Girl Power Was the Biggest Trend at New York Fashion Week

Muscle tees. Boss-lady coats. At New York Fashion Week, designers made strength into style.

“Girl power, basically,” said Hillary Taymour, the designer of Collina Strada, backstage before her show at the start of New York Fashion Week. She wasn’t talking about bows and whistles; she was talking about the state of women in the world.

“I wanted to make a wardrobe to take on anything,” Ms. Taymour said, standing next to the actress Gina Gershon, who was wearing a long plaid coat with the sleeves puffed and smocked from shoulder to wrist. The coat made Ms. Gershon look like a Shakespearean gym bunny. She smirked and announced, “I feel baller in this.” She didn’t have to make a muscle; they were built in for her.

Collina Strada showed upcycled chiffon dresses with biceps and triceps quilted in.Collina Strada

The whole Collina collection, including pastel floral latex shirts with sculpted abs and upcycled chiffon dresses with biceps and triceps quilted in, was a flex. Ms, Taymour even put a jacked model on the runway, perhaps the rarest sight on any catwalk.

The idea that women’s fashion might be about women’s power is so obvious that it risks seeming trite. But after seasons in thrall to discretion and femininity, at a time when women are having to battle for freedoms they once took for granted, clothing that centers unapologetic strength as a design principle is kind of thrilling. It was the biggest undercurrent in the New York shows.

“Power,” Wes Gordon said before a Carolina Herrera show where he stripped away the froufrou to focus on construction: sharp shoulders, skirts with lines as clean as laboratory beakers, the clarity of black and white and red. “I think it’s very important that beauty and strength are not considered antonyms.”

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