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Fuchsia pink, leopard print and ‘Pussy Power’ bags: is this what female empowerment looks like?

New York fashion week gave us some edgy, interesting trends, from Victoria Beckham’s shaped leather dresses to Alexander Wang’s wet-look belted coat. But does championing a cause always make for brilliant fashion

I learned a new word at New York fashion week: gynarchy. I had to look it up; it means rule by women. Designer Prabal Gurung chose it to sum up his show, where sarong-inspired draping in pinks and reds referred, he said backstage, to the matriarchal Mosuo tribe of China, and to northern India’s Gulabi Gang, all-female vigilantes fighting against abuse and oppression of women. The same day, Diane von Furstenberg said at her presentation that “with everything that’s happening with women right now, I personally am more committed than ever to the empowerment of women … the DVF woman through the generations has always been about a woman being in charge.” Jonathan Simkhai, meanwhile, took inspiration from portraits of suffragettes. “This moment seems particularly relevant now, when the inner strength of so many women has been at the forefront of our American consciousness,” he explained.

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