Once upon a time, the opening day of New York Fashion Week was pretty busy. While we still have a couple of important shows this evening, the first part of the day has been disturbingly quiet. not showing any signs of any excitement until Shaikha Noor Al Khalifa and Shaikha Haya Al Khalifa showed their very light and breezy Noon By Noor collection. We’re not accustomed to the week getting off to such a slow start and some of what we’ve seen gives us pause for concern.
For example, we’ve seen an unusually high number of empty seats at several of the early shows. Typically, bloggers and influencers are clamoring for tickets to anything whether they are familiar with the designer or not. We’ve not seen that level of enthusiasm yet, though. Our best guess is that the few big names are getting all the attention, leaving smaller and newer labels with less interest.
There were also several brands new to the NYFW main venue at Spring Studios and Industria. New York has a diverse international draw and we are seeing some of those brands take to Gallery II at Spring Studios for the first time. That hasn’t worked well for everyone. Australian streetwear brand Nana Judy, for example, uses a family dalmatian as their mascot. Two mistakes were made. First, they brought the dog onto the runway. This is always a precarious situation as few dogs are trained to handle the lights and the noise. This poor pup wasn’t ready and its anxiety was painfully obvious through the whole walk. The second mistake was asking a model to handle the dog. To say she struggled is an understatement. Hopefully, should they return next season, the designers won’t make the same mistake again.
Noon By Noor was the one constant in the early shows. While the Bahrain-based label has yet to develop a tremendous following in the US, Noor and Haya do a very good job of creating attractive, clean, and interesting clothes that hit the middle-of-the-road aesthetic. I say every season that women in the Midwest would do well to acquaint themselves with this brand and what they showed this morning emphasizes that opinion.
This season, they’re going with a soft blue/white combination for a majority of the collection. Spring/Summer in Bahrain is just a tad bit warmer than what we typically experience in the US and the women create clothes for this season that handle the summer heat well without wilting. Silhouettes are loose and flowing. Shoulders have gentle slopes. Patterns are modest and even the most ambitious pieces come off as a bit simple compared to what we see from larger houses.
As a result, we get a white sweatshirt with a striped skirt that buttons down the front, a floral print dress that looks deceptively like a jumper at first glance, cropped tops, cropped jackets, and some very interesting pieces with sheer panels. The looks are contemporary enough to be on trend but avoid going over-the-top in any direction. The collection is immensely wearable and, given some of the constraints of their home audience, even a little edgy in places.
The rest of the morning and into the first part of the afternoon, though, was a sleeper and we’re not accustomed to seeing that from NYFW. This goes back to my premise that the runway is all but dead for most designers. The benefits are severely limited.