A unique voice at New York Fashion Week, Oxford Fashion Studio staged a combined runway show featuring an array of both established and up-and-coming designers. This season’s lineup for Autumn/Winter 2020 included Christy + You, Manishii, Rene’ Tyler, Samantha Darryanto, MATT SARAFA, Mayan the Label, Poli & Jo, Na Yeong Baek, NadineByNadia, and MVR.
The show opened with Na Yeong Baek, a 2019 Fashion Institute of Technology graduate whose designs are rooted in airy, minimal silhouettes. Colored in muted neutrals, asymmetry permeated the collection. Beyond the angular cutouts and deconstructed bucket hats, much of the collection felt unfortunately grounded in its design, with little measure taken for innovation.
Next was India-based label Manishii. The brand’s signature embroidery was present throughout the collection, complementing fringe and metallic embellishments. While each look was promising on its own, the collection lacked overall cohesion.
Matt Sarafa came next and displayed what was the standout collection for the evening. The current UCLA student and former “Project Runway: Junior” contestant is no stranger to New York Fashion Week, and this season proved his aesthetic as quintessentially New York. Audience attention swelled with his very first look and continued as he presented black furs, varsity-striped sweaters and sheer crystal capes.
Samantha Darryanto presented a series of flowing dresses in light neutrals. The light fabrics and limited covering of the body put into question the collection’s viability for Autumn/Winter. Darryanto’s closing piece, however, defined what a closing piece should aspire to be: a chic white dress with an oversized matching architectural appliqué across the front.
Saudi Arabian Mayan the Label then showed a collection that echoed a downtown, laid-back attitude. Narrow sunglasses hid the faces of models wearing dark, moving robes and unstructured topcoats, all stylish and wearable.
The only designer of the evening displaying plus-size fashion, Rene’ Taylor, presented a disappointing series of gowns that seemed devoid of forward-thinking. Fabrics, including a generic houndstooth print and prom-like metallics, felt more suitable for a small town boutique than the fashion capital runway.
Poli & Jo presented the only men’s looks of the show, a series of well-tailored aviator suits with matching forest green bags. Female models wore similar attire, and while the similarity of each look might cast a slight feeling of monotony, the collection demonstrated a strong potential for streamlined, utilitarian design comparable to Todd Snyder.
NadineByNadia showed a series of satin and tulle gowns against an intense rock soundtrack that provided a tension for the otherwise simple garments. Most were accessorized with heavy chains, that feels rather passé on the runway.
MVR’s collection was most suitable for winter, offering puffy jackets against voluminous pants and zippered headpieces. Proportions were exceptional and a finale jacket with dangling straps reinforced the idea that MVR may one day be to womenswear as Craig Green is to menswear.
Closing the show was CHRISTY + You, who deconstructed familiar menswear tropes to create a blend between the spheres of menswear and womenswear. Tartans prevailed and garments like a dress bonded with the front of a blazer established Christy + You’s ambition while reaffirming that this would not be a boring menswear-inspired collection exclusively featuring pantsuits.
Obviously, a show of this scale is not without its hiccups. While taste levels and materials sometimes felt flat, the shining moments of potential seemed to compensate for this. If anything is to be taken from the show, it is that designers are still clamoring to reclaim New York as a fashion hub to be revered, and that designers really want people to wear fringe this season.
Read more of WSN’s New York Fashion Week coverage here. Email Chad Evans at [email protected]