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Category: Fashion Week

New York Fashion Week: Ralph Lauren

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Ralph Lauren revisited the Gatsby era in his spring collection, which was delicate, romantic and 1920s-themed, right down to the cloche hats.

(Lauren garnered a lot of attention for supplying some of the costumes for 1974 film "The Great Gatsby," though Theoni Aldredge was the film's costume designer.)

Rl1And as a poster child for the American dream, it's understandable that Lauren would want to take us back to those halcyon days. (The irony being that for most of those who can afford Lauren's high-end runway collection, those halcyon days never left.)

Still, chiffon skirts in watercolor florals paired with pearlized pastel-colored sweaters, and crisp white pinstriped blazers and shorts are the kind of thing we've seen from Lauren a hundred times, at all different price points. Evening wear was slightly more transporting, with white, flapper-inspired beaded gowns galore, one worn with a decadent ostrich-feather-trimmed headscarf that Daisy Buchanan would have loved.

Rl2With Baz Luhrmann's remake of Gatsby, starring Leonardo di Caprio and Carey Mulligan, slated for a 2012 release, Gatsby fashion fever is only going to grow. Lauren didn't get the nod to do costumes this time around, however. That honor is going to Luhrmann's wife and collaborator, Catherine Martin.

RELATED:

New York Fashion Week: Rodarte

New York Fashion Week: Gap

New York Fashion Week: Proenza Schouler

-- Booth Moore 

Photos: Looks from the Ralph Lauren spring 2012 runway collection shown during New York Fashion Week. Credits: Emmanuel Dunand / AFP / Getty Images; Peter Michael Dills / Getty Images

New York Fashion Week: Michael Kors, Donna Karan, Thakoon, Jeremy Scott

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There were several designers whose answer to the spring season was a touch of wanderlust.

For Michael Kors, the destination was an African safari, and the highlight was a group of tie-dyed pieces in vivid shades of sienna, cinnamon and antelope. If only Kors had gone deeper in that direction instead of falling back on zebra-striped cliches and showing distressed (read: holey) cashmere sweaters that will no doubt cost a fortune. 

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Donna Karan was inspired by a year traveling in Haiti and had Wyclef Jean in the front row to prove it. Mask print circle skirts, color-blocked body-skimming jersey gowns with gold metal accents, wood and Lucite necklaces abounded. And yet it all seemed a bit out of touch. A colleague described the look aptly: "Port au Princess."

Thakoon Panichgul was taken with cowboys and Indians -- East Indians, that is. The result was a clever cross-cultural mash-up that married Western style with India's textile and embroidery tradition, and put an original twist on the season's print trend.

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A Western shirt was done in an Indian paisley, for example, and a turquoise silk shirt dress with black lace details. A country-sweet red eyelet shirt was paired with a black tux jacket and  short paisley dance skirt, and khaki duster coat with crystal and pearl embroidery over a gold floor length skirt.

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L.A.-based Jeremy Scott had a Western hoedown of a different sort, with men (and women) in cheeky backless chaps and Adidas "cowboy boot" high-top sneakers. The crowd was as wonderfully weird as the collection. One guy arrived on roller skates.

On the runway, a sunglasses-print cropped blouse topped fringed Daisy Dukes, and a metal mesh bandana was tied into a scarf top over a high-waist denim skirt.

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There were cow and cactus prints, dangling hearts and question marks, so many question marks. In other words, it was a darn good Jeremy Scott show.

RELATED:

New York Fashion Week: Proenza Schouler

New York Fashion Week: Gap

New York Fashion Week: Narciso Rodriguez

-- Booth Moore

Top photos: Looks from the Michael Kors spring 2012 runway collection shown during New York Fashion Week. Credit: Frazer Harrison / Getty Images

Middle photos: Looks from the Donna Karan spring 2012 runway collection shown during New York Fashion Week. Credit: Mike Coppola / Getty Images

Middle photos: Looks from the Thakoon spring 2012 runway collection shown during New York Fashion Week. Credit: Slaven Vlasic / Getty Images; Karly Domb Sadof / Associated Press

Bottom photos: Looks from the Jeremy Scott spring 2012 runway collection shown during New York Fashion Week. Credit: Slaven Vlasic / Getty Images

New York Fashion Week: Proenza Schouler

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Midcentury architecture, shiny new cars and suburban bliss meets ticky-tacky, tiki-themed, naugahyde-covered, shag-carpeted rumpus room.

That's what went through my head watching the Proenza Schouler show, which hinted at some of the hallmarks of the postwar boom, as filtered through a dingy lens.

Current affairs, including the limping economy, high levels of unemployment and a Washington stalemate were the pink elephants in the room during this fashion week, but very few designers addressed them. Jack McCollough and Lazaro Hernandez seemed at least to acknowledge that all is not right with the world, by working a pretty-ugly, faux-real theme in mostly grungy colors.

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They started with shapely jackets and shorts in dark brown and black patterns that brought to mind cheap wood paneling (in a good way!). An A-line skirt came in the kind of faux-zebra print you'd expect to find on a car seat cover. 

It wasn't ostrich or crocodile but eel skin that was this season's exotic. A teal-colored, eel-skin wrap skirt was paired with an embroidered floral top. Hawaiian florals were splashed across sarong skirts belted tunics and straight pants, looking beautiful and garish at the same time.

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The designers have been dabbling for several seasons now in arts andcrafts, and for this collection, they created several crocheted raffia pieces, including a striped full skirt and polo shirt. Rounding out the thoughtful and clever collection were faux croc print bags and rattan wedge sandals.

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And if it sounds like they were a little short on things to really wear, consider this: The tiki head motif on a cropped slate jersey jacket could easily make its way onto more moderately priced T-shirts, and the crocheted raffia could translate well onto bags and such, especially now that contemporary clothing king, Theory Chief Executive Andrew Rosen, has acquired a controlling stake in the Proenza Schouler business.

RELATED:

New York Fashion Week: Gap

New York Fashion Week: Narciso Rodriguez

New York Fashion Week: Rodarte

--Booth Moore

Photos: Looks from the Proenza Schouler spring 2012 runway collection shown during New York Fashion Week. Credit: Mary Altaffer / Associated Press

New York Fashion Week: Gap

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Following the dismissal of the head of global design Patrick Robinson in May, and recent financial struggles, Gap has been plotting a brand reinvention. Putting an emphasis on denim (and the denim studio in Los Angeles) was a start. And so was presenting the spring collection, a design team effort, at fashion week.

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The San Francisco-based company's Vice President of Merchandising Mark Breitbard said that the collection of colored jeans, chambray shirts and wind breakers, candy-stripe T-shirt dresses and flat sandals is a "step forward," characterizing the pieces as "colorful, American and optimistic," and adding that Gap expects to announce a new design director soon.

But I think the collection was really about getting back to basics, which is what Gap needs to do -- start with a clean slate.

RELATED:

New York Fashion Week: J. Crew

New York Fashion Week: Rodarte

New York Fashion Week: Tory Burch

-- Booth Moore in New York City

Photos: Looks from the Gap spring 2012 runway collection shown during New York Fashion Week. Credit: Jesse Lirola /  Getty Images

New York Fashion Week: Narciso Rodriguez

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In a runway season where so many designers have been playing with color-blocking, Narciso Rodriguez took the idea to a new level of genius, with a collection that was sublimely artistic, but also down to earth in the sense that there was a lot to wear.

We're used to seeing Rodriguez do architectural clothing with a body-conscious fit. But this time, he cut loose with something softer, lighter and more relaxed.

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With asymmetrical lines and bold strokes of color, it was almost as if Rodriguez was painting with fabric.

Dresses, skirts, tops and jackets were assemblages of sheer and opaque, color blocks and wavy lines.

He started with a black cap sleeve silk shirt over a pair of white pants with a jagged black waistband, creating a stunning graphic effect.

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Jagged line gave way to squiggle down the front of a sleeveless dress with a sheer bodice and black skirt. A stunning aqua silk dress with a single cap sleeve had a subtle wave pattern fanning out over the wrap-effect skirt. And a white cotton shirt dress was a study in balance, with a bold stroke of aqua blue at one side of the hem and a black cuff on the opposing sleeve.

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For evening, Rodriguez worked in shades of white and sheer, the V-neck dress of one dress accented with orange, and the skirt of another revealing a wash of aqua color below.

RELATED:

New York Fashion Week: Tory Burch

New York Fashion Week: J. Crew

New York Fashion Week: Rodarte

-- Booth Moore in New York City

Photos: Looks from the Narciso Rodriguez spring 2012 runway collection shown during New York Fashion Week. Credits: Louis Lanzano / Associated Press; Eric Thayer / Reuters; Frazer Harrison /Getty Images; Jason Szenes / EPA.

New York Fashion Week: Tory Burch

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Tory Burch had her first formal runway show Tuesday, and her collection held up as beautifully as ones that cost three times as much.

Using a soft palette of seaside pales such as aqua and seashell pink, and referencing the romanticism of the 1920s, was a departure for Burch, the queen of 1960s and '70s style, brash geometric prints, boho tunics and chunky gold hardware.

Now that everyone else has jumped on that bandwagon, Burch has moved on. There was a new softness to drop-waist pleated silk skirts in wave or pastel geometric prints, feminine blouses, to-die-for raffia-trimmed silk chiffon jackets and sweeping floor-length dresses with matching ropes of beads.

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What was impressive is how grand the clothes looked -- for the price -- and the number of special details Burch was able to incorporate, such as a new cursive monogram embroidered on a polo sweater, and a tassel tie belt on a striped dropped-waist dress. Rounding out the collection were solid-looking cotton blazers, ankle-length pants and menswear-inspired kiltie oxford shoes.

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It's looking like the big news for  spring will be color and pattern play, and it was a trip to see a model coming down Burch's runway with top-handle purse in the same navy camouflage floral print as the one on her pants. Matchy-matchy, just like our mothers did.

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RELATED:

New York Fashion Week: J. Crew

New York Fashion Week: Rodarte

New York Fashion Week: Diane von Furstenberg

-- Booth Moore

Photos: Looks from the Tory Burch spring 2012 runway collection shown during New York Fashion Week. Credit: Fernanda Calfat /Getty Images; Richard Drew / Associated Press; Allison Joyce / Reuters

New York Fashion Week: J. Crew

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Acid bright colors, sequins and boho paisleys. That was the message at J. Crew's first formal fashion week presentation. But the big news was that Beyonce came as the plus-one of sister Solange, who is apparently a fan of the label.

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Solange wore a shocking pink, exploding bow blouse by Prabal Gurung for J. Crew, and Beyonce and the baby bump wore sequins.

J. Crew creative director Jenna Lyons said that the brand wasn't trying to make a statement by showing during fashion week, but rather trying to create easy access for the foreign press in town. J. Crew is in international expansion mode, having launched its first store in Canada a few weeks ago. E-commerce at JCrew.com is launching in Europe this week.

RELATED:

New York Fashion Week: Rodarte

New York Fashion Week: Diane von Furstenberg

New York Fashion Week: Derek Lam

--Booth Moore in New York

Top photos: Looks from the J.Crew spring 2012 collection shown during New York Fashion Week. Credit: J.Crew.

Bottom photo: Singers Beyonce Knowles and Solange Knowles attend the J.Crew Spring 2012 fashion show during Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week at The Stage at Lincoln Center on September 13, 2011 in New York City. Credit: Mike Coppola /Getty Images.

New York Fashion Week: Rodarte

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Rodarte's Kate and Laura Mulleavy must have had sweetie pie starlets in mind when they designed their charming spring collection, inspired by the artist Van Gogh and his flair for light and shadows, sunflowers and starry nights. And indeed, Taylor Swift, Elle and Dakota Fanning and  Beyonce and Solange Knowles were seated front row at their unimaginably beautiful show full of fairy tale femininity.

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The mood was one of blissful naivete, with a girlish dress in a vibrant yellow metallic sunflower print, with folds in the skirt catching the light, and a draped gown in midnight blue and purple embroidered with "Starry Night" chiffon swirls, sequins and Swarovski crystals. On another dress, in bright aqua blue, variegated silk pleats on the bodice cast subtle shadows, bringing to mind Venetian blinds.

The workmanship was exquisite, with some of the starry prints depicting constellations taken from astronomical charts. Accessories included metallic leather belts, and evening sandals that twinkled with crystals.

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The designers continued to push deeper into the sportswear genre with colorful basket weave hand knit sweaters topping asymmetrical skirts, and brush stroke print tops over pants.

"Nocturnal color," was what they were going for, said Kate Mulleavy, adding that she and her sister, who live in Pasadena, sketched part of the collection at the Norton Simon Museum, where they studied Van Gogh's portrait of his mother, and other paintings.

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The magical, dream-like quality of the collection was meant to evoke the dream scape in one of their favorite films, "Sleeping Beauty."

Which is fitting, since the Mulleavys really are the Walt Disneys of the fashion world. Perhaps they have another film costume deal in the works? Something a little cheerier than "Black Swan."

RELATED:

New York Fashion Week: Diane von Furstenberg

New York Fashion Week: Derek Lam

New York Fashion Week: Band of Outsiders

--Booth Moore, reporting from New York

Top photo from left: Actress Rooney Mara, Vogue Editor-in-Chief Anna Wintour and singer Taylor Swift; Dakota and Elle Fanning. Credit: Charles Eshelman /Getty Images.

Photos: Looks from the Rodarte spring 2012 runway collection shown during New York Fashion Week. Credit: Fernanda Calfat /Getty Images for Kerastase; Stephen Chernin / AP Photo.

New York Fashion Week: Barbara Tfank

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"Into an age of perky, unthreatening blonds she came, a brunette whose voluptuous face was mirrored in the unconstrained curves of her body," designer Barbara Tfank wrote in her collection notes. "With her dark brows, violet eyes, full lips, full body and frank gaze, she could look like no one else."

The one woman who fits the description is the late, great Elizabeth Taylor, Tfank's inspiration for her spring collection. When Tfank moved to Los Angeles in the early 1990s, it was to pursue a career in costume design. So it's understood that she has spent a lot of time studying the details of clothing on-screen, and on screen sirens, who learned (or were taught, in Taylor's case) how to play up every feature.

Tfank did her homework when it came to her collection's leading lady, finding a muse to bring a new sexuality and attitude to her designs.

The hip-hugging sheath with a dramatic slashed neckline was the opener. It came in white silk or black pique, but also nude jersey. With three-quarter-length sleeves, the jersey version looked very modern and very Michelle Obama. (The first lady is a fan of Tfank's designs.)

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A black taffeta cocktail dress was positively coquettish with stand-up lace trim bordering the decollete, as was a black pique bustier worn with palazzo pants in a fabulous floral print featuring birds-of-paradise and other exotic succulents.

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Other pieces evoked Taylor's girlish side: a fit-and-flare dress in a shocking pink, outsized floral print and a white eyelet ruffle blouse tucked into a black pencil skirt.

The star's jet-setting lifestyle was represented too. The height of chic off-duty clothes? A gold caftan tunic in weightless silk organza, paired with cheeky gold brocade capri pants.

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Tfank was even able conjure Andy Warhol's portrait of Taylor with exploding floral prints and acid brights.

If anyone is ever interested in making an Elizabeth Taylor biopic, they know whom to call.

 RELATED:

New York Fashion Week: Diane von Furstenberg

New York Fashion Week: Derek Lam

New York Fashion Week: Band of Outsiders

-- Booth Moore

Photos: Looks from the Barbara Tfank spring 2012 runway collection shown during New York Fashion Week. Credit: Bryce Pincham

New York Fashion Week: Tommy Hilfiger

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Since designer Peter Som signed on as creative director two years ago, Tommy Hilfiger, founded nearly 30 years ago, has become a brand to watch -- again. The spring collection, titled "Pop Prep," was a colorful take on Hilfiger Americana, including sportswear sophisticated enough to take a woman from the office to a dinner date. And by woman, I don't just mean the teenage models on the runway.

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A swing coat and silk T-shirt dress rendered in colorful, oversized glen plaid and dramatic, color-blocked silk caftans and jumpsuits tapped into fashion's retro 1960s-'70s vibe. And a mustard yellow leather shirt dress with shirt-tail hem, red leather T-shirt and skirt were in sync with the minimalist trend.

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But mostly, it was about preppy basics with a twist, such as chunky cable knit sweaters, rugby shirt dresses with stripes in crazy colors and widths, slim-fit pants with blue shirting stripe details and to-die-for penny loafers with wood block heels. 

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Hilfiger even dipped into camouflage, pixilating it to Warholesque effect, on bathing suits, pants, motorcycle jackets, ponchos and more.

RELATED:

Runway Rundown: Tommy Hilfiger's spring 2012 menswear

New York Fashion Week: Diane von Furstenberg

New York Fashion Week: Victoria Beckham

-- Booth Moore

Photos: Looks from the Tommy Hilfiger spring 2012 runway collection shown during New York Fashion Week. Credit: Wire Image; Peter Michael Dills /Getty Images; Joe Kohen / Getty Images


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