- Associated Press - Thursday, February 9, 2012

NEW YORK (AP) - Fashion designers, retailers, editors and stylists settled into their routines Thursday for eight days of previews at New York Fashion Week with barely a blink at all the photographers’ flashes: a sign of business-as-usual stability.

The luxury market that most of the runway shows speak to has, over the past year, steadily recovered at the retail level despite the volatile economy. The clothes to hit the catwalk in the early going showed a continued confidence in the colorblocking, tailoring and easy, elongated shapes that have been trickling into stores and will arrive in force come spring.

The brands BCBG Max Azria and Richard Chai Love kept colors basic and used hardly any embellishment, turning out straightforward, wearable clothes. Surely there are more flamboyant moments to come, but fashion is, after all, the marriage of art and commerce. Of course, there’s the celebrity element, too, and Tadashi Shoji took care of red carpet looks with his Shanghai-visits-Hollywood gowns.

Dozens of shows are planned at the Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week tents that serve as the hub, with another 12, including Skaist-Taylor and Tory Burch, presenting their shows elsewhere on the Lincoln Center campus.

“We look at every space. The question for me is, `How do you break open the red velvet ropes?’” said Stephanie Winston Wolkoff, director of fashion at Lincoln Center.

Burch’s show, for example, while an invitation-only event, is held in an all-windowed spot so Winston Wolkoff expects passers-by to get a peek.

However, big names such as Marc Jacobs, Ralph Lauren and Calvin Klein, who all show later in the week, will draw the crowd to off-site places and likely enforce the strict guest list.


Samantha Critchell tweets fashion at http://twitter.com/ap_fashion