- Associated Press - Wednesday, February 16, 2011

NEW YORK (AP) - Quilting, lace, fur, leather. Designers are feeling texture for next fall.

Oscar de la Renta’s patchwork coat in full floral, embroidered, striped, Jacquard glory told the story well Wednesday as New York Fashion Week headed into a final, furious stretch of runway shows.

Even for de la Renta’s well-heeled woman, “It’s all about little thrills,” said Ken Downing, fashion director at Neiman Marcus. “Designers are inventing all these ideas of interesting fabrics.”

It’s not your usual mixed media as we saw last autumn. Now, Downing said, “It’s hitting a fever pitch.”

The heart of the J. Mendel house remains with fur, but the runway of Gilles Mendel was also dripping in luxe beading and appliques. No time for basics in the shoe collection he debuted. Too busy with black broadtail to the ankle, black suede to the knee and mocha-colored silk satin up the thigh.

A black, one-shoulder sheer by Michael Kors had ONLY the print as cover up top. His belted animal print coat in caramel is ready to be stroked.

Technique pleases Downing. It creates allure in the details. A sequined sheer scarf is a whisper in smoky gray as it teeters atop an updo on Donna Karan’s runway.

Previews run through Thursday night before moving on to London, Paris and Milan, Italy.


It was all there: glamour, luxury, color.

De la Renta isn’t trendy, even if many of the trends that have made the rounds of the runways _ texture, metallics, long layers and man-tailoring, among them _ were offered here.

These clothes are for women looking for the special investment pieces that can be worn a lifetime.

He’s particularly known for embellishment, embroidery and show-stopping eveningwear. Come fall, coats surely will be on that short list. Many were fur-cashgora combos and cashmere crocheted cardigans with fur hoods gave new life to a standby silhouette.

Daytime dresses were slim, some with a simple belt at the waist or a ruffle around the neck. He did not shy away from color: There were bright blues, greens and reds.

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