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New York Fashion Week show reviews for spring/summer 2017 collections

It's that time again: New York Fashion Week has returned to the city for more than a week of runway shows, presentations and beyond.

The twice-annual fashion event runs through Sept. 15.

We review the spring/summer collections, from your favorite iconic designers to those making their NYFW debuts.

Keep checking back for real-time updates from New York Fashion Week.

Marc Jacobs

Uh oh, there's a leak on the stage
Photo Credit: AFP / Getty Images / Angela Weiss

Uh oh, there's a leak on the stage at Hammerstein Ballroom. That must've been the first thought of a lot of Marc Jacobs fans as they showed up for his spring runway show -- the finale of New York Fashion Week -- held at the midtown theater near Penn Station. There were...well...puddles of water on the long, wide runway jutting out into the audience. And light bulbs hanging at various heights from the ceiling. It's Jacobs, so you know not to be TOO worried; this is all part of the plan.

When the models strutted out, the runway looked like pavement at night after rain, and from the steamy mist came these women dressed to light up the darkness. Their clothes -- a cavalcade of ruffly, sheer dresses and embroidered coats and jackets with massive puffs of feathers on shoulders -- were done up in sparkly metallics and shine, shine, shine. Looking at the line feels like stepping into a vintage clothing store; so many surprises. And those mega-platform boots -- whoa!

All the major models-of-the-moment were there (Gigi and Bella Hadid, Karlie Kloss, Adriana Lima, some newcomer named Kendall Jenner -- ever heard of her?), their hair done up in yarn-like dreadlocks. It was, as they say, quite a scene. (Joseph V. Amodio)

Ralph Lauren

Ralph Lauren built a huge, square, sky-lit structure
Photo Credit: Getty Images / Slaven Vlasic

Ralph Lauren built a huge, square, sky-lit structure in front of his flagship store on Madison Avenue Wednesday night, closing off the street. An exclusive group of guests (about one-third of the size of his usual shows) were invited to preview his first runway-to-retail show in what has been a strong movement by designers to provide their customers with instant shopping gratification.

The space was beautiful, if not, despite the number of guests, less intimate than his shows in seasons past. Top models -- such as Stella Tennant, Liya Kebede and Kendall Jenner -- walked the runway in savory Lauren classics like tailored pinstriped pants amped up with floral embroidery. There were Navajo prints and fringed western pieces; one in pale suede was worn both on the runway and by Lauren's wife, Ricky. As of Thursday, shoppers will be able to purchase a lush shearling poncho, a graphic serape and a great leather jacket. A series of sequin dresses in bright colors, some with stunning leather harness straps, and some flowing purple satin looks will be for sale, too. Many of the ensembles were worn with Lauren's thick, signature belts (natch, also available).

"I have always been inspired by the rugged beauty and romance of the American West. The September Collection is imbued with that spirit, but reinterpreted in a modern glamorous way for the woman whose style is both personal and luxurious," said Ralph Lauren in a statement.

As the models took their finale walk, curtains on the store's huge store windows flew open revealing the collection in the window and some sort of hologram of horses was breathtaking. And like Pied Piperettes, the models led the assembled into the store.

Inside, white-coated men served Champagne. David Lauren invited guests upstairs to see the collection, already displayed and purchase-ready. The Laurens seemed delighted to meet and greet.

Are you ready to shop? It's all there at Ralph Lauren waiting for you. (Anne Bratskeir)

J. Mendel

Instead of his traditional runway show, J. Mendel
Photo Credit: J. Mendel

Instead of his traditional runway show, J. Mendel designer Gilles Mendel decided to switch things up, displaying his spring line in an East Village penthouse at the hip Standard East Village hotel. In the bright sunlit space, he chatted about the line's craftsmanship and his inspiration. As in seasons past, it was photography that got his creative juices flowing.

The work of Spanish photographer Emilio Jimenez (who shoots body parts overlaid with intriguing shadows -- of ferns, leaves and such) and Viviane Sassen (who is Dutch and shoots anatomy in abstract forms) comes to life here, but in 3-D form, and textured in silk, tulle and mink. "I took this idea and tried to translate it into clothes with a graphic, transparent play," says Mendel.

And so there is a flowing leaf-print dress with a cut-out leather jacket, or silk brocade printed like foliage. But in a sea of stunning dresses and geometric lace pants, the fur is most unusual, cut into strips and sewn on tulle for an airy, striped coat, a latticework jacket, or sculpted into round floral buds on a pink bolero. All playing with shadow and light, just like the photographs.

These don't have the weightiness of traditional furs. "They're more playful, seasonless," and can be worn anytime, he says, then -- "OK, except when it's really, really, really cold outside," he adds, laughing.

Photographers have always inspired him, from Helmut Newton to Avedon. "I spend most of my day studying images -- photographs, architecture, paintings -- because you never know where the next idea may come from." (Joseph V. Amodio)


It was a major froth fest at Marchesa,
Photo Credit: Getty Images for New York Fashion Week / Frazer Harrison

It was a major froth fest at Marchesa, where designers Keren Craig and Georgina Chapman sent a poetic, dramatic lineup of evening looks down the runway.

Inspired by sunrise to the deepest part of the night, the show opened with some beauties in blush -- a fit and flare halter neck in tulle with satin ribbon detail and a gigantic tulle ballgown with ombre treatment at the waist. Darker looks included a stellar black number with gold embroidery, and a knockout confection with a gold lame bodice and a smoky blue tulle skirt.

And speaking of gold, for Academy Award-going gals, may we suggest the one shoulder Grecian gown of gold will match your Oscar. (Anne Bratskeir)

Anna Sui

Anna Sui is fond of the Old
Photo Credit: Getty Images / Frazer Harrison

Anna Sui is fond of the Old West. Frontier themes pop up in her collections from time to time. This is one of those times, her line brimming with a wardrobe for an eclectic cowboy or cowgirl, as seen through a 1960s The Mamas & The Papas type of lens.

That translates to Western fringe jackets -- we're talkin' long, Grande Ole Opry fringe -- and cowboy hats, granny dresses and satin jackets embroidered with a cowgirl and lasso. Particularly eye-catching (and less prairie girl, if that isn't your thing) was the sexy librarian midriff top and long skirt, worn with bright red cat-eye frames. Or the shirt-dress in men's blue-stripe shirting material with black lace cuffs. Outta nowhere -- as if Sui suddenly changed the channel and discovered reruns of "Friday Night Lights" -- letterman jackets and sequined zip-front track jackets appear. It's certainly on-trend but seems slightly outside the theme.

But who cares, as long as it sells, right? Like those vintage Florida tourist tees, cut as a midriff. Just enough flash of skin and old-timey heritage to keep the Sui girls looking forward to the weekend. (Joseph V. Amodio)

Bibhu Mohapatra

Bibhu Mohapatra has steadily gained a loyal fan
Photo Credit: Getty Images / Frazer Harrison

Bibhu Mohapatra has steadily gained a loyal fan base since introducing his line in 2009 to the point where the seams were almost bursting at his packed house on Wednesday afternoon at Moynihan Station. In past seasons, Mohapatra, who was formerly the creative director of high-end brand, J. Mendel, has offered daywear as well as evening, with a somewhat architectural feel. Today he let go, presenting a sometimes wildly elaborate, lushly embellished collection of mostly eveningwear, much of it drop-dead gorgeous.

It will be a crying shame if some celeb doesn't snatch up the radiant purple gown, embellished with clusters of pearls and sequins, that boasted a pink underskirt visible by way of a thigh-high split. There were lovely stained glass prints, and several sparkly bodices worn over clothes that were very clever. A red confection covered in pearls featured a pink back cape, and a few ensembles were sparsely decorated with feathers...both real and feather-shaped crystal designs.

If there was a misstep here, it was gilding the lily situation...the occasional addition of an unneeded ruffle or unnecessary fabric... and some of the stiff, traditional gowns read old school. We're guessing that Mohapatra's inspiration, "the females of the Belle Époque, celebrating the optimism, prosperity and cultural innovations of the prolific time," led him down that path. But not to worry, there was plenty that the females of 2017 will absolutely love. (Anne Bratskeir)


The Spanish brand known for architectural designs and
Photo Credit: Getty Images / Fernanda Calfat

The Spanish brand known for architectural designs and an astounding and stately elegance did not disappoint at its spring runway show on Wednesday at Pier 59 Studios at Chelsea Piers.

The label's founder, the late designer Jesus del Pozo, started out in menswear, and also designed for opera and the ballet, and so a strong sense of structure -- and mind-blowing drama -- are part of this brand's DNA. This season brings silk dresses in the shape of bells, sleeves sculpted like calla lilies, intricately beaded gowns in search of a coronation. It is fashion for a select few, to be sure, but not merely the (these days) much-maligned elite, but for the woman who truly appreciates a work of art.

"So beautiful, no?" said Jorge Viladoms Weber, a pianist who played on a Steinway grand piano as the models glided by. The Phillip Glass-like piece "was perfect for this, it sort of brings you into a trance." As do the clothes.

When del Pozo died in 2011, the label one-wordified the brand name to give it a more modern feel and handed the reins to architecture student-turned-designer Josep Font. Things change, but the spirit of this Spanish legend lives on. (Joseph V. Amodio)

Naeem Khan

Naeem Khan dedicated his to show to Halston,
Photo Credit: Getty Images / Frazer Harrison

Naeem Khan dedicated his to show to Halston, "my mentor ... whom I worked for in the '70s," said program notes. Indeed his first looks were reminiscent and certainly, for Khan, minimalist. Body-hugging jersey, colorblocked gowns and dresses were incredibly vibrant and graphic with swirls and giant geometrics. They were both retro and modern and definitely statement makers. As the show unfolded, Khan moved toward more familiar territory: huge florals in red and green awash with crystals; a threadwork embroidered caftan with pearl details; a crew neck, legging and cape ensemble in a wild abstract print that was drenched in sequins. Actually, Halston might have done a look like that, but his would've been substantially pared down. The skirts on several ball gowns were huge -- one strapless number with a navy front and a red back, and another in red satin with large floral applique on the bodice. In keeping with that '70s theme, a jazzy, bright yellow jumpsuit was comprised entirely of fringe, which actually turned out to be opaque glass. It was groovy. (Anne Bratskeir)

Michael Kors

There's a lot of griping at New York
Photo Credit: Getty Images / JP Yim

There's a lot of griping at New York Fashion Week -- the crowds, the lines, the locations -- but sometimes a designer makes it so fun and delightful that all is forgotten. This was the case at Michael Kors' Wednesday morning show at Spring Studios where Rufus Wainwright and an orchestra performed upbeat Judy Garland songs live as Kors' sprightly lineup of 56 looks jaunted down the runway. Wonderful!

Kors, who earlier in the week called his runway "optimistic," presented a series of graphic, bright spring florals in silk georgette -- dresses and tops --- some of these boasting intricate 3-D embroideries. Playing with proportion -- oversized and sharply tailored -- the lineup included romantic ruffled pieces such as gorgeous white shirts that he paired with fit to the body skirts, some dark, that flared at the bottom. Strong shoulder jackets, coats and vests were matched with relaxed trousers, and there were lustworthy, extravagantly oversized cashmere pullovers along with chic shrunken varieties. A couple of retro-looking bathing suits read couture -- high-waisted bikinis -- one, in a savory shade of nutmeg boasted a thick belt, a flippy double ruffled hem and floral tortoiseshell embellishment.

Colors ranged from brilliant aqua, azalea, tangerine and palm to more fall-like shades of navy, chambray and sand with black and white thrown into the mix.

And there's good news for instant gratification seekers. In keeping with the see now/buy now trend, a selection of looks straight off the runway became available immediately after the show at and the Michael Kors stores on Bleeker Street and Madison Avenue.

Wainwright was fabulous and perhaps a touch distracting while closing the show with "Get Happy," which Garland performed in her film "Summer Stock" in 1950. Though political messages have been few and far between this fashion week, Wainwright made one when he said, before the finale, "Weren't those ladies just gorgeous? You know what? I'm with her." His last lines were, "C'mon and get happy. Get ready. Go Hillary." Rather than his traditionally energetic runway finale romp, Kors met Wainwright center stage, waved, and off the dynamic duo went. Happy indeed. (Anne Bratskeir)

Rachel Antonoff

For fans of
Photo Credit: Getty Images / Desiree Navarro

For fans of "Archie" comics, this is a very, very good year. The comic is celebrating its 75th anniversary, a new "Betty and Veronica #1" comic just hit (sassier, and less fighting over boys), and a TV series on the CW, called "Riverdale," will debut next month. (It's been called "'Archie' meets 'Twin Peaks'" -- expect goofy dates, milkshakes ... and a murder mystery). And then there's this new line of clothes, launching this fall and expanding into a larger collection for spring.

There are the looks you'd expect -- tees and sweaters, emblazoned with those familiar faces -- and others that are surprisingly on-trend (letterman jackets), or clever (trompe l'oeil dresses with drawn-on bows or pockets -- even drawn-on pencils sticking out of the pockets). Kudos to designer Rachel Antonoff, who actually read and collected the comics as a kid.

The runway show itself was clever in concept -- instead of just clomping down the runway, the models acted out a story, complete with cartoony backdrops and thought bubbles that appeared over their heads. They actually got Lena Dunham (yes, as in "Girls") to write the thought-bubble script, but nobody seemed to consider that performing this in essentially a garage-like space with no stage and everybody standing meant that only the people right in front could see anything. (The photographers were originally supposed to shoot from BEHIND the audience, until someone had the brainstorm to let them get in front.) We got there early, so were right up front, too. Otherwise, our thought bubble would have read: "@#*!%**!!!" (Joseph V. Amodio)

Monique Lhuillier

Feminists may bristle at things like fairy tales,
Photo Credit: Getty Images for New York Fashion Week / JP Yim

Feminists may bristle at things like fairy tales, and they're right -- women get treated HORRIBLY in those stories (imprisoned in towers, hexed into comas, yadda, yadda) and guys just have to show up and kiss them to save the day. But ... the clothes. Fairy tales live on, at least in part, because the wardrobes are somehow so satisfying to young girls. The sweeping skirts, the glitter, the proclivity for pink. Those girls may grow up, but they don't forget.

Enter Monique Lhuillier, the Filipino designer who made her mark in bridal wear 20 years ago and then expanded into clothes for every other day of the year. Her dreamy sensibility is as evident as ever in her spring line, with its pastel shades, soft lines and those lavender summer mink jackets, "dahling" ...well, they may have you saying, "dahling." One blush dress flaunts tulle straps and heart-shaped sequins, another glides by with a flutter of ostrich feathers, and a third embroidered gown literally jangles, as if its circular paillettes are softly whispering as she glides by. The best was a baby blue and pink chiffon gown, high in front, the shoulders dappled with flower petals of hand-painted lacquer.

Her dresses may not be for everyone (there's an overt sweetness that may not play for some), but they make the wearer look regal yet somehow still approachable. It's like she can turn any customer into the Duchess of Cambridge. Not a bad trick. (Joseph V. Amodio)

Reem Acra

Reem Acra handed out a little card at
Photo Credit: Courtesy of Reem Acra

Reem Acra handed out a little card at her Tuesday evening show at the Mercantile Annex on West 38th Street that read: "When you have the keys to the secret garden. Do you use it? Do you hide it?"

Let us interpret: If you're a gorgeous, leggy, extremely wealthy woman, you will use your key and wear any one of Acra's astoundingly fantastical cocktail dresses -- tiny, shapely minis drenched in embellishment and beyond fun to look at; they were truly dazzling.

If you're hiding the key, you might consider her ball gowns. These elaborate, blown-out confections, while dramatic, were not as striking as the minis.

Acra is no stranger to the red carpet, having dressed luminaries such as Jennifer Lopez, Beyoncé, Taylor Swift and Halle Berry. A feast for the eye. (Anne Bratskeir)

Chiara Boni La Petite Robe

Chiara Boni La Petite Robe: An adorable show
Photo Credit: Getty Images for New York Fashion Week / Frazer Harrison

Chiara Boni La Petite Robe: An adorable show from this reasonably priced, excellent dressy dress resource opened with a film of beautiful women with curlers in their hair in an old-time beauty salon.

Out came the models with big, tousled hair, and instead of blank stairs and hunched walks, these girls worked it -- so much so that audience members were hooting and hollering, "You go girl."

It was refreshingly spirited and featured an array of jersey dresses with a '50s feel in a color palette of blush, blue and black. In fact, a black jersey gown with a cutout at the neckline was absolutely stunning. (Anne Bratskeir)

Alice + Olivia

Stacey Bendet proves with her Alice + Olivia
Photo Credit: Getty Images / Astrid Stawiarz

Stacey Bendet proves with her Alice + Olivia line that mere embroidery, when done right, can magically transport you to a romantic Roman garden. The dresses are stunners, all, and steeped in a bit of mystical allure -- the designs are inspired by Tarot cards.

Even better -- there is now a new line of sunglasses to go with your alluring dress. Bendet's shades debut features oversized cat and mod shapes as eclectic as the brand's signature style. (Joseph V. Amodio)

Vera Wang

Why bother with color? Vera Wang put out
Photo Credit: Getty Images / Frazer Harrison

Why bother with color? Vera Wang put out a dramatic study in black and a wee bit of white at her late morning show at the Skylight at Moynihan Station. With a lineup that read Victoriana-meets-modern, the designer sliced off shoulders on jackets and offered mega-elongated sleeves in the sultry mix. L-o-n-g skirts, many super sheer, unfortunately made it difficult for models to navigate the runway but, oh, how they billowed as they trailed the models. "It almost looked like the way jellyfish move," said Teyana Taylor, who's burning up the screen in Kanye West's newest video, "Fade." And if you're going to embellish, why go small? Giant gumball-sized black and white pearls dappled several looks, these, too, sometimes causing issues for the models as they rolled on the runway. "I felt like I was channeling Coco Chanel with all the black and white and pearls," said Wang backstage. The audience was star-studded and included Olympic gold medalist Simone Biles, "The Color Purple" Tony Award winner, Cynthia Erivo, who liked the fact that the collection was, "just on the edge of risqué," and Chloe Sevigny. And despite a few runway malfunctions, it was gorgeous. "I just loved it," said Taylor. "I'm planning my wedding now and I want Vera to make my wedding dress." (Anne Bratskeir)

Tory Burch

It was quintessential Tory Burch at the designer's
Photo Credit: AFP / Getty Images / Angela Weiss

It was quintessential Tory Burch at the designer's packed early morning show at the Whitney Museum Tuesday morning. In notes, Burch called the collection, "East Coast meets West Coast," a delightful mash-up of hostess chic and cool prep. True to her inspiration, Burch worked the yacht club set exceptionally well with a sense of humor and not a hint of lockjaw: a neat, piped jacket topped a linen pant with a sailboat pattern; a sweater printed with the word "Ahoy" was paired with a cotton twill sailor pant and for rainy days an apple green patent vinyl anorak. It was all very buttoned up.

On a more relaxed front, the looks -- such as a breezy two-piece orange eyelet crop top and skirt, an ethereal floral empire strapless organza confection and the all-over garden prints, many heavily embellished with rhinestones -- will have take-it-easy types swooning.

And don't forget about basic boho, a Burch calling card. Here it included a fringed multi-color macramé skirt worn over a bikini bottom and a dazzling embroidered hot pink caftan in shantung silk.

Accessories were notable: chokers with pearls the size of golf balls and the best shoes -- suede fringe cork bottom mules and soft moccasins. (Anne Bratskeir)

Zac Posen

It was something old, something new at Zac
Photo Credit: Getty Images / JP Yim

It was something old, something new at Zac Posen's packed house at Spring Studios on Monday night. Old? The craftsmanship and precision tailoring he is known for, and in many cases, the hour-glass silhouettes that are a Posen signature. New? Technical fabrics that distinctly changed up the look. Some of the evening looks appeared to be transparent and were made of surgical mesh -- magical -- with beaded embellishments that seemed to float in the air. One gigantic strapless empire waist, tea-length dress in blush will most certainly make its way onto a fearless starlet. And there are plenty of pretty curvy cocktails and shorts ensembles -- (yes shorts), several in vivid hues of magenta, citrus green and coral with swirly metallic embroidery.

Cascade backs were gorgeous, but on several looks, pointy, architectural pleats rose from the hip -- which could be dicey on most figures.

Whippet slim tricotine pieces -- in black -- a trench, slim pant and moto jacket -- were not as eye catching as the rest of the lineup but may have been the best of all. (Anne Bratskeir)


As Sigmund Freud might've said (were he a
Photo Credit: Getty Images Entertainment / Albert Urso

As Sigmund Freud might've said (were he a fashionisto), sometimes a dress is just a dress. And it's true, you can't read too much symbolism into these things, but when a dress and jacket hit the runway with the DKNY logo trailing long threads to the floor, as if the letters DKNY were unraveling before our very eyes, one couldn't help but think, "Ummm...awkwaaaard."

That's because no one's quite sure what will happen to the brand -- or its still newish creative directors, Public School designers Dao-Yi Chow and Maxwell Osborne, who took over from founder Donna Karan with the spring 2016 line -- what with LVMH selling it this summer to G-III, a firm that owns various brands (Bass) and licenses (Calvin Klein, Ivanka Trump). They went through with this fashion show but it's unclear what direction the new owners will take, and with what designers at the helm.

Chow and Osborne have taken the brand in an edgier, experimental direction, and the jury's still out on whether the DKNY customer will evolve, or bail. There was a slew of conceptual pieces here, likely meant to be more buzzy than functional (the pants sliced open at the hip, or sweaters with overly long sleeves, which look cool in pictures but the constant pulling up of sleeves would drive a person nuts). They hit the sweet spot with various hooded tops, sweaters and parkas (cozy, useful) and a sheer tulle coat that felt futuristic yet feminine.

An oversized blue anorak was emblazoned with the eerily prophetic phrase "Everything was different in the future." Well, as far as this label's concerned, that's still to be seen. Stay tuned. (Joseph V. Amodio)

Rag & Bone

There goes Marcus Wainwright again -- the designer
Photo Credit: Getty Images / Slaven Vlasic

There goes Marcus Wainwright again -- the designer behind Rag & Bone churned out another season of workwear meets street, somehow managing to balance a sense of heritage with a modern snap.

The quilted snap jacket, in fact, is a must-have, doing double duty as outerwear or a workmanlike blazer to wear with jeans. Keep the denim fuller cut, somewhat faded, and if the weather gets fierce there's a great cape with a large flap pocket on front. And for your everyday essentials? A retro fanny pack tricked out mod in patent leather. See? Old CAN meet new. (Joseph V. Amodio)

Correction: A previous version of this review incorrectly stated that David Neville was still a designer for Rag & Bone; Neville is no longer with the brand

Vivienne Tam

Who says prairie skirts can't be in the
Photo Credit: Getty Images / Frazer Harrison

Who says prairie skirts can't be in the same collection as metallic pants? Vivienne Tam brought together futuristic textures with soft silhouettes in a look she described as "space cowboy," all in the name of Houston. Tam said she became fascinated with the Texas city after visiting a friend there for the first time.

"I was just so inspired by the city of Houston," Tam said. "The city, the culture, the energy."

Delicate lace dresses that are up-close homages to the Lone Star state were contrasted against louder mentions of the city; a dress covered in NASA logos screamed a reference to Houston's space station. Models dressed in metallic silver and denim were followed by looks that were straight out of a Western film -- button-down shirts, flared pants and fringed bags added a '70s flair to a slow, Texas swagger.

But the pieces that truly shone were those that combined Houston with Vivienne -- bold floral print garments peppered with references to the southern state.

Only Tam could pull off such a direct inspiration -- many may see such blatant mentions as tacky or unwearable. Yet her delicate draping and fun color palate could only make the audience smile, leaving the impression of an optimistic collection. (Dana Reszutek)

Oscar de la Renta

The sun streamed into the Oscar de la
Photo Credit: Getty Images / Slaven Vlasic

The sun streamed into the Oscar de la Renta show through the gigantic windows at the Morgan Library on Monday afternoon. Fashion's heavyweights were all there -- de la Renta clients included -- dressed to the nines, to see what this interim moment for the house would be like. Shortly before his death in 2014, de la Renta appointed Peter Copping as creative director but in less that two years, Copping exited. In February the buzzy Monse designers, Fernando Garcia and Laura Kim, who worked at de la Renta years ago, will take over. So this was a rare moment for the in-house design team to strut their stuff.

The show opened with a variety of white and ivory confections in organza such as an ivory lace caftan, an airy eyelet number and a hammered silk chiffon tea-length frock with ladder lace trim. From there it moved into more recognizable Oscar territory with a series of uber-luxe gypsy brocades - multi-colored paisleys - one multi-colored tweed suit worn with a black sequin bandeau. Further on in the 45-look lineup came the drama - a pleated gown in navy and gold lame; a fiery red cocktail frock with giant ruffles that swirled around the model's body; a hand-smocked organza dress with sci-fi billowing sleeves, all worn with flat sandals.

But who would take the finale walk? Some nine people from the design team joyously bounded down the runway. They held up their arms and blew kisses to a balcony above where the tailors and seamstresses watched the show. For a moment there, we thought they were reaching up to the heavens, where their old boss was likely watching, and smiling. (Anne Bratskeir)

Thom Browne

Picture a country club pool, and a gaggle
Photo Credit: Getty Images / Astrid Stawiarz

Picture a country club pool, and a gaggle of ladies arriving, done up in bulky coats and shower caps, all clucking and prattling on as they enter and line up on either side of the pool. They wear mismatched shoes (fabulous platforms with heels in the shape of anchors, sailboats, spouting whales). They carry bright totes. Wear Gaga-worthy frames and neon lipstick. A man in a shrunken suit and cat mask wanders through.

With me so far? That's the ethereal, "Mad Men" meets "Alice in Wonderland" world that Thom Browne created for his spring runway show, always a standout theatrical event that few can match. Maybe Marc Jacobs. Maybe.

The feline fella eventually coaxes the ladies to change -- off go the coats and bonnets, revealing long dresses with trompe l'oeil layers, as if they're wearing suits, cardigans and jackets. These patchwork dresses, vaguely '60s in style, are made of fabrics that look like Colorforms you might have played with as a girl, or paper dolls, as if these ladies wear outfits that are drawn on.

If people are wearing mismatched shoes and drawn-on dresses a year from now, it'll be because of this show. The man is a trendsetter. His shrunken suits for men seemed odd when they first debuted. Now men's suits are leaner than ever before.

Eventually, as is no doubt a common occurrence at this trippy pool, a tall lady wearing a silver headpiece like a disco ball in the shape of a dog's head -- uh huh -- steps out, spotlights hit the silvery headpiece and a swirl of stars appear on the ceiling. The ladies take this opportunity to disrobe again, reclining on the tile floor in retro bathing suits, halters and high-waist bikinis in the label's signature red and blue stripe. The music, which started as big band swing, has morphed into dreamy Henry Mancini-like Muzak. It's the end of a long day. They've gossiped, they've tolerated the freaky cat guy. Time, finally, to relax. (Joseph V. Amodio)

Lela Rose

A huge thank you to Lela Rose who
Photo Credit: Joe Schildhorn /

A huge thank you to Lela Rose who bought lunch for an intimate group of fashion folks at Café Altro Paradiso restaurant on Spring Street. As guests munched on kale salads and prosciutto and sipped tequila drinks meant to match the palette -- (it was called "Pretty in Peach" and she handed out the recipe) -- models meandered amidst the tables showing off Rose's lovely lineup of looks meant to go from day to dinner in feminine, vibrant hues. The designer is known for love of entertaining and food - at a previous show she handed out potholders made of a signature fabric. It was such a lovely respite from the fast track of fashion week, and the clothes were lovely, too.

Models wearing giant sunglasses with daisies on the frames sauntered in fit-and-flare dresses in luscious shades of poppy, peach and lemon. One retro-looking ensemble featured a cool off-the-shoulder tube knit topper over slim pants in a bright geometric print. A black gown with of lace and sheer pleats was stunning and a flirty, tiered cocktail was amped up with metallic ribbon.

It was everything a fashionable gal could want, including a take-away dessert -- jars of homemade chocolate hazelnut biscotti. Yum all around. (Anne Bratskeir)

Serena Williams

She may have lost her bid for a
Photo Credit: Bruce Gilbert

She may have lost her bid for a Grand Slam at this year's U.S. Open, but Serena Williams scored high points with the fashion crowd at the runway show for her fall collection. Held Sept. 12 at KiA/Style360, a fashion venue on West 46th Street, the display drew Anna Wintour to the front row, seated next to Venus Williams.

The line, a mix of cozy sweater dresses, lace maxis worn over shorts, and a striped fur vest, live-streamed on HSN when the models hit the runway. Score -- luv, Serena. (Joseph V. Amodio)

Jeremy Scott

Wallflowers, beware! Jeremy Scott is not just a
Photo Credit: Getty Images / Frazer Harrison

Wallflowers, beware! Jeremy Scott is not just a designer but a fashion phenomenon, and after decades in the biz, outfitting hotties from Rihanna to Britney Spears, his cult following is only getting larger -- which means shyness may soon be outlawed. There's just no room for it. Not with clothes like these -- a midriff dress with a cityscape print dripping in green slime, or the jackets and other pieces emblazoned with garish faces, the handbag like a giant tube of toothpaste (labeled "Jeremy -- original cool mint"), or those spangly disco dresses with swirling Saturn rings straight outta "The Jetsons."

In this, one of his biggest and most crowded shows yet, the designer proved once again how the appeal of his wacky, tongue-in-chic designs is infectious. How much he's commenting on or just plain reveling in American excess and turned-on-high-spin consumerism is always murky. No doubt his current stint as creative director at Moschino has given him a taste of the good life -- selling at high volume. And there's no question he knows what sells: Those tees blaring "New York" and "Rated X" are gonna fly off shelves. (Joseph V. Amodio)

Carolina Herrera

For the past few seasons, Carolina Herrera has
Photo Credit: Getty Images / JP Yim

For the past few seasons, Carolina Herrera has chosen to show her swanky collection in a garden room at the Frick Collection on the Upper East Side, and it is a perfect showcase for the designer's elegant and gorgeously tailored vision.

For spring, Herrera let loose a bit, not only with her silos, but with the gravitas of the collection. No ladies who lunch stiff suitings here -- instead, plenty of denim -- a blown-out strapless ball gown, a body grazing day dress, and even a coat dress that featured an ample leg-flashing slit. Evening looks revolved around sheer (but not overtly) dresses and gowns, several one-shoulder jobs with twisted straps, in black and white. There were crinkly metallics and bold awning stripes. And, hallelujah -- most of the ensembles were worn with flats, and in a few cases florals, that matched the fabric of the skirt. In one case, Herrera gave a stylish wink to formality with a tremendous striped ball skirt that grazed the feet of the audience and was topped with a cropped sweater, styled to look like a rugby shirt with the No. 3 on the arm. Fun and fabulous. (Anne Bratskeir)

Rosie Assoulin

A downtown event space was transformed into a
Photo Credit: Meghan Giannotta

A downtown event space was transformed into a beachfront paradise for the Rosie Assoulin presentation. Between packing peanut "sand," a stack of beach chairs and palm trees, the only thing missing was the waves -- unless you count the seemingly effortless beach waves some of the models were rocking.

The space set the stage for Assoulin's spring/summer 2017 collection, which was heavy on floral sundresses, ruffled tops and striped color block patterns, some of which shimmered in the "sun." Most looks were topped off with floppy hats and wicker bags. Models sipped sparkling lemonade and snacked on Sour Patch Kids and taffy candies. 

One business look (a grey pinstripe suit and capri combo) sneaked into the presentation and seemed out of place along a shoreline of vibrant color. (Meghan Giannotta)

The Blonds

It's strange to say this about a brand
Photo Credit: Getty Images / Brian Ach

It's strange to say this about a brand specializing in blinged-out corsets and thigh-high boots, but the spring collection of design duo Phillipe and David Blond seemed more ... accessible than in seasons past. The show, of course, was still raucous -- it's always a hot ticket for the edgy downtown set and young celebs (Kelly Osbourne and "Orange Is the New Black's" Vicky Jeudy and Dascha Polanco sat front row).

For spring the label offers oversized, spangly silver tanks for both men and women -- one model wore hers as a dress with a distressed white tank top underneath. Another model sported a platinum sweatshirt dress with a pleated silver cape that looked like wings. Or there was the metallic bodysuit cut so high it would've gotten Simone Biles and the rest of the Final Five thrown out of the Summer Olympics.

Out there? Sure ... but it's easy to imagine these styles being worn by eager club-hoppers.

"It's a little bit of alien, a little bit of goddess," said Phillipe Blond, chatting with American Express cardholders at a private meet-and-greet in the Amex VIP Lounge at Milk Studios, just after the runway show. They're celebrating their 10th anniversary, David Blond explained, and so "we wanted to take the line to a different place."

Of course, there were still the massive permed wigs and a wind machine to keep things properly ... Blondish. Accessible? Yes. Over the top? Always. (Joseph V. Amodio)

Prabal Gurung

Many designers put a lot of thought into
Photo Credit: Getty Images for New York Fashion Week / Neilson Barnard

Many designers put a lot of thought into crafting just the right soundtrack for their runway show, but it doesn't get much better than hearing the late great Maya Angelou reciting her poem "Phenomenal Woman." That was the way Prabal Gurung chose to conclude his spring runway show, and it seemed to speak as much to another upcoming collection of his -- more on that in a second -- as to his general outlook on the Gurung customer.

In the poem, Angelou, speaking for the average woman everywhere, talks about how pretty girls sometimes don't quite get how she can be so confident or feel good about herself. She admits, "I'm not cute or built to suit a fashion model's size." But she feels a sense of power in her curves and full-fledged hips. "I'm a woman / Phenomenally."

That spirit was on hand, if not in the models themselves (who seemed standard size 2s and 0s), than in their pace -- Gurung's ladies are strong, walk fast, have places to go -- and the fierce way they owned the clothes. Like the luxe cashmere boucle sweater, yanked off one shoulder. The trousers fluttering with a cuff of ostrich feathers. The various stunner beaded dresses. Or the dresses, tops and skirts slashed to reveal flashes of skin, one electric blue skirt slashed and pinned back together in strips like a car wash curtain.

As for that future collection? Gurung has been working on a hotly anticipated collaboration with Lane Bryant, once again proving that "phenomenal" has nothing to do with dress size. (Joseph V. Amodio)

Carmen Marc Valvo

Oh, how refreshing it was to see spring
Photo Credit: Getty Images for Carmen Marc Valvo / Fernanda Calfat

Oh, how refreshing it was to see spring 2017 through Carmen Marc Valvo's eyes. His stylized, pared-down collection featured models made up to look like dolls with giant puffs of hair topped with little girl bows in frocks and gowns that while girlish, were easy to wear.

Silhouettes seemed simple -- dropped waists, empire, bubble -- but Valvo's handiwork was not. Many pieces featured stunning three-dimensional floral embroidery -- even a few bathing suits. The palate was predominately black, white and nude with a few poppy numbers, though they didn't work as well as the rest.

But best of all, most of Valvo's models wore sneakers -- his own design -- that not only looked great, and so modern with the dresses, but everybody wanted a pair. As for the doll theme... he took it to the seats, gifting every guest with, what else? A Carmen Marc Valvo lollipop. (Anne Bratskeir)


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