Ten o’clock in the morning in the middle of New York Fashion Week, and assorted ladies in cocktail finery and well-heeled pumps were filing politely into a ballroom in the Plaza Hotel. Overhead, the crystal chandeliers twinkled; underfoot the carpet was plush. It was Carolina Herrera time, and they were the Herrera crowd, poised to applaud the garden-party brocade ball gowns from the designer Wes Gordon: the bell-shaped frocks in ice cream-social stripes; the Empress Sisi gold-embroidered tastefulness of it all.
The gowns swished by in silk crepe deChine and double-faced duchesse satin — fabrics that were once de rigueur among the fund-raiser set when the Plaza was primarily a local haunt rather than a tourist destination but that had become, Mr. Gordon said backstage, almost an “endangered species.”
He wasn’t wrong.
The final show of the fashion season — the marquee slot, because it’s also the last word — once went to such establishment names as Marc Jacobs and Tom Ford, who would close the week out in the grand environs of the Park Avenue Armory or Lincoln Center. This time around, it went to Luar, among the more celebrated of the city’s emerging names, and was held in Greenpoint, Brooklyn.
Raul Lopez, the Dominican-American designer, called his collection “Calle Pero Elegante.” Translation: “street, but elegant.”
That meant camel coat-dresses with linebacker shoulders. Leather motorcycle jackets with jutting feathers and a fox fur (the real kind) that looped up into a Magdalene-like hood. It meant silver sequins and gangster pinstripes; puffers and bustles and white shirts; the elements of the imagined big time jumbled together and set to the tune of Foxy Brown’s “B.K. Anthem.”
The point, Mr. Lopez said after his show, is that fashion is a form of generational wealth-signaling anyone can access.
“For some white families,” he said, “that means a pearl necklace. For people from the hood, it’s fur. It’s a sneaker. It’s a chain.” He’s looking to create the uniform of a new high society. The realization isn’t quite there. But it’s coming.