Fashion forecast: Frigid weather timely as designers unveil their fall/winter 2014 collections - The Buffalo News
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Fashion forecast: Frigid weather timely as designers unveil their fall/winter 2014 collections

The fashion crowd undoubtedly wondered “What to wear?” this week as it faced wintry weather in New York and a schedule packed with runway shows, sometimes in out-of-the-way locations. Perhaps some in attendance dreamed of snagging a plush parka, cozy sweater or boxy coat straight from the runway as they watched designers present their collections for fall/winter 2014.

The shows, which ended Thursday, gave a peek at some of the upcoming trends – big coats, longer skirts and muted colors among them – while also delivering the theatrics showgoers expect. A streaker made a surprise appearance at the Prabal Gurung show. Chocolate oozed down the wall at another show staged by design house Open Ceremony.

Tommy Hilfiger, Rebecca Minkoff, Michael Kors, Donna Karan, Jenny Packham and other designers unveiled collections, including Buffalo natives Adam Lippes and Mara Hoffman.

Women’s Wear Daily called Lippes’ collection of luxurious classics both “wearable and beautiful”; picture a long toggle coat over a lace dress or elegant oversized sweaters. Hoffman’s collection was inspired by Northern Africa, including Moroccon rugs and Egyptian camels and pyramids.

Turn the page for some excerpts from runway reviews reported by Associated Press reporters Jocelyn Noveck, Nicole Evatt, Leanne Italie and Nekesa Mumbi Moody.

– Susan Martin

Michael Kors

Kors’ fall collection was inspired by the left coast, and it was hard not to think that the Mamas and the Papas, featured on the soundtrack, were absolutely right when they sang: “I’d be safe and warm if I was in L.A.”

But alas, all the guests at the show were bundled up for winter. At least they had some A-list celebrities to look at: Michael Douglas, Blake Lively, Rose Byrne and Freida Pinto all came to pay their respects to one of the most successful designers in the business.

And they had the clothes to look at: Big, soft sweaters of every kind, and lots of wool, cashmere, alpaca, shearling, mohair, flannel and fur.

Kors is popular on the red carpet and had high praise for Sandra Bullock, nominated for “Gravity.”

“Sandra Bullock, my God, bravo, hello! You know I think between Sandra and Mrs. Obama they’ve convinced every woman that life in fashion is definitely not over once you pass 45.”

Narciso Rodriguez

Rodriguez says he’s always been one to design in black and white. This time, he wanted to mix it up a little.

“The core of my life is black and white. I wanted to turn it around and celebrate color,” he said. “It’s not a departure – it’s an evolution.”

He signaled that evolution by opening his show with four items in bright red – a couple of red wool coats, a couple of red wool dresses. His well-received collection was full of easy-fitting garments — finely tailored, but with room to move in. “I wanted an easy, relaxed silhouette,” he said.

Tommy Hilfiger

Hilfiger’s show presented a much more idyllic version of the arctic conditions that have defined New York Fashion Week.

Held inside the cavernous Park Avenue Armory, Hilfiger’s backdrop for his collection was, like the city, a wintry one. But instead of urban slush, he provided a scene that was snowy and rustic. A log cabin and skis sat in the background, while fir trees, boulders and fake snow mixed with mulch adorned the area around the wooden runway. (“Don’t step on the mulch, please,” a security guard warned guests.)

The clothes fit the chilly ambience: There were plenty of parkas, cozy sweaters and much faux fur. Plaid was a recurring pattern, featured on wool skirts of varying lengths and long mohair dresses. There were also lots of fringes, on sweaters, skirts and dresses. The colors were muted; dark blues, grays, maroon, black and cream, either alone or as a pattern, dominated the hues.

The Row

A frigid, brutal wind was whipping off the nearby Hudson River as one approached the unassuming building in Manhattan’s West Village where Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen base their high-end fashion label, The Row.

The display began with huge, thick sweaters in luxurious “fur cashmere.” One of them, particularly apt for the current weather, had a huge oversized neck that one could sink into. One coat had a collar that covered half of the face.

There were jackets of various lengths, some tailored and others extremely loose, with huge lapels. There were poncho-like garments in felt cashmere and turtlenecks of cashmere silk. And there were capes, one in wool, and a lighter, shinier one in silk satin.

Vera Wang

Wang said her theme was “dark romance.” For her fall collection, Wang went to a darker color palette, featuring lots of black and charcoal, along with slightly more muted colors like pewter and bronze. Tartan was big – in coats, cloaks, skirts and jackets, and printed on lighter fabrics like chiffon, too, in blouses. There were also argyle sweaters and vests, long and roomy.

Jenny Packham

What will it be on the Oscars red carpet from Jenny Packham? The gold gown with the sparkly diamond pattern up top or one of her cherry reds with crystals?

If Anna Kendrick had a preference watching from Packham’s front row Tuesday, she wasn’t giving it away. The “Pitch Perfect” star has developed a poker face as she makes the rounds at New York Fashion Week.

Packham, the Londoner who has dressed Kate Middleton and numerous Hollywood stars, said in a backstage interview the collection was partly inspired by Bianca Jagger’s ease and elegance in flowing one-shoulder gowns and silk kaftans during the 1970s.

Donna Karan

With a little tear and a victory walk down the runway, Donna Karan marked her company’s 30th anniversary Monday night with a journey through New York.

The women on Karan’s anniversary runway wore bodysuits in illusion tulle, other sexy sheers showing slices of skin and backless evening looks with sequins and beads. But their strength was present in military-inspired coats and jackets, some with quirky sleeves of shaggy fur.

Zac Posen

Posen says he was more disciplined as he created his latest collection: He limited his choice of fabrics, and he limited his color palette, too. But he certainly didn’t limit the glamour quotient. You could practically hear the swooning when he sent out his beautifully draped, spectacular yet unadorned gowns to close out his runway show.

Posen doesn’t need sequins or crystals to enhance a dress. He can do a whole lot with something like pleats, which were perfect in a tangerine taffeta strapless ball gown, for example.

Open Ceremony

It was difficult to pay attention to the clothes as chocolate oozed down a massive white wall throughout the runway show for the design house Opening Ceremony. Inspired by a trip to Belgium, designers Humberto Leon and Carol Lim wanted their fall-winter presentation to be a treat for the senses. Many attendees couldn’t stop themselves from dipping their fingers in the chocolate oozing down the walls.

“My mind is blown,” said Joe Jonas as he realized what was happening.

Standouts from the women’s collection included flowing skirts with extreme, asymmetrical hemlines, some featuring cutouts around the knees.


For her DKNY runway, Karan presented – along with the models, of course – an assortment of non-models. They walked the runway with confidence and drew enthusiastic cheers. Some were built almost like models, others weren’t. Some had (gasp) gray hair, but all looked great in Karan’s colorful clothes.

Angel Haze, a musician, wore a favorite DKNY look: a long black faux fur vest. Devan Mayfield, a painter and a health practitioner, wore a crepe houndstooth and lace shift dress. Daniel Bamdad, a TV presenter, wore slim black jeans and a black cotton cutoff shirt. Masha Korchagina, an actress and biologist, wore a black and white shearling “cape vest.” Melissa Burns, a nightlife hostess, wore a striped shearling coat.

Derek Lam

From roomy cashmere in pale lavender to nubby boucle in a pleasing blue, there was barely an outfit on Lam’s runway that you wouldn’t want to curl up in. But not all. Open slits on several dresses were held together by gold beads in colors that included navy and marine blue. They were perhaps too risky for the average girly girl, though she remains the one he loves.

He offered her a lovely shade of “lake” blue (think deep robin’s egg) in a sleeveless dress and roomy coat. A cashmere crewneck sweater and boucle coat came in a pale lavender.

Alexander Wang

Brooklyn may be a hotbed of hipsters, but the fashion world is securely centered in Manhattan. So it took a designer of Alexander Wang’s caliber to lure those fashionistas to the other side of the East River in freezing weather for a 15-minute fashion show.

Wang presented the fall collection of his signature line at a 100,000-square-foot greenhouse at the Navy Yard. The clothes were an unusual mix of simple and elaborate, with a survival theme. “The great outdoors, camping, mountain climbing,” Wang explained.

But there was also a theme of sophisticated luxury. There were big and comfy jackets, for example, but in luxe fabrics, like cashmere.

Rebecca Minkoff

If you ever needed proof that designer Minkoff is much loved by young women, you had only to look at the celebrities sprinkled in the audience at her runway show.

There was Carrie Underwood, the country superstar. There were movie actresses Anna Kendrick and AnnaSophia Robb, and TV actress Zosia Mamet from HBO’s “Girls.” There was Victoria Justice, of Nickelodeon’s “Victorious,” and from the teenage set, Bella Thorne, best known for the Disney Channel’s “Shake it Up.”

They all came to see what Minkoff reliably delivers: a casual, upbeat collection of mixed patterns and textures, with some killer shoes and bags. She mixed soft with strong and light with heavy, as in a chiffon skirt under a big overcoat.

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