions, churches and museums in a vast array of architectural styles. Who, for instance, hasn’t stood in awe of the Empire State and Chrysler Buildings or marvelled at the sight of the Guggenheim? Indeed, while NY is filled with attractions and distractions, it is its buildings that define the city. New York’s very history is written in glass, steel and stone.

 

Architecture & Design Capital

Recently, while attending the Enmateria Specs IX Encuentro Internacional de Arquitectura, in Santiago de Chile, I had the great pleasure of attending a conference by Daniel Libeskind. Libeskind is poetic in his love for what architecture can achieve. The way in which he expressed the design and meaning behind the original Ground Zero Master Plan was captivating, and standing in Lower Manhattan, everything made sense. Libeskind spoke emotively, translating the feelings that pervade this sacred piece of land into a three-dimensional corollary. Central to his design was a 70-foot-deep pit that exposed two raw and potent symbols, the bedrock of the site and the famous slurry wall that withstood the assault. The geometries of that day and that hour—the paths of the fire trucks, the angles of the sun—ordered his site plan and the placement of the towers, on whose angular surfaces and faceted shapes the geometries were inscribed. His desire to bring the Niagara Falls to New York was the inspiration behind the design of the waterfalls that cascade into the center, clouding the actual depth, but giving the impression that it disappears. Water that renews, replenishes, heals, and, in Libeskind's words, is a space to witness the resilience of America. Libeskind was the sole designer whose original scheme earned first place because he endowed his project with the most fragile architectural quality, aura.

Spanish architect's Santiago Calatrava design World Trade Center Transportation Hub opened in the Spring of 2016. From its initial design through to its final completion, the project proved to be arduous for its symbolism, its physical complexity, as well as for the number of commuters it would need to accommodate. Last year, the interior of the Oculus (as it's commonly known) opened the Westfield World Trade Center mall, featuring 365,000 square feet of retail space. Envisioned by Calatrava to symbolize a dove released from a child’s hand, the Oculus is situated at an angle in contrast to neighbouring buildings and even the entire grid of the city, thereby allowing the light to shine directly overhead and for the sun to move across its axis exactly on September 11th each year.

Fashion Week Mayhem

On the catwalk, a mix of established and emerging brands shook up the schedules. Although we welcomed scattered showers, bursts of sunshine and that special city blend of heat and humidity (that could have made for an unpleasant combination for those trying to dash around the fashion circuit,) the crowd was familiar with the challenge and equipped to handle it with grace. How to style it out? Loose, floaty wrap dresses; practical jumpsuits; playful leopard-print pieces – these are the secret weapons of the season. 

This year was marked with the return of old favourites (Proenza Schouler and Rodarte were back after three years in Paris) and the big anniversary celebrations: Ralph Lauren's 50th, Escada's 40th, Longchamp's 70th; with the latter two making their New York debut, also. Optimistic palettes was the strongest trend for Spring Summer 2019, where Kate Spade, Carolina Herrera, Sies Marjan, Boss and Escada all went big on pastel hues and punchy primary brights. For next season, think fewer florals and more block bold colours.

A visit to the Victoria´s Secret atelier showroom in Fifth Avenue was a must, showcasing the Balmain for Victoria's Secret collection. This year's lingerie extravaganza show will officially relocate back to its home in New York, where it all started in 1995.  

Some of this year's most stylish fashion afterparties were held at the PhD Terrace at Dream Downtown. Imagine an exquisite panoramic Manhattan skyline view with direct lines of sight to the Hudson River and Empire State Building. The SoHo Grand Hotel, an ever-popular choice, has remained one of Manhattan’s most stylish outposts for celebrities and scenesters alike, as well as The Blond at the 11 Howard Hotel, a stylish place to kick off a night in NY, as its dark woods, low lighting and bronze masks glint in the shadows. To end the night, 1 Oak is the place of choice for celebrities looking for a good time in New York.

Anna Bianca