Lil Nas X makes his New York Fashion Week debut, walking the runway at the Coach fashion show on September 12
New York CNN  — 

Fashion month returned to New York in a big way, with five-and-a-half-days of in-person runway shows including Gabriela Hearst, Prabal Gurung, LaQuan Smith, Collina Strada and Batsheva, hosted in iconic locations around the city.

Carolina Herrera creative director Wes Gordon showed a collection of lush florals inspired by “The Secret Garden” inside The Plaza Hotel in Manhattan, while designer Victor Glemaud presented knits on rollerskating models at Rockefeller Center’s famed rink. Jason Wu’s collection – sheer elegance in beaded gowns and digital prints – showed in a space overlooking the East River at Pier 17 at the South Street Seaport, and Ulla Johnson took over the Beaux Arts Court of the Brooklyn Museum.

Tommy Hilfiger, meanwhile, teamed up with British designer Richard Quinn for a modern take on classic Americana on the Brooklyn waterfront, against the New York skyline. The show, a tribute to another former icon of the city – Andy Warhol’s Factory studio – was an A-List affair, with Kris Jenner, Kourtney Kardashian, Travis Barker, John Legend, and Kate Moss among those in attendance, with Moss watching her daughter Lila walk the runway. Barker later joined the stage for a drum performance at the end during the models’ final procession.

Gabriela Hearst hosted an airy warehouse show at the Brooklyn Navy Yard with a joyful live performance by the Resistance Revival Chorus, who performed in all white for the entirety of the show along a gold-streaked runway. The collection was inspired by the Ancient Greek poet Sappho, and black, white and gold dominated the presentation, with pops of red and yellow in swirling fire motifs.

The chorus added a sense of “femininity and strength and joy,” Hearst told CNN backstage.

All-star casting

Proenza Schouler set the tone for the week with its show on Friday, showing slouchy but tailored summery looks with fringe, crocheted detailing and sheer fabrics. The musician Arca opened while Kendall Jenner, Bella Hadid and Anok Yai also walked the runway.

On Saturday, Julia Fox, Precious Lee, Winnie Harlow and Hari Nef joined Lila Moss in modeling for the Tommy Hilfiger show; Harlow was among the star-studded model lineup at Sergio Hudson, which also featured Chanel Iman, Veronica Webb and Aoki Lee Simmons, among others. Ella Emhoff walked in Prabal Gurung’s punchy show, while Lil Nas X made his runway debut at Coach – as the brand’s new global brand ambassador – in a black leather vest and jelly sandals.

Another surprise celebrity debut took place at the Naeem Khan show, where Kate Beckinsale closed in a shimmering two-piece metallic ensemble.

At The Plaza Hotel, longtime Carolina Herrera model Karlie Kloss was one of the closers of the show, helmed by creative director Wes Gordon.

New York is back

This New York Fashion Week was a triumphant return for many after February’s shows were dampened by the Covid-19 Omicron variant, with last minute cancellations from mainstays like Tom Ford and many labels’ shifts to digital presentations.

“I feel like we are back – New York is back,” designer LaQuan Smith told CNN Style just after his show at the Intrepid air carrier, where onlookers hyped up the models as they walked the runway in sheer, flowing gowns and bold streetwear with skin-baring cut-outs. “As a native New Yorker I remember sneaking into New York Fashion Week shows that I wasn’t invited to, so it’s an honor for me to just be on the calendar and have buyers, stylists, and influencers coming to see what LaQuan Smith has to say.” Among his attendees were Cassie, LaLa Anthony and Jamaican dancehall queen Spice.

The party atmosphere was palpable during the week as many designers took inspiration from disco glam and 1970s silhouettes for their collections. Ford returned to his closing duties by delivering both the party and the after party during his glitzy Financial District runway show. Walked by both Hadid sisters, the mens- and womenswear showcase featured innumerable sequins on sparkling gowns and suits, high sheen fabrics, embroidered velvet and lace-lined thongs. Notable guests included Madonna, Chris Rock, Erykah Badu, Ciara and Brooklyn and Nicola Peltz Beckham, among other celebrities.

Related: Fashion & the Metaverse: A series of stories about the future of fashion and digital technology

Physical with a touch of digital

Despite a return to primarily in-person shows, the digital influence of the past two-plus years appears here to stay. Both Hilfiger and Gordon teamed up with the video game platform Roblox to give their physical collections a presence in the metaverse, with the Hilfiger show live streamed as part of the world “Tommy Play” and a Herrera dress that Karlie Kloss wore offered as a limited-edition item for players’ avatars.

“I think it’s just the beginning of the metaverse, and I want to be the fashion house to embrace it and carry it forward,” Hilfiger told CNN Style ahead of his show.

Scroll on to see all the highlights from New York Fashion Week.

At Proenza Schouler, models including Bella Hadid were styled with dewy skin and slicked-back hair.
Eckhaus Latta's show was staged in El Jardin del Paraiso, a community garden in the East Village -- to the lilting tunes of a live harpist. Prints in the collection were from the archive of the deceased artist Matthew Underwood, a friend of the label's co-designer Zoe Latta.
Italian luxury label Marni made a rare appearance in New York, sending models down the runway in delicate knits, woven textiles and flowing silhouettes. Madonna was front row for the show.
Gowns at Jason Wu showcased sharp tailoring and delicate draping, in a collection that was both polished and effortlessly understated.
Models walk in the closing procession at Prabal Gurung's Spring-Summer 2023 show at the United Nations Plaza.
Designer Naeem Khan with actress Kate Beckinsale, who made her runway debut at the show.
Christian Siriano brought back Old Hollywood glamour at the Elizabeth Collective in Midtown.
Ulla Johnson offered up a mix of materials, styles and textures in her collection, ranging from prints inspired by artists Lee Krasner and Louise Bourgeois as well as the natural world, to vibrant monochromatic ensembles with a 1970s feel.
Johnson transformed the neoclassical interior of the Beaux Arts Court at the Brooklyn Museum into a space "reclaimed by nature" with the help of florist Emily Thompson, who created floral sculptures meant to mimic patterns of lichen. The designer also partnered with Ocean Bottle to save 300 bottles per guest -- 100,000 in total -- from reaching the ocean.
Julia Fox was part of the star-studded event on and off the runway at "Tommy Factory," Hilfiger's reinterpretation of Andy Warhol's famed Factory studio in New York.
Bold prints and silhouettes joined more classic Hilfiger motifs. "I think it's really exciting -- we've taken the best of both of our heritages. It's Americana and prep styles, but we put them through our filter," Richard Quinn said to CNN about the collaboration.