WOMENSWEAR DESIGNER OF THE YEAR AND ACCESSORY DESIGNER OF THE YEAR

ALEXANDER WANG

Brooklyn.

Alexander Wang might have rocked the proverbial boat by daring to show his fall collection in the borough; still, everyone showed up. That’s a testament to Wang’s status as one of the most exciting talents in New York, a sentiment heightened by his role as creative director of Balenciaga in Paris, and the recent news that the designer would be H&M’s next collaborator.

His past two collections further cemented Wang’s appeal. For spring, he riffed on branding and censorship—as in name logos, the Parental Advisory warning motif—with traditional men’s wear details, or, as he puts it, “utility and function, mixed with traditional sartorial men’s wear elements.

“When I approach the collections, I like to think about it in a less specific context and a connection to something that feels right ‘now,’ yet has a familiarity to it,” he explains. “I constantly strive to build and find a balance between the construction, the design and the approachability to garments.”

The designer’s accessories approach reflects this, too. Case in point: fall’s cool multipocket handbags and fanny packs.

“Similarly to apparel, I don’t have a ‘philosophy,’” Wang says, “but I try to find a sense of the everyday: accessories that complement an urban uniform, providing both function and ease.” — Marc Karimzadeh

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WOMENSWEAR DESIGNER OF THE YEAR

JOSEPH ALTUZARRA

Joseph Altuzarra had a good year. In the first week of September, Kering took a minority investment, estimated at 40 percent, in his five-year-old label. Two days later, he showed a stunning spring collection, a highlight of the four-city season, inspired by the Japanese patchwork technique of Boro and Altuzarra’s now-signature French-American sophistication.

Just as compelling was his fall collection of artisanal craftsmanship and colorful plaid furs.

“We explored new ideas of ease and comfort, while continuing to develop our signature tailoring,” says Altuzarra, who won the 2011 CFDA/Vogue Fashion Fund and 2012 Swarovski Award for Womenswear.

In between the two main seasons came the company’s first expansion enabled by Kering cash: pre-fall. Accessories—handbags and shoes—are next on the agenda. And if his past shoe collaborations with Gianvito Rossi are any indication, killer heels are on the horizon. — Jessica Iredale

MARC JACOBS


“Let’s do what we love, and do a lot of it,” Marc Jacobs says, recalling his approach to spring 2014. His inspiration: the Leading Player of Pippin, who challenges the young royal’s life choices. “This is the way you want to live?” he questions. “No costumes?...No magic!”

Jacobs indeed did “a lot of it,” presenting a treatise on brooding Victoriana with a surfer subplot (the set was a stylized beach, post-catastrophic event) and piles of decorative excess, down to the elaborately wrought sneakers.

Five months later, for fall, Jacobs worked one of his signature dramatic reversals, stripping away the excess, the pilings, the dark froth.

“There’s always a reaction to the thing before,” he says, now embracing the “very light, very soft, very fresh.” He kept his colors cosmetic, his lines languid and decoration to a minimum via gentle hand-painting and filmy organza tiers. His models walked beneath an Armory sky of 400 pillow clouds—at first delightfully fluffy but increasingly ominous as the light changed—to Jessica Lange’s eerie recitation of the Depression-era anthem “Happy Days Are Here Again.”

As different as the collections were, both resonated unmistakably Jacobs, as they channeled the designer’s emotional approach and love of pure fashion into exquisite clothes. — Bridget Foley

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