Costello Tagliapietra advanced their appreciation for organic palettes through an exploration of the AirDye technologies they've been pioneering for several seasons. Abstract blotches of color resembled Pointillist paintings on dresses with swooping necklines, while beiges and fire and ice hues dominated the other half of the collection. As always, au naturel reigned supreme. As always, handled with grace.
Rag & Bone designers David Neville and Marcus Wainwright profess their love for the infamous Paris-Dakar rally – a thrillingly dangerous off-road trek – through their 19th century desert-inspired Spring 2013 collection. Lace tops, linen shirtdresses and lots of drop-crotch trousers were incorporated into the shabby-chic mix; the rigid tailoring of previous collections was bypassed in favor of a roomier, multi-layered fit, setting a popular tone for the Spring season.
Helmut Lang's current creative team, Nicole and Michael Colovos, carry the Austrian-founded brand's torch for sophisticated minimalism, evolving it in 2012 to be relaxed enough to find a home in the contemporary American sportswear vernacular. As other labels have recently done, they experimented with volume and print this season; though there were surgically precise blazers (in grey and white) and skinny shifts, there were also plenty of parachute shapes offered in the form of loose trousers and lengthier skirts. Tattoo artist Thomas Hooper created marine-inspired prints, which translated most pleasingly as an abstract visual detail on jackets.
VPL's Victoria Bartlett added sequins, longer lengths and lots of Memphis-inspired colorblocking to her Spring 2013 vision. Models wore their hair neatly parted and accented with a black vertically striped headpiece (eerily similar coiffure was seen at Alexander Wang later that day), and the overall tone was one of beachy athletic utility.
Prabal Gurung's Spring 2013 collection was based on the liberation of female movement, which meant that the traditionally body-con-friendly designer loosened things up in shape and form this season. The palette was light and airy; key looks included ankle-cresting pants and shirts that boasted a train of fabric behind them. The message was clear: the Gurung woman is a trailblazer, indeed.
Inspired by the photographs of Sarah Moon this season, Robert Geller – a one-time protégé to directional menswear master Alexandre Plokhov – made it clear that Spring's warm optimism was no barrier to keeping his dark, intense vision intact. Black neoprene (fashioned into battle-ready vests), flinty sweaters and scarves make ideal separates for a polar summer, matching the show's steely EBM soundtrack. But the loose baggy shorts and exceptional eyewear are sure to be favorites with urbane males in any geographic region.
While Die Antwoord's and Busta Rhymes' performances at his afterparty will be the thing many rememeber about the Alexander Wang Spring 2013 chapter, there was also the infamous black light moment that brought his impressive runway show to a sudden crescendo. As all the laser-cut, white tailored pieces glowed eerily in the darkness, the fact that Wang designs for the musical youth's day and night adventures couldn't have been made more perfectly clear.
Promising Irish-born newcomer Dean Quinn has already made a case for sophisticated utopianism with a brief, but potent legacy of sleek, muted pastel collections behind him. This season, the palette veered more towards hues of stone and sun and a new emphasis was given to architectural silhouettes. Calvin Klein and Jil Sander should be watching this impressive New Minimalist very carefully.
Dubbed "Acolyte," Alexandre Plokhov's Spring 2013 collection examined the lifestyle dress of Russian Orthodox monks. The Soviet-born designer, once the founder of Vogue-approved cult label Cloak, has enjoyed a successful return to the American runway in recent years, and continues to interpret disciplined silhouettes with an ever-evolving modern eye. He embraces the recent left-field trend towards skirts for men, but his renditions make particular sense contextually. There were plenty of closely-cropped trousers too, and jackets and vests were as lethally sharp as ever, while men's hair and eyebrows were sprayed white or silver. All in all, a fearsome display.
The standard-bearer for American sportswear, Tommy Hilfiger was particularly patriotic this season. Red and white striped pantsuits popped up on the runway, as did sexy swimwear and open-work knits. For the girl who plans to spend her summers at yacht parties off the coast of Martha's Vineyard – in other words, for Hilfiger's perpetual muse.
As Mandy Coon has made clear to Rolling Stone, her collections are always music-inspired, with this season being inspired by music technology in particular. She converted the waveform of a MIDI file into an abstract zig-zag shape that appeared as a laser-cut motif in leather (on pants and slinky tops), while bondage harnesses and zippers accessorized other key looks. Meanwhile, special music from Miike Snow's Pontus Winnberg helped synchronize the show into one concise nightly vision.
Ohne Titel are an especially art-minded duo, and their Spring 2013 show demonstrated how comfortable they've become in interpreting the avant-garde as elegant, aerodynamic, futuristic clothing. Inspired by the work of the Hairy Who print artist, Karl Wirsum, they featured bold geometric patterns and punctuated leather in streamlined shapes. The mood was electric, right down to the icy blues and hot oranges that predominated the palette and the models' makeup.
Mod madness triumphed at Marc Jacobs' Spring 2013 show, which presented a loving tribute to Sixties' It-girls like Twiggy while exploring the possibilities of duotone op-art on the female form. Whatever Jacobs offers generally becomes a steadfast seasonal rule, so expect black and white and stripes all over to dominate red carpets, music videos and retail alike next Spring.
Thom Browne's Fashion Week shows are like no other; This season, it felt like being in a horrifyingly beautiful 1930s funhouse. Tartan post-Edwardian dresses and jackets in both grey and extreme color made up the Spring 2013 collection, but the genius lay in their presentation: creepy Bauhaus period-styled ballerinas in perfect hoop skirts danced to the jarring compositions of Krzysztof Penderecki, while male models that resembled either Klaus Nomi or Karl Theodor Dreyer villains wound the models up, spinning them into orbit.
Inspired by "fantasy hero dress," Rodarte's Laura and Kate Mulleavy showcased dazzling dresses for Spring 2013 that posited their women as future Medieval warriors. Wondrously advanced prints and draping techniques further developed the cult label creators' status as true artistes in their field.
Rad Hourani's strict unisex dress code, usually in black, included a welcome bit of levity this season in a sterling show that celebrated his 5th anniversary at New York Fashion Week. There were supremely executed panels of pink, mathematically juxtaposed against Hourani's usual shadowy and sharp jackets, vests and skinny pants, so when the models marched down the runway in their final looks, they resembled a victorious Kryptonite army.
Betsey Johnson's Cyndi Lauper-aided 70th birthday bash and runway show was also a celebration of all the wardrobe risks that have made Johnson famous: wild punk-ballerina looks, Minnie Mouse tributes, electrified bohemian dresses, bits of Western camp, teapot and gun prints. None of it was in good taste, but all of it was fun and everyone witnessing it was having a ball.
Anna Sui's Spring 2013 show was all about combining her steampunk-youth roots with Victorian-age elegance. Brocade and embroidered tapestries have never looked so fierce or rebellious, particularly when juxtaposed against leather bondage pants and candy raver pink and blue wigs.
Jack McCollough and Lazaro Hernandez cemented Proenza Schouler's status as New York's most capable futurists by reinvigorating the city's trademark sportswear with superbly luxurious and modern twists. They reformatted the denim vest prototype by constructing it in neon python and kept the subtle upgrades coming from there. Supposedly influenced by the random aesthetic discoveries Tumblr can lead to, the duo brought an ad-hoc artistic approach to every element of their Spring 2013 collection. Their busy collision of texturized and woven pieces took influence from modern art and home-spun techniques alike. Along with Rodarte, Proenza Schouler's work indicated that the true future of fashion – and perhaps, all modern creativity – involves rediscovering our roots through digital research and application.