The show was elaborately staged, set with smoky light, dried leaves and birch trees suspended from the ceiling, their barren branches swinging a little too close to some attendees’ eyes. The spooky forest added atmosphere, though it was unclear what it had to do with the collection. To that end, the clothes were a manifestation of his intense meditation on the phrase “Nothing New.” Backstage, Abloh unloaded a stream of consciousness-style analysis of the notion that fashion is driven by newness. “As creative critics, we all use ‘Is it new? Is it not?’ to define something, but usually it’s just a phrase,” he said. “An invention is what I think is something new.” Instead of striving to invent the fifth element of fashion, he gave himself permission to pursue something new for him and his girl, “the 22/23 year-old-girl at the Mercer Hotel lobby that doesn’t get carded because she looks 28.”
Abloh put more energy into developing a refined, grown-up look anchored in classically feminine shapes, such as the range of tailored plaid, vaguely Sixties jackets and lean pencil skirts that opened the show, and the diaphanous draped and layered blush and nude dresses that came later on. He backed off the obvious street and graphics vibe, slyly breaking up neat suits with hoodies, dressing up redone vintage Levis in nude tulle and crystals, and working his signature black-and-white stripe logo on the lapel of a purple fur coat and the tail of a fur stole.