- Associated Press - Thursday, September 16, 2010

NEW YORK (AP) - If there was a single message to take away from New York Fashion Week, it was this: Take it easy, fashionistas.

Languid, fluid styles were dominant in the eight days of spring previews that wrapped up on Thursday. Silhouettes were long and loose, sometimes billowy, in chiffon, tulle and silk.

It was a far cry from the warrior look that has dominated the runways in recent seasons, and it reflected a new optimism that also came through in the use of white and sheer fabrics.

“I think the collections have been very optimistic. The best of them have been very colorful and pretty and romantic,” said Vogue Editor-in-Chief Anna Wintour.

The final day of Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week featured the return of Gwen Stefani and her LAMB collection to the runway and shows by heavyweights Ralph Lauren, Calvin Klein and Oscar de la Renta. Now fashion insiders take off to London, Milan and Paris.

CALVIN KLEIN

Easy, fluid and chic have been three of the favorite words at New York Fashion Week _ and that was before the Calvin Klein collection debuted. Now, you can add sexy, smart and glamorous.

Minimal has long been the mantra of Calvin Klein, but Franciso Costa made the most for spring of each fold of fabric. He showed a masterful understanding of how clothes look on the body, and how to use that to the wearer’s advantage. A delicate little tie hugged the models wearing pleated dresses, and the silk crepe V-neck dress was evocative of a slinky-yet-sophisticated robe.

The one potential misstep was the extra chunk of fabric added to already long-length trousers. But one reminder of the back-wrap silk halter dress that opened the show, and all is forgiven.

And those racer-back gowns were oh-so sultry. Will we see front-row guest Katie Holmes in one of them soon?

Costa doesn’t normally pay much attention to trends but this time he nailed the defining look of the season.

OSCAR DE LA RENTA

Oscar de la Renta gave the audience what it wanted out of his new spring collection: clothes for the big bashes.

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