If this New York Fashion Week season has revealed anything, it’s how resilient designers and New Yorkers are in the face of adversity. It’s a wonder that designers were even able to produce collections for spring with earlier factory and studio closures stemming from the pandemic.
Cue Stacey Bendet, who sought to celebrate that resilience and New York’s creative energy through a video and pop-up dance performance on 14th Street and Ninth Avenue — socially distanced, of course, with dancers wearing striped, printed and lace masks matching the season’s patterns — in one of the few live displays of the week.
“I wanted to put together some amazing, talented, creative women and let them express the clothing,” she said of bringing the clothes to life in a season of look book presentations. She cast dancers and violinist rocker Margot of The Dolls wearing the collection’s newfound casual ease, spotlighting the comfort and movement inherent to trackpants, stretchy jeans or fully embroidered pants in looks styled as “casual on bottom, party on top.”
Bendet worked to change the sensibility and expectations of what people think of the brand (feminine, dressy, party attire) to make it more wear-at-home. Scuba-like track pants with a soft hand touch were matched to a beaded blazer; romantic blouses with beautiful trims were cut almost like lightweight jackets with a Seventies elan, and all the pants for the season were cropped because “I decided if there was one thing COVID-19 did it was to end high heels,” Bendet said jokingly. Stretch vegan leather pants lined with a buttery suede and cargo pants with a ribbed waist rounded out the designer’s take on casual and feminine attire.