New York Fashion Week looks to nighttime glamour for day

New York Fashion Week looks to nighttime glamour for day

February 11th, 2011 by Associated Press in Local - Breaking News

By SAMANTHA CRITCHELL

AP Fashion Writer

NEW YORK - There's been plenty of talk about day-to-night dressing in these frugal times. Next season, you might try night-to-day instead.

Designers at New York Fashion Week flipped the script on Friday, incorporating nighttime glamour into daytime classics instead of leaving women to glam up their more casual clothes.

Jason Wu turned "classic" around with modern looks that evoked yesteryear in lace trim, high necks and full sleeves.

For his contemporary Z Spoke label, Zac Posen showed a navy dress that would look great for daytime with a cardigan - but take off the sweater, and the back is completely bare. Peter Som presented beaded evening pants that could be paired with a work-appropriate dress shirt.

In the second day of fall previews, designers were veering away from basics, seemingly encouraging shoppers to invest in some fancier pieces and figure out how to wear them more often. New York Fashion Week continues through Thursday.

JASON WU

More than 15 types of lace were featured, and it seemed everything was dipped in gold-leaf embroidery, including the models' hair.

Silhouettes were modest, almost conservative, but colors ranging from barely there neutrals to electric blue and hot pink added youthfulness and sex appeal. Strategic sparkle didn't hurt, either.

Wu made the modern elegant in a lace-trim hoodie parka, a feminine tuxedo-inspired shirt dress and a champagne-colored sheer blouse adorned with feathers made of beading.

Wu is known for dressing Michelle Obama, including the first lady's inaugural gown. This season, he put into fabrics the same vibe photographer Robert Polidori used for his book "Parcours Museologique Revister," which traced restorations at Versailles.

The last two gowns on the runway, a black chiffon with a huge slit up the front and a bright pink strapless with gold embellishment at the bustline and waistband, seem ripe for a starlet looking to elevate her image.

RAG & BONE

Some of the coolest kids in town will be wearing heavy-duty layers of tweed, tartan, leather, wool and neoprene when the fall rolls around, thanks to Rag & Bone.

The brand's fall collection borrowed from Eskimos, Inuits, Native Americans and Siberians - with a few '70s skiers thrown in, according to notes from designers Marcus Wainwright and David Neville.

The result was a mashup of texture, silhouettes and color that Vogue market director Meredith Melling Burke said was one of the duo's strongest collections. "It fit their customers, who really wear street-style clothes. They can use all these knits with the denim they have," she said.

Legwarmers - yes, legwarmers, these with gold zippers up the back - had a strong presence on the runway in a SoHo loft space.

Backstage after the show, Neville picked an orange-blue-black-and-ivory wool gauze skirt, worn with a blue-and-white top and matching legwarmers as one of his favorites and representative of the overall aesthetic.

PETER SOM

There's something to be said for getting your glam on every day. Allow Peter Som to help you with that.

Pewter-color sequined pants for work? No problem when paired with a gray cardigan and printed blouse. Facing serious winter weather? A mink-lined twill parka slides right over an orange, lace-bonded tweed suit.

The head-to-toe look of a lace herringbone coat and skirt with a white crepe shirt, and the coordinated floral-print lining of a twill-leather-and-fox coat with a sheath dress, are for women ready for a polished-yet-unstuffy look.

"It's a young luxury," said Tommy Hilfiger from his front-row seat. "Peter speaks to a younger woman, but not someone who is flamboyant."

In addition to his own collection, Som serves as a design consultant for Hilfiger.

Som might have gotten carried away on some outfits, though, especially with the fur sleeves that bulked up some of his outerwear and a fawn-colored dress with tiers of ruffles around the bodice that added fabric where most women don't want it.

ZAC POSEN

Zac Posen toned it down for his contemporary Z Spoke label this season. No big runway production for New York Fashion Week. No wild fruit prints. And certainly none of the theatrics that Posen was famous for with his signature label, which now gets previewed in Paris.

Instead, editors, retailers and stylists were invited to his downtown studio for individual appointments to see some no-frill clothes - clothes that women will be likely to buy and wear.

That was the thing about Posen's grandest moments - thinking of the tornado and wheat gowns, for example: They made beautiful photos, but who could pull them off anywhere but the catwalk?

But slim-cut stretch jersey dresses in navy, black and a dusty rose with Posen's flattering technique of piecing together fabric are the sort of things that can be worn over and over again.

Loose-weave, oversized cardigans can top dresses that are office-appropriate from the front, yet have fully open backs to add spice later in the day.

There are also the more consumer-friendly prices, with dresses that would retail in the $450 range and handbags starting at $200.

NICOLE MILLER

Nicole Miller relies for fall on a sophisticated edge using digital prints, diagonal stripes and asymmetrical necklines.

The collection was heavy on blacks and greys with splashes of red, blue and white.

Miller showed several looks with a belt over a coat or vest. She also combined cashmere and leather to create sweaters and tunics. Some pants had leather patches at the knees.

Angles over curves had a menswear influence, according to the show's notes. "Pants, slouchy or slim, are a new focal point."

Liz Rodbell, Lord & Taylor's executive vice president of merchandising, said the department store sees Miller's customer as a chic, metropolitan woman.

"We look at her line, it really expresses a lot of color for us and helps determine where the business is going," Rodbell said.

CYNTHIA ROWLEY

Blue lights bathed the runway and a drum beat pounded before Cynthia Rowley debuted a collection of printed, flowy silk dresses and glittered sweaters for fall at New York Fashion Week.

Her hemlines varied from just above the knee to nearly on the floor. Dresses were loose fitting and willowy, moving easily around models in chunky metallic high heels. Rowley called them "walking dresses," or "dancing dresses."

She used a green and brown chevron print on a swingy, silk dress with a tie at the neck. A long sleeved cream dress had a multicolored band hem that swayed back and forth.

Rowley also used disintegrated velvets for dresses. One sleeveless, deep green velvet dress had an upside-down T-shaped panel on the back. The pants of a yellow velveteen suit were the length of culottes.

Actress Julia Stiles was in the front row. "She's got such a fun, playful attitude toward clothing that I think is reflected in her designs."

REBECCA MINKOFF

Rebecca Minkoff's fall mix of luxury and bohemian was inspired by Sean Lennon's girlfriend, model-turned-singer Charlotte Kemp Muhl.

The bonus was a performance by Lennon once the lights went down. He played for the duration of the show.

Minkoff admires Muhl's mastery of vintage and new. The designer showed black cigarette pants with patches on the knees and a leopard print jumpsuit with a black leather belt and black and gold handbag.

A skirt in a leopard print had an asymmetrical hem and was worn with a black sequined off-the-shoulder sweater.

The show's finale was a flowy floor-length V-neck gown in a nearly sheer green and black print.