- Associated Press - Thursday, September 13, 2012

NEW YORK (AP) - The designers previewing spring collections at New York Fashion Week may not have had a single voice, but they all spoke loudly.

“Bold” was the word that buzzed around the tents at Lincoln Center after eight days of previews came to an end on Thursday. Between saturated color, sexy cutouts, statement-making stripes and mixed-up prints, the clothes had something to say.

“It feels like a statement season,” said Brandon Holley, editor-in-chief of Lucky magazine. “It feels like everyone is tired of shopping their closet, and they’re ready to make a new statement.”

Retailers are happy to see newness and bright colors, said Ken Downing, fashion director for Neiman Marcus.

“There were some have-to-have things,” said Downing, who ticked off a sleeveless jacket, a full skirt that’s either swingy and short, or cut on the bias and falling below the knee, and colored leather _ maybe laser cut? _ as items that will be on the top of the list for shoppers.

Nearly 200 designers preview their spring collections in New York before the fashion crowd heads to London, Milan and Paris. In seasons past, it was as if they all agreed on a message ahead of time. After the recession started, a hard-edged chick was the obvious muse. A few seasons later, everything was bohemian.

This time, there were certainly clear trends _ among them skirt suits, big colors, below-the-knee coats, leather, cutouts, corsets and banding, stripes and black-and-white. But there were many muses instead of one It Girl.

There were hints of India and other exotic locales. And the prints were edgier than what are usually offered in spring _ instead of “pretty” florals, there were digital renderings, X-ray patterns, skulls. “If it is a floral, then it’s photo realism floral, and that seems very different,” Holley said.

Even uptown staples Carolina Herrera and Oscar de la Renta had an edge, with the latter adding leather and latex to his society girl.

It’s as through designers stopped dictating style and are instead providing options. There’s your breath of spring air.


Statement made, Ralph Lauren: Be strong. Be bold. Go on that adventure.

The first look on Ralph Lauren’s runway featured a turquoise suede poet top, with cascading ruffles down the front, and the model wore a beret and carried a studded motorcycle bag. From there, it was a bright red hand-crocheted tank dress and a few looks later was a tomato red suede jacket with rustic brown leather details.

A colorful blanket-style serape was getting buzz from editors and stylists before they even left the downtown show space where Olivia Wilde and Jessica Alba sat in the front row. Lauren offered the same idea _ in the same green, brown and yellow colors _ in an off-the-shoulder serape wrap top that probably more easily fits into the closets of most customers.

There were beaded bolero jackets and embellished jodhpur pants that evoked a matador to the Spanish-style music, with flat-top hats and colorful scarves around some models’ necks. But taking each piece on its own, it wasn’t a costume.

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