It looks like leg wear is here to stay, at least through fall. Textured tights are the first must-have item to emerge from New York Fashion Week you need them to wear with all the short, flirty skirts.
On Sunday, DKNY, Diane von Furstenberg, Phillip Lim and Tracy Reese all kept hemlines mostly above the knee. But the runway shows previewing fall styles for editors, retailers and stylists continue through Friday, with trendsetters such as Marc Jacobs, Vera Wang and Calvin Klein still to come.
Diane von Furstenberg: Diane von Furstenberg, the president of the Council of Fashion Designers of America, created a classic 30 years ago with her wrap dress and it continues to be the staple item of her collection. And it's as modern and fresh as it ever was.
This go-around, she emphasized the cocktail party potential of the silhouette, showing it in both bright berry and black tafetta and adding a big bow at the waist. There also was an elegant knit black wrap dress with "toreador" embroidery.
Von Furstenberg called her collection "La Movida," explaining that she aimed to capture the beauty and power found in the cultural landscape of Spain. Prints were inspired by Gaudi, Goya and Miro; the Miro wool dress, for instance, was a loose T-shirt style in black punctuated by a bold red circle.
Another easy and loose style was a V-neck tunic dress that was worn by itself on the runway but probably would need tights or leggings underneath on the street. Top it off with one of the open portrait-collar coats in a metallic fabric and you've got a stylish and wearable outfit.
Von Furstenberg's front row is probably the most stable of Fashion Week with longtime friends Susan Sarandon, Anderson Cooper, Charlie Rose and Ellen Barkin among those taking their usual seats.
DKNY: Forget separate daytime clothes and evening clothes. Donna Karan seamlessly blended the two in her DKNY collection for fall. There was a hint of sparkle peeking out from under skirt suits with bouncy flip hems, and a playful heart print used on bow blouses softened an outfit of tailored separates.
The knits, many of the them chunky cardigans in black and white, were cozy and inviting but, when paired with tweed wide-leg trousers or a ruffled miniskirt, never looked too slouchy for work or too fitted for play.
The palette was purposefully dark: black and gray with bright spots of berry, violet and "acid" sort of greenish yellow. A berry-colored cashmere and double-faced wool coat and a matching short skirt were particularly stylish perfect for the young urbanite who is the target DNKY customer.
These outfits also would look trend-right on a college campus or at a hip high-tech office. Some skirts were too short for anyone with three-decade-old legs, but it's likely the lengths will be a little longer when the clothes arrive in stores.
Karan, in her notes, said she was inspired by the "sexy buzz" of a city night when streets are "a blur of dotted lights and neon color." This was the excuse to infuse a few 1980s touches, such as a purple and black scuba dress and silver sequin-covered leggings, but this was the '80s done right, not as the fashion joke that era has become.
3.1 Phillip Lim: Since launching in 2005, Phillip Lim has been a favorite of fashion insiders and all the top magazine editors and stylists turned out again to see the latest collection, which he said was created with an eccentric socialite in mind. The first model certainly set that tone as she wore a Mad Hatter-style hat with a textured double-breasted coat with a Persian lamb collar.
Lim showed a knack for layering, offering many outfits with fitted long-sleeve tops under billowy short-sleeve ones, and there also was a prep-school quality to many of the looks, especially the gray and navy combinations. Otherwise the dominant colors were white, black and beige.
For dressier occasions, there was a delicate silk gazar cocoon dress with a floating ruffle at the collar. An ecru-colored strapless column gown with vertical pleats also was lovely but the hem was so narrow that the model moved more like a snail down the catwalk.
Tracy Reese: Over the years, Tracy Reese has built up a solid reputation and following including Alicia Keys, who sat in the front row which likely have given her confidence to try new things. For fall, that means breaking out of her pretty and feminine mold and offering more of a bold, even mod, look along with attention-grabbing metallic fabrics.
Many outfits mixed black with bone (a fancy word for off white) with touches of shiny patent leather trim. The most innovative use was as the trim on a pair of cigarette pants worn with a swinging A-line jacket. Mod influences also could be seen on a series of formfitting black dresses with pops of magenta and navy blue.
Reese also knows how to make outerwear a fashion item instead of a wintertime necessity, and this time she freshened up the A-line shape, both in short jackets and longer coats.
There is, however, a question of wearability when you get to Reese's "tux shorts." They're basically skinny Bermuda shorts with a stripe down the leg that she put over cool textured tights. They might make for a great photo, but they're unlikely to top many fall shopping lists.