- Associated Press - Friday, September 7, 2012

NEW YORK (AP) - The starlets lining the front rows of New York Fashion Week on Friday would be right at home in the refined yet youthful styles parading before them.

The look on the second day of more than 100 previews for retailers, editors and stylists balanced a ladylike elegance with a youthful flair. Light colors and lace details were offset by cutouts or even leather harnesses.

Allison Williams of HBO’s “Girls” and Hailee Steinfeld of “True Grit” watched the muted florals on denim and midriff-baring cutouts at Peter Som. Emily Mortimer was on hand for Jason Wu, who said his collection aimed to balance beautiful refinement with something provocative and sexy.

“I love the idea of those two coming together _ a softness and a hardness coming together and I wanted to make a collection that sort of balanced, just teetered on that line of sexy but still sophisticated,” he said.

Kate Bosworth looked the part of the modern sophisticate at Cushnie et Ochs, where the styles were sleek and chic. “The idea of youthful elegance is perfect for this show,” she said. “I do think there’s a movement toward a classic shape, a classic look, even if it’s in a really loud print.”

Meanwhile, the drama of “Project Runway” took center stage for the 10th anniversary season of a show that designer and judge Michael Kors said thrives because “fashion people by nature are a little high-strung, a little dramatic.”

“Quite frankly, fashion people are interesting,” he said. “Nothing against accountants but we are not a group of accountants, that’s for sure.”

Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week previews for retailers, editors and stylists continue for eight days, before the fashion crowd heads for London, Milan and Paris.


For Som’s refined and youthful look, muted floral prints were shown on denim (part of Som’s partnership with Earnest Sewn) and midriff-baring cutouts were carved into ladylike sheath dresses that fell below the knee. A pink orchid-print bustier dress was dotted with a bit of more demure lace.

Standard button-down shirts and a lace T-shirt were jazzed up with jeweled collars.

Olympic gold-medal runner Sanya Richards Ross was there, fully decked out in one of Som’s lace numbers. “I love fashion. It’s in my genes. If you saw my grandmother going to the grocery store, you’d think she was having lunch with the Obamas. We’re always dressed up,” she said.

Som is known to play with texture, and he created a colorful patchwork of snakeskin chevrons. The best version was the shift that was mostly a mix of pinks and purples on top, and chartreuse below the dropped waist.


There wasn’t a lot of room for error on the Jason Wu runway. But he didn’t need it.

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