What 20 Designers Were Inspired By This NYFW

Women and cultural unity are at the forefront of fall collections

Last September, New York Fashion Week designers were inspired by everything from fictional characters and art pieces to specific eras in time. In the last six months, a lot has changed—and the fall/winter collections reflected that, with politics taking center stage on the runways. While this NYFW saw a direct response to the current administration and political climate from some of the brands, there was another common denominator that was at the forefront of most of the collections: women. 

NYFW Fall/Winter 2017 collections made an empowering pledge of allegiance to the powerful women they serve. Many collections served as an ode to the women that inspire designers, and a celebration of those who resist the ongoing infringement of rights and contribute to pushing society forward (see: Öhlin/D's cheeky yet essential librarian reference). The collections also gave a nod to the idea of cultural unity with several designers drawing inspiration internationally and protesting the concept of borders, at least sartorially, with a few other surprise inspirations in the mix (essential oils, anyone?).

Ahead, what 20 NYFW designers were inspired by this season. 

Photograph by Mitchel Sams.


"The FW17 R13 collection does not depart from designer Chris Leba's rendition of the grunge girl, but rather reimagines her look. This is Chris Leba's third collection since launching the line in 2009, and the grunge girl has grown up."

Photograph by Luke Abby.


"Fall 2017 [was] inspired by the 'off-duty librarian'—specifically the teachers, professors, counselors, and mentors working in the education sphere. With this in mind, we wanted to highlight comfort and practicality without losing an educator's innate sense of fun and creativity. To honor these powerful women who are dedicated to sharing a better future to the world, Öhlin/D has also vowed to make a donation to DreamYard, which collaborates with Bronx youth, families, and schools to build pathways to equality and opportunity through the arts."

Photograph courtesy of Zadig & Voltaire.

Zadig & Voltaire

"The Autumn-Winter 2017/18 collection pays homage to the women who inspire the brand's signature: cool chic, tiny details that make a look, a natural, nonchalant style that is at both sporty and urban, feminine and masculine."

Photograph by Dan Lecca.

Dennis Basso

"The Fall 2017 collection is inspired by the international woman who takes romantic journeys through textured landscapes and embraces worldly moments with a carefree mind."

Photograph by Getty Images for Rachel Zoe.

Rachel Zoe

"This season I wanted to present a collection of evening and cocktail looks that I created for the many women who inspire me."

Photograph by Ed Singleton/Courtesy of Tanya Taylor.

Tanya Taylor

"Tanya Taylor Fall 2017 was inspired by early 1920s Japanese Meisen robes and the bold women that wore them. The 20s was an important time in the history of Japanese culture, when color was being worn on the outside of garments instead of the inside. Almost 100 years ago these amazing women found power in this expression of color—it is this attitude that represents the Tanya Taylor woman today. At this unique time in our history, I want women to find power in color and I want to inspire their liberation, optimism, and strength."

Photograph by Dan Lecca.

Kate Spade New York

"For the Fall 2017 collection, our kate spade new york girl has just returned from 1920s Paris—a creative melting pot that encouraged strong, interesting women to shine. The collection is a tribute to heroines who defy expectations and whose journeys of independence inspire others to forge their own path. This season, folkloric themes are in the air with an abundance of romantic florals and embroideries, and a color range of dusky pinks, cerise, dark cherry, and poppy red with touches of army green, black, cream, and camel."

Photograph by Greg Vore.


"Asian influences permeated European decorative art and high fashion in the middle to late 1800's and into the new century. WHIT A\W17 imagines how working people would have integrated those traditional motifs into their daily uniforms."

Photograph courtesy of Tadashi Shoji.

Tadashi Shoji

"Tadashi Shoji showed his Fall/Winter 2017 collection to reflect the wave of change taking over the world. From the streets of London and Paris to Berlin and Japan, this unrest will set you in motion. Provocative lyrics talk to you. Drape the opulent coat over your flowing velvet dress and join the others. Leave inhibitions behind. The time to express your true self is now."

Photograph by BFA Photography.

Nicole Miller

"Nicole Miller’s Fall 2017 collection expands on the grit and grunge of St. Mark’s Place that began with her Pre-Fall ’17 collection. Drawing inspiration from the New York underground nightlife scene, the collection angles darker with prints of barbed wire, chains and skulls, and embellished camouflage. These elements coupled with mythic symbolism and sharp silhouettes are an exploration of the darker edge of New York City."

Photograph courtesy of GEORGINE.


"The inspiration for the GEORGINE Fall/Winter 2017 collection comes from permanent hotel dwellers, those glamorous creatures that have called the world’s most interesting properties home. Ranging from Coco Chanel’s suite at The Ritz and Oscar Wilde’s chambers at Hotel d’Alsace, to Howard Hughes bungalow at The Beverly Hills Hotel, and Edie Sedgwick’s room at The Chelsea Hotel, the transient energy of a chic enclave fueled their creativity and made every day feel like a permanent vacation."

Photograph courtesy of Jenny Packham.

Jenny Packham

"Jenny Packham’s AW17 Heritage Collection is inspired by the idiosyncrasies and clichés that define the British identity."

Photograph by Dan Lecca /Courtesy of Lela Rose.

Lela Rose

"These are trying times—our industry feels turbulent, but on a larger scale, our world and values seem upended. As a designer, I aim to bring beauty, delight, and a smile to the wearer as well as the observer."

Photograph courtesy of Rebecca Minkoff.

Rebecca Minkoff

"The collection was a true ode to Rebecca’s southern California roots and the carefree lifestyle of the 70s surf scene—all designed to be easily mixed and layered together. Growing up in San Diego, Rebecca brought her love of home to each look using airy silhouettes, embroidery, bohemian florals and denim pieces."

Photograph courtesy of Sachin & Babi.

Sachin & Babi

"Our starting point for the Fall/Winter 2017 collection was the intersection of British and Indian culture during the British Raj. The collection juxtaposes British and Indian influences by pairing English rose prints with Maharani necklaces and Cambridge stripes with Jodhpur sleeves. As Indians who cherish New York City as their home, Sachin & Babi wanted to show how two cultures can sing together."

Photograph by Slaven Vlasic/Getty Images


"As his sporting career drew to a close, Rene Lacoste went on to join the aircraft industry. Witness to the first transatlantic crossings, he created 'Air Equipment,' a company that contributed to the development of the Concorde and Airbus programs. It is this other facet of the Lacoste founder's visionary mind that Felipe Oliveira Baptiste, whose father himself was a pilot, decided to celebrate by delivering a collection which draws up parallels between the heroes of aviation and the pioneers of the space age."

Photograph courtesy of Jill Stuart.

Jill Stuart

"The Fall 2017 collection and its richer textures were inspired by alchemy and the art of essential oils."

Photograph courtesy of Tibi.


"The Tibi Fall 2017 collection pulses to the ease and lines of menswear. Precision in tailoring, refined fabrications, and bespoke details play with proportion and shape—strong looks that become a source of confidence. Layering adds functionality and perspective; sporty fabrications transform the most basic into the most elevated, giving a woman a real reason to love her day and night commensurately. Living, loving, and desiring the life you have."

Photograph courtesy of Sam Deitch/BFA.


"PH5 Fall Winter 2017 draws inspiration from artist Martin Creed and his work, No. 227, which won him the Turner Prize in 2001. Emulating the softness and playfulness of balloons, the collection is embedded with PH5’s love for fun and color. The aim of this collection is to connect spectators with those feelings they have towards the colors, textures, and details of balloons."

Photograph by Madison McGaw/

Laurence & Chico

"Inspired by whimsical dreams of air travel, the collection was conceived while sketching and dozing on flights between New York and Li and Wang’s hometown of Vancouver."