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New York Fashion Week: Diane von Furstenberg

September 12, 2011 |  5:46 pm

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It was a nice gesture on the 10th anniversary of Sept. 11 for Diane von Furstenberg, the grand dame of New York fashion, to pass out small American flags during her customary post-show stroll around the runway, during which time she stops to greet her guests. (This season, luminaries from the fashion and media worlds included Valentino, Oscar de la Renta, Tina Brown and Fran Leibowitz.)

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The collection was a lift too. It was about optimism and new beginnings from the very first look, a whitewashed cotton wrap dress that was a symbolic tabula rosa. "The light appears and everything changes," Von Furstenberg and the brand's creative director, Yvan Mispelaere, wrote in the show notes.

She stayed with the all-white theme for a while, showing a crinkled sheer organza top tied in front over a white floral lace tank and soft pleated skirt, before flashes of color became part of the story.

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Louche layers in contrasting colors painted a modernist picture, with a sleeveless blue and taupe shell worn over black canvas pants, and an aqua-colored blouse with a cascading ruffle, paired with a swingy taupe jacket, light green skirt and beige leather hip pocket belt.

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In more tailored territory, she showed relaxed silk blazers, cropped pants and Bermuda shorts in colors such as "moss," "marigold" and "dandelion falls."

Then came prints, masterfully mixed in a single outfit: a black-and-white floral trench, over a nude flower bud print dress with a contrasting hem.

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It was a party for the eyes. The prints got bolder as the show went on, until it was a riot of pop art on blouses and matching silk pants, gingham check shorts, twill coats, sequin tops and maxi-dresses. With the French twist hairdos and colorful eyewear, it felt like being at the most retro fabulous pool party and nobody wanted to leave.

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The collection was one of Von Furstenberg's finest, hearkening back to how she began, with an expert eye for color and print.

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New York Fashion Week: Victoria Beckham

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-- Booth Moore, reporting from New York

Photos: Looks from the Diane von Furstenberg spring 2012 runway collection shown during New York Fashion Week. Jason Kempin / Getty Images; Frazer Harrison / Getty Images; Peter Foley / EPA.

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