NYFW: HUGO BOSS S/S 2016

Hugo Boss by Jason Wu, S/S 2016
Hugo Boss by Jason Wu, S/S 2016

I’m not a huge fan of white colored clothing. I understand why it’s attractive for summer, reflecting heat and such away from the body. The problem comes in the inability to keep it clean. Summer is a time for fun and almost anything one’s doing that is enjoyable is going to risky for wearing white. Going to a barbecue? You’ll spill sauce. Attending a ballgame? Watch out for the condiments on that hot dog. A picnic in the park? Grass stains. With all the risks that exist, it just doesn’t make much sense to wear white to many spring/summer events, especially if those clothes require dry cleaning. However, the white and bone colored pieces from this Hugo Boss collection by Jason Wu are well worth the risk. You want to be seen in these clothes.

This is the second season in a row where one can easily get the impression Wu is putting more creative effort into the Hugo Boss line than his own eponymous label. These are clothes that are sharp looking, with clean lines and a professional appeal, a very contemporary take on  folds and fasteners (most of which are completely hidden), and strong on femininity. These are clothes that have shape, admire curves, and demand attention, but at no time are they gaudy, inappropriate, or too casual. These are clothes that come with a high price tag and demand careful care and cleaning, but the quality with which they are created and the strength of the look they provide are worth the price, care, and attention.

What one is going to notice is this collection is a lot of fringe, but not in the way that 70s-styled fringe dominated that era. The fringe here is carefully placed, accenting a specific area. One white jacket has almost a western-style look with the long fringe, but the fringe is only on the right side lapel and hems. Other times they’re short tiers that give the dress a deceptive sense of movement. At no point is the fringe so excessive as to be gauche.

One will also notice a severe absence of sleeves, except in the jackets. While not every piece is sleeveless, where they do exist they are sheer which provides in some cases a stronger visual contrast that if there were no sleeve at all. Bare shoulders have proven to be a very strong trend this season and this collection is not short of them. Most anything one finds here is going to be cool and comfortable even in the hottest part of summer. Just be careful to not get the sunscreen on the delicate fabrics (yet another summertime wardrobe danger).

The entire collection isn’t white, either. There are some wonderful yellow pieces, a couple of reds, blues, and even some black. Yet, it’s the whites that really stand out and are perhaps the most appealing. While the bone-colored pieces might be most practical, there are some bleach-white pieces, sharp and crisp, that jump out and demand attention.

Where Wu comes up short, unfortunately, is in the diversity of his runway, yet again. Out of 41 looks, only five were worn by non-caucasian models, and one of those was light enough we had to check the agency list to make sure. This is worse than what we saw with his own collection, and no, seating actress Lupita Nyongo on the front row next to Hugo Boss CEO Claus-Dietrich Lahrs doesn’t make up for it. We’re only giving them a two on our scale of ten.

I really like where Jason is going with this Hugo Boss collection, and it seems his employers would agree. Maybe next season he’ll bring some of his creativity here back over to his own label.


Photo credit: Yannis Vlamos
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