“How the West Was Won”

Is it my imagination or is everything heading west these days (both literally and figuratively), particularly where fashion is concerned? The garment center has always been located on Manhattan’s West Side (on Broadway and 7th Avenue); Bryant Park, the centralized locale for many seasons, is west of 5th Avenue on Avenue of the Americas and Lincoln Center is off 8th. But in the past few years, showrooms and show venues have increasingly been relocated to the far far west (10th Avenue and beyond). In fact, if they were any further west, they’d be in the Hudson River (I don’t want to give designers any ideas lol). Even the venerable publishing giant Conde Nast moved its headquarters and fashionable flock from 4 Times Square to One World Trade perched at the tip of Manhattan on the West Side Highway.

And what about Carolina Herrera, a designer whose aesthetic is far more in keeping with the elegant Upper East Side than downtown and far west? She had been showing at the Frick Museum for the last three seasons. Located on 5th Avenue, it’s just steps away from her Madison Avenue store and within walking distance of her apartment (and those of most of her well-heeled customers). But this season, she opted for a decidedly grittier unfinished space at 25 Little West Street located in the hip cool and happening meatpacking district.

Does this mean her collection for fall 2017 was any more hip, cool, and happening than before? Well, she did open the show with black flat ankle boots and used them with many of the pieces (she showed a smattering of black flats and low heels in addition to higher heels). There was more of an emphasis on daywear, knitwear (though I don’t think one goes to Carolina to buy a chunky knit pullover), and sportswear including numerous iterations on the white shirt (decorated with ribbon and bows and shown with black skirts and, in one case, black pants (white shirts are a CH signature that she wore when she took her bow). In place of entrance making grand ball gowns, there were floaty gossamer pleated chiffon tea length dresses and a few cape dresses to take their place.

Speaking of Herrera, I don’t have to go into the details of the drama surrounding the lawsuit filed by Carolina suing Oscar de la Renta in an attempt to block Laura Kim from joining the company until April. Kim, who had been named senior vice president of design at Herrera earlier this year, and Fernando Garcia are of course, the new creative directors at Oscar de la Renta, and of Monse (a label which is known for their creative way with shirts), and last night, they staged a back to back showing of both collections (a first here in New York), down at Skylight Clarkson, one of the most popular west side venues.

Oscar de la Renta Fall/Winter 2017

Monse was presented first (I didn’t love it as much as in past seasons: there was a lot going on and at times, it was very distracting). Then they unveiled Oscar. My overall impression was that while it was certainly more visual and had more oomph than Peter Copping’s quieter vision, it was like Oscar on steroids, a bit too much of everything: a bit too crass, a bit too colorful. I didn’t care for the prints, and it was lacking in a certain chic elegance and taste level that defined the company under the direction of Mr. de la Renta. They tried too hard to translate the house’s signatures and make them young and out there.

Rosie Assoulin

Do you know who I think would have been (or would be) a great fit for Oscar? Rosie Assoulin, a  young American designer who consistently churns out beautifully fabricated and perfectly proportioned day wear and evening wear that is personal, whimsical, always surprising and whose approach to glamour is quirky and most importantly, thoroughly modern.

Calvin Klein boots

Tommy Hilfiger took “Go West Young Man” (and young woman) to another level. He left the east coast to show on the west coast this season (Los Angeles to be exact). But for those designers who remained in New York, several (such as Adam Lippes) seemed inspired by western wear. At the top of this list is Raf Simons in his debut collection for Calvin Klein. It was hard not to notice that almost every outfit (for both the women and the men) was accessorized with snazzy cowboy boots punctuated with gleaming silver toes.

Proenza Schouler

While Proenza Schouler’s collection, which was presented on Monday, was hardly Western themed, the snazzy low heeled pointy toed shoes which were worn by their models as they sauntered down the runway, looked like a chic, artistic riff on cowboy boots.

Of course, cowboy boots, or anything else for that matter, are never “in” or “out”. When something’s good it’s good, period. They just represent another option. If you don’t want to wait until next season to add a bit of western to your wardrobe (and a little goes a long way), this is a roundup of some of my favorite western boots which are available right now. None are run of the mill though some are more jazzed up than others, and they all have one great thing in common: with their low heels, they are truly made for walking! Of course, this is irrelevant where the West Coast is concerned because everyone drives (even for a few blocks LOL!)

Fausto Puglisi black white leather cowboy boots, $368 (55% off original price)

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Fausto Puglisi embellished cowboy boots, $474 (55% off original price)

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Golden Goose Deluxe Brand red patent leather cowboy boots, $1210 

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Golden Goose Deluxe Brand gold toned leather cowboy boots, $900 

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Saint Laurent Rock 40 ankle boots, $1295 

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Isabel Marant Etoile Dallin army green calf suede cowboy boots, $544 

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Givenchy brogue detail cowboy boots $1395 

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Toga Pulla Buckled Cowboy Boots black leather and black calf $485 

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Ariat Desperado western boot with stitching and embroidery, $160.00

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– Marilyn Kirschner

Marilyn Kirschner

I am a long time fashion editor with 40+ years of experience. As senior market of Harper's Bazaar for 21 years I met and worked with every major fashion designer in the world and covered all of the collections in Paris, London, Milan and New York. I was responsible for overall content, finding and pulling in the best clothes out there, and for formulating ideas and stories.

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