After attending the Women’s March in Washington, Jonathan Simkhai was determined to deliver a collection that conveyed strength, power and equality for women. To wit: Every front-row guest at the show received a T-shirt that said “FEMINIST AF” — they sell for $95 on his web site with all proceeds going to Planned Parenthood, and Simkhai also donated $5 to the organization for every seat in the house. Throw in an Old World Spanish influence — in which Simkhai cited matadors, regal cathedrals and tony Spanish nobility as references — and he found himself a match for fall.
Victoria’s Secret Angel Romee Strijd opened the show in a look that set the mood, marching down the runway in a cropped bull-fighter bolero with sharp, commanding shoulders, metallic grommets and elaborate embroidery. For the same vibe, sans ornate embellishment, Simkhai offered a pair of tailored matador jackets in simple black and white, with ruffled cuffs to keep things from getting too machismo.
A few of his looks could’ve benefited from that sense of restraint, particularly a series embroidered lace and feathered crystal dresses, which certainly recalled Spanish queens but felt a bit overwrought. More elegant in the dress category was a rust satin gown with a flouncy ruffled hem, worn with a lush, cropped mink fur. Simkhai’s separates conveyed a softer, more relaxed take on sensuality, as in ruffled off-the-shoulder tops and sheer chiffon blouses paired with embroidered jeans or leather skinnies.