- The Washington Times - Thursday, September 11, 2008

NEW YORK (AP) - How does a seemingly unusual trend _ to wit, harem pants _ end up on almost every runway at New York Fashion Week?

The spring previews entering the home stretch on Thursday brought together more than 100 designers from around the world. But the fashion world is a small one, after all.

Fashion designers are invited to the same events and visit the same cities where they stay in the same hotels and see the same art exhibits.

For harem pants, the seed may lie across the Atlantic, where the look was reportedly worn by a very chic French editor. Designers probably saw the look and tried their own version.

“Fashion designers see someone like her and think they look cool,” says Amy Astley, editor in chief of Teen Vogue. “Trends by their very nature aren’t for everyone, but everyone likes to try them.”

The trouble is, it’ll be hard for anyone who is not a tall, slim French editor to pull off such draped, billowy pants. But that didn’t stop anyone from Phi, showing Thursday, to Proenza Schouler, Miss Sixty, Betsy Johnson, Nicole Miller and Tahari from sending them down the runway. New York Fashion Week wraps up Friday.

VERA WANG

Vera Wang’s runway gleamed on Thursday, with mirrored-tile embellishment on stunning dresses and tops, as well as chunky beaded motorcycle belts and bib necklaces.

The spring collection mirrored some of the trends already spotted at New York Fashion Week _ easy silhouettes and a sultry use of sheer fabrics, among them _ but Wang also had a billowy vibe all her own.

A fashion-forward Hollywood star should skip the glamour-girl strapless gown at the upcoming Emmy Awards and go for one of Wang’s chic slim long dress made of two layers of charcoal and orange organza. Add the aquamarine-crystal belt and you’ve got a guaranteed spot on the best-dressed list.

Wang also presented what could be the black dress of the season _ a T-shirt silhouette in silk and cotton that could be dressed up, dressed down or worn effortlessly on its own.

CYNTHIA ROWLEY

Against the backdrop of a giant clock, Cynthia Rowley presented clean geometric shapes and patterns.

The clothes and accessories were sporty and sexy, including tank dresses with color blocking, dresses with one sleeve and skirts, jackets with a shape cut out of the back.

The clock started when the first model walked out on the catwalk.

“The clock is a comment on the increase in the number of collections a designer creates each year, and the race to turn out those collections quickly and to produce new things,” Rowley said in an e-mail to The Associated Press.

REBECCA TAYLOR

Rebecca Taylor traveled back to the bohemian 1970s for her spring collection, sending floaty frocks and separates with bell sleeves, tiny ball trims and billowy silhouettes down the runway .

Models, with long flowing hair pulled off the face by headbands, slouched along in wooden-heeled perforated peeptoe booties. Some carried tan bags with long fringe, another nod to San Francisco’s flower children.

The carefree bohemian feel marked a slight departure for Taylor, who specializes in pretty, girly frocks. This season, the Taylor girl isn’t too high maintenance _ she’ll tuck in her delicate embroidered blouse but leave it out and trailing over the back of a pale lavender button-front mini.

J. MENDEL

Stylists were gown-shopping for celebrity clients at Thursday’s presentation by J. Mendel _ and they found several candidates for the red carpet at the upcoming Emmy Awards.

Stylists Mary Alice Stephenson and Rachel Zoe joked that they were fighting over an electric blue silk chiffon gown with a crystal chain. Stephenson also envisioned an actress in a one-shoulder, cream-colored draped gown with a delicate gold-bead belt and a lace inset on the back.

“We’ve seen a lot of interesting clothes and a lot of short clothes this Fashion Week,” Stephenson said. “But we have not seen a lot of glamorous red-carpet dresses _ until now.”

Pretty, delicate dresses with satin piping, tiny pleats or ruffles dominated Gilles Mendel’s collection, but the designer also offered his first-ever jersey daytime looks and, of course, some of his signature furs. Those elements came together in a lovely outfit with a cinnamon-colored, short-sleeve mink coat and a strapless jersey dress draped both horizontally and vertically.

___

Associated Press writers Megan K. Scott and Amanda Kwan contributed to this report.

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