Von Furstenberg, DKNY Show Off in N.Y.

The Associated Press
Sunday, September 10, 2006; 8:03 PM

NEW YORK -- Fashion has become a more democratic industry, trying to offer something for everyone. The spring styles previewed so far at New York Fashion Week have targeted pretty young things, working girls, dancing divas and, occasionally, regular women.

The designer runway shows, which opened Friday, continue through the week, so socialites are still waiting for their cues from Oscar de la Renta, country clubbers from Ralph Lauren and the chicettes from Marc Jacobs.

Diane von Furstenberg: The first dress on the runway at Sunday's show was one of von Furstenberg's signature wraps, this time done in a black, white and hot pink pop-art print that acted as camouflage for a lurking snake. It set the tone for the collection that von Furstenberg called "All About Eve."

There were plenty of wearable styles _ including jersey coat dresses and cotton shirtdresses _ but the looks likely to stir some buzz are those von Furstenberg rooted in the garden, including a simple cream-colored V-neck shift with an oversized ladybug on the hip. A green frog-print trench coat over a jersey tunic sounds kitschy _ and it was _ but it also was chic. The best of this group might be the shiny green and blue python slicker that was worn over a brown and black python swimsuit with a plunging V.

Tuleh: Black and white _ with touches of yellow and navy _ told the story at Tuleh. The Sunday night show began with a series of chic daytime looks, including a sheer black spider-sweb blouse and an airy apple-print dress. A patent leather dress almost crossed the line as too edgy but the simple, modest style of the dress made it appropriate for designer Bryan Bradley's socialite fans.

There also was a weathered leather trench coat worn over a ladylike bow blouse, cardigan and pencil skirt that, as an outfit, hit the right balance between city and sophisticate.

The collection did go a little too far astray with a white cocktail dress that had so many pouffs of fabric, it looked like a jar of cotton balls. A black and white dot evening gown in wispy chiffon put the line back on track at the end.

DKNY: Donna Karan always says that this line is influenced by the things she sees around her each and every day in New York, so it makes sense that the collection previewed Sunday mixed athleticwear with club couture and office clothes with knock-around weekend outfits. Hemlines were either really short or really long, some tops were slouchy and loose while others were fitted and cropped. The palette ranged from deep purple to mustard yellow, also signaling that Karan watches the people in this city _ they're not big on pastels, even in the springtime.

"New York isn't one thing, it's everything," Karan said in her notes.

A short wrap trench coat in poppy red was the right mix of sassy and serious for a working girl ready to be noticed. Underneath it she could wear the trousers that sat on the natural waist and had wide legs and wide cuffs at the bottom _ a welcome item after a fall full of hard-to-wear, high-waisted, skinny-leg pants.

Accordian-pleat A-line skirts that flashed bright color linings and a band of gold around the hem might help entice that same young woman out of bed on a dreary Sunday. If the weather took a further turn for the worse, she could pull out a royal blue, trapeze-shape parka.

That said, it's hard to picture such a style-savvy woman, in a style-savvy city, wearing a flashy sequined baseball jersey with DKNY across the front. And the jury is still out on the hiking platform sandals with high-heel wedges for heels.

Tracy Reese: Tracy Reese is known for ladylike dresses. With this collection, though, Reese proved that ladylike doesn't have to mean stiff.

Between the tango dancers she featured on the catwalk Sunday were models in bouncy bubble-hem dresses and other fluid frocks with names such as "fly away" and "free." A loose shift in sheer black that puckered like seersucker was youthful and modern, while a blouson, drop-waist dress in the same fabric had more of a flapper feel.

Even a dress called a "sack" was nice, mostly because it was done in a lively and light palm-print fabric.

At least one jumpsuit seems to be mandatory in every collection this season, and Reese's version _ a strapless one with legs that hit midcalf _ was better than most seen so far at the Bryant Park tents.

The takeaway from Reese's show was that some shapes that are traditionally difficult to wear can indeed be flattering when done right.

Lacoste: Creative Director Christophe Lemaire's show attracted a filled-to-capacity crowd Saturday night that saw Lacoste step off the tennis court and into the streets with a collection that included a belted blue-and-white map print dress and a long pleated white jersey skirt that could be worn at the beach or for the evening.

A graphic black-and-white polo shirt with above-the-knee pants was a fresh and crisp look, and the younger set will enjoy the range of colors seen throughout the collection, including orange, aqua, green and pink.


AP writer Carol Deegan contributed to this report.


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