Of course, it’s possible that he meant for the slip dresses to hang so low on the models’ breasts that they were constantly in danger of full exposure. If so, he would have misjudged the current cultural moment to a nearly unimaginable extreme.
Besides, the fact “Pussy power” was on a handbag would argue against that idea.
Mr. Ford has had a lot on his plate: 48 hours before his women’s show, he held a men’s wear show in the same space, used in part to introduce his new underwear line — so it’s possible he was simply plundering his own archive. And as a designer who has often been at his best when he is using fashion to philosophize on the subject of sex (or Puritanism or hidebound morality), he may have struggled with how to express himself at a time when the topic has become a public minefield.
But it’s too bad, because as one of the few names left in an increasingly barren and low-key New York Fashion Week who has the ability to create real electricity on the runway — to wake you up with identity-defining clothes — he had the opportunity to set the agenda. Instead, he used a lot of glitter, The Pointer Sisters (on the soundtrack), Zayn Malik and Julianne Moore (in the audience), and big-cat double entendres to comb over a lack of ideas.
Not that there were so many elsewhere. The big news of Day 1 was the sudden and inexplicable ubiquity of … orange. And not Trump-skin-orange; Florida orange.
Or rather safety-signal orange on the Colovos runway in the form of a terrific quilted parachute parka, and Day-Glo orange in Jeremy Scott’s mash-up of “The Fifth Element”-meets-“The Flintstones”-by-way-of-Popples-and-bondage, where the big takeaway was: thigh-high moon boots! (So far, both Mr. Ford and Mr. Scott are over the recent ‘90s revival and back in the ’80s.)
The color was most convincing, however, at Narciso Rodriguez’s tiny, not trying-so-hard 20th anniversary show. There, among the 17 tightly edited combinations of pleated trousers, tapered at the ankle; double-face jackets in contrasting shades; and vaguely Star Wars-military tunics was one Tropicana cashmere coat, shoulders dropped and sleeves belled to create an almost classical curve. It wasn’t a major statement, but in its quiet control and grace, it had juice.