J. Crew, Marchesa, Tory Burch and more at New York Fashion Week


Above and below: The spring 2012 collection of designer Tory Burch was presented Tuesday during Fashion Week in New York. (Richard Drew/AP)

(Richard Drew/AP)

At the J. Crew presentation, the crowd went mad when Beyonce, clad in a body-hugging gold-sequined mini dress, and her sister Solange Knowles arrived. Then the spotlight turned back to a women’s collection designed by Marissa Webb and menswear designed by Frank Muytjens, under the watchful eye of J. Crew creative director Jenna Lyons.


Neon looks not garish but wearable, in this trio from J. Crew. (Ned Martel/Ned Martel)

At Vera Wang, after Beyonce did a quick costume change and slipped quietly into her front-row seat, the designer channeled Alice in Wonderland and 18th-century wallpaper (yes, you read that correctly) in a collection that seemed vaguely futuristic, slightly trippy and — in some instances — downright confusing. The designer is willing to experiment with texture, and certain looks — a mint ensemble that with a quilted vest and a chiffon skirt, for example — highlighted her skill in that arena.


A piece from the Vera Wang Spring 2012 fashion show at Lincoln Center on Tuesday. (Frazer Harrison/GETTY IMAGES FOR MERCEDES-BENZ F)

Like Tory Burch before them, Marchesa designers Georgina Chapman and Keren Craig hosted their first-ever runway show Tuesday, as well, featuring a spring collection inspired by an Ilya Repin painting of an underwater world. To parlay the ocean depths into a collection of formal gowns, the designers used illusion netting, scale-like embroidery and cascades of metallic and silk fringe.

While Chapman and Craig have mastered the art of folding, pleating, tucking and manipulating fabric into forms either frothy or sculptural, a turn toward the sleek and sensual imbued the collection with a sense of change. Of course, there was tulle — and lots of it — along with lace and feathers, and plenty of Hollywood-ready gowns that we’ll no doubt see on a red carpet very soon. But the real chill-inducing pieces were those bedecked with swinging chiffon tendrils and cascading gold fringe, designed to mimic the elegant tentacles of a jellyfish. Among the front-row fans: Emma Roberts, Mandy Moore, Rachel Zoe, Michelle Monaghan, Kelly Osborne and reality-TV alums Olivia Palermo and Louise Roe.

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