Flowers bloom on runways at NY Fashion Week

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NEW YORK (AP) - Flowers, those sure signs of spring, sprouted up all over New York Fashion Week runways on Monday.

Marc Jacobs tucked giant, oversized flowers into models’ hair. But no one did them bigger than Carolina Herrera, whose bold flowers were inspired by botanical plates from the 18th century. Flowers also bloomed at Donna Karan in muted neutrals, and they peeked through the runways of Tracy Reese and Jenny Packham.

The optimistic symbol goes hand-in-hand with the airy lightness that has prevailed so far at the spring 2011 previews that run through Thursday. These florals were more earthy, soft and natural than fashion insiders have seen in recent seasons. They looked like real flowers _ not perfect, but alive.

MARC JACOBS

A lot of designers have disco danced around a 1970s muse with those billowy shapes, scarf-tied tops, gold lame and long, flared trousers. But Marc Jacobs, probably the most influential fashion force in New York, is the only one who fully asked her to dance.

He had those looks and more, including jumpsuits, hot pants, culottes and those tight striped knits popular when many in the audience were probably in grade school.

The retro vibe was amplified by frizzed-out hair, metallic sparkle eye shadow, floppy hats and giant, oversized flowers in the hair, around the neck or on thick, cinching belts.

There was a bit of a tropical feel to the collection _ it is for spring, after all _ with one top covered in palm-tree beading. The colors included purple, orange and hot pink, all of which are showing staying power through this round of style previews. For good, glitzy measure, there were silver and gold sequins, even on some platform sandals.

TOMMY HILFIGER

For Tommy Hilfiger’s 25th anniversary fashion show there was plenty of fanfare. A faux grass runway! Jennifer Lopez! Bradley Cooper! Lenny Kravitz! A huge afterparty at the Metropolitan Opera House with a performance from The Strokes!

But the clothes that were on the catwalk were, somewhat surprisingly, straightforward and wearable.

“I really strive for all-American cool,” Hilfiger said in a pre-show interview. In his notes, he cited rockabilly and country clubs, with a twist of audacious color, patterns and proportions.

It’s the aesthetic that, since recommitting to it a few seasons ago, Hilfiger has really owned.

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