Sex, drugs, hip-hop – New York Fashion Week knows how to get the party started, says Divya Bala

"THE 90s ARE BACK," declared Alexander Wang and Public School. It's true, the '90s have been back, over and over for sometime now. But this time, it's not just the odd glimpse of a flannel or iterations of grunge. It's a head-to-toe, layer-upon-layer, straight-from-the-pages-of-British Vogue 1992 approach.

At Public School, it was evident in the layering - oversized, ¾ fur jackets with teen-angst-worthy extended sleeves over a shocking pink leather biker over a red shift over a black slip, or another look featuring a top over a shirt over a dress over pants - you get the idea. Silver lame tracksuits, baggy Marky Mark-style jeans with athletic stripes shorn down the length of the leg in frayed edging and utility details punctuated a collection steeped in nostalgia.

A/W '16 recap: NYFW reaches peak '90s

Over at Wang, it was all about slogans. The words 'girls', 'strict' and 'tender' were emblazoned, at times censorship-style, over sheer tops, at thigh level on tights and on high beanies. Belted choker necklaces, sharp studded boots and ombre-dyed fur bags accompanied a collection of Chanel-esque skirt suits, fuzzy camisoles, bleach splatter-print maxis worn with hoodies, lingerie details, eyelet-lace-ups and oversized shearling-lined denim. At closer look, the seemingly innocuous pastel pink print is, in fact, of a stripper on a pole. And that sunny, aqua, palm tree print? Marijuana leaves.

In a slightly more austere side of town, Polo Ralph Lauren's country-club-meets-city-slicker presentation offered a cosy collection of buttery soft suedes, leathers and knits in a setting-appropriate palette of cognac and tobacco. An overall nod to the southwest saw the collection finished with cowboy belts and fringing.

A/W '16 recap: NYFW reaches peak '90s

The fringing took a flamboyant turn at Altuzarra, lining bib-front shirts in vibrant pops of electric blue and fuschia and feathering down the lengths of vests. Scarf prints, liberty prints and paisleys were thrown together in an eye-watering clash over handkerchief hems and risqué centre-slit skirts. The glittering finale of flowerchild-meets-Studio 54 dresses made for a strong finish.

Diametrically opposed to all things oversized and comfortable, Victoria Beckham returned to her Posh Spice roots, reimagining strictly tailored bustiers, pencil skirts and fit and flare dresses in a deconstruction of traditional fabrics - checks, houndstooth and stripes with frayed edges were wrapped in criss-crossing clash around the body. Though she didn't entirely eschew volume - outerwear remained maximalist - silhouettes were streamlined and lengthened, in the sleeves and in the calf-skimming hems - also in an undeniably 90s fashion.

Website: divyabala.co
Instagram: @divya_bala
 

A/W '16 recap: NYFW reaches peak '90s