New York’s Spring 2024 Runways Redefine What Cool Means

New York’s Spring 2024 Runways Redefine What Cool Means

From joyful kitsch to severe minimalism, New York continues to set the standard of cool



Among all the world’s fashion capitals, New York remains to be the sole arbiter of cool.


Think about it: If Paris has its mastery over haute couture and Milan does earthy sensuality like no other, it’s at New York Fashion Week that we find out what cool, envelope-pushing dressing means for the fashion season. Maybe it’s the emphasis on good ol’ American sportswear, or the city’s penchant for nursing the talents of young, emerging designers, but when it comes to cool, New York has it covered.


This season in particular, cool no longer has one singular look. Fashionistas aren't limited to beat-up leather jackets and the perfect pair of jeans—what now constitutes as cool can be seen in a myriad of aesthetics. After all, New York is a city with a thousand subcultures. So whether you’re a coquette girlie in love with all things saccharine-sweet, a strict minimalist who prefers to keep it stark, or a high-glam baddie who has never met a sequin she does not love, the clothes you may be drawn to this season are now the epitome of cool.


Ahead, see how the hottest designers in New York Fashion Week are democratizing cool:


Helmut Lang


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In what was probably New York Fashion Week’s most anticipated show, Peter Do’s debut for Helmut Lang did not disappoint. Most designers may be tempted to leave their own mark and do an aesthetic overhaul when they take over a storied brand, but Do wisely remixed Helmut Lang’s house codes and showed minimalist clothes that are sensual in their bare-bones simplicity. Standouts are the sharp tailoring, the urban graphic prints, and the words of poet Ocean Vuong emblazoned on tees and jackets.


Ralph Lauren


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Making his return to New York Fashion Week since 2019, Ralph Lauren did what he does best—showing preppy, classic basics that speak of wealth and intellect. This season, however, the mood was decidedly more bohemian and decadent. Looking to 70s Studio 54-era glamour for inspiration, models sauntered down the runway in flowing metallic gowns reminiscent of Halston, sumptuous draping, an abundance of big fringe and pieces that were color-blocked to pop. 


Proenza Schouler


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This season, Proenza Schouler designed for the no-nonsense woman in search of good basics. But, we soon find out that this no-nonsense woman likes just a hint of nonsense, after all. Basic pieces like a monochrome pantsuit are accentuated with a leather belt bag; a scarlet knit dress features a detail designed to look like tied sweater sleeves at the bust; skirts are festooned with shimmering paillettes that sparkle with every move; and cocktail dresses are rendered entirely in white netting. These Proenza basics are anything but basic.


Eckhaus Latta


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At Eckhaus Latta this season, the story was sheer—models donned gauzy, transparent garments that not only skimmed the body but revealed it. Heightening this was the element of contrast, as large, bold outerwear cocooned the most delicate sheer garments and made them ready for the street. The outerwear definitely stole the show: from huge metallic leather jackets that add oomph to any outfit to reworked denim pieces made from unconventional materials. The overall effect is sexy, of course, but also commanding.


Sandy Liang


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Coquette girlies, rise—your new wardrobe for the season awaits you. Sandy Liang has amassed a cult following for appealing to downtown girly-girls who aren’t ashamed to express their femininity. This season, her clothes come across as a girly-girl uniform. Pared-down basics like skirts, tees, blazers and even pinafores are rendered in light pastel satin and decorated with several of Liang’s IYKYK-worthy bows. There’s a distinctly 90s point of view being referenced here—it’s girlish, a little juvenile and totally cool.




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While athleisure may be going nowhere, let newcomer label Fforme introduce a new approach to dressing down: luxe-leisure. For their debut collection at New York Fashion Week, the brand was all about sumptuous minimalism, with chic clothing that let the body breathe and move freely. Luxury here isn’t found in adornments or logos—instead, luxury is found in the drape of a coat sleeve or the pleated roominess of silk trousers. There is a languid softness to these ensembles that feels particularly au courant.




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Inspired by Rosemary’s Baby and the moody sensuality of the French New Wave, Altuzarra looked back to the early 60s and sent out looks from a very twee Mia Farrow-like perspective. Tank dresses were paired with large A-line coats reminiscent of Jackie Kennedy, while oversized blazers sat over chic work-ready separates. There was a feeling though of women coming undone: gauzy knit slip dresses were frayed and worn, while the finale bridal looks—featuring tulle babydoll minidresses and full veils—were spooky in the chicest way possible.


Dion Lee


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At Dion Lee, workwear was reinterpreted in a literal sense—and when we say literal, we mean it literally. Wrenches, screwdrivers and hoses served as appliques to sexy corsets and slinky cocktail dresses, while wide-legged trousers featured an outlet you can actually plug in with a cord. The effect should have been campy, but overall read as sensual and cool. The silhouettes were bold and declarative: Bodysuits were paired with oversized hooded jackets and thigh-high boots for an attention-grabbing look that was very downtown-ready.




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This season, Wiederhoeft turned the campy dials all the way to 11. Imagine a fantasy world from a distinctly queer point of view where everything is joyfully exuberant and is oozing kitsch for days. The mood is theatrical, to say the least: Large silk roses turn a glittering evening gown into a stunner, and gorgeous hand beading and sexy corseting abound. We love the brand’s sense of humor in particular: Our favorite look featured a model dressed in Y2K-era boho glamour with a tiered skirt, silk head wrap and a white tank rhinestoned with the word “heiress.”


Brandon Maxwell


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One thing about Brandon Maxwell is that he always consistently designs for that girl. You know her—the one you’ll never catch with a hair out of place, who always looks put together in the most effortless way, whose jewelry choices are always interesting yet tasteful. We see glimpses of this girl from day to night. For the day, she’ll probably pair a floor-length knit dress with a relaxed oversized blazer. And for the evening, she’ll opt for a silk dress with sumptuous draping that flatters in all the right places. She’s effortlessly chic and decidedly cool.


From tasteful minimalism to joyful exuberance, New York Fashion Week proves that there are multiple ways to dress cool this season. The question is: What kind of cool are you?



Words Jer Capacillo

Art Macky Arquilla

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