- Associated Press - Saturday, September 8, 2012

NEW YORK (AP) - A flurry of assistants rushed to protect racks of clothes at New York Fashion Week from Saturday’s sudden downpours _ perhaps as potent a reminder as any during these spring previews that seasons can be temperamental.

Maybe that’s why leather is as common in these previews for spring and summer 2013 as the pops of color and chiffon you might expect.

“You can wear those leather jackets all year long,” said stylist June Ambrose. “They’re sleek enough to go under a parka or a vest and buttery enough for spring.”

Designers have been moving away from seasonal dressing, meaning that models at Rag & Bone endured layers of leather in a roasting un-air conditioned preview on Friday.


“I’m not designing specifically for `the show’ or even for spring,” said Tom Mora of J. Crew, which has a preview here on Tuesday. “We have deliveries once a month and we always want it to look new.”

The crowd traded tank tops and open-toed shoes on Friday for long sleeves and boots on Saturday as rain leaked through the tents at Lincoln Center. Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week previews for retailers, editors and stylists continue for eight days, before the fashion crowd heads for London, Milan and Paris.

PRABAL GURUNG

Prabal Gurung is proposing a little more freedom in a woman’s wardrobe.

The looser, less-constructed silhouette was seen from the first look, an ethereal white hand-embroidered jacket with beads and a trail of chiffon floating behind, to the last, a blush-colored strapless cocktail dress with ostrich feathers and “creeping sequins.”

“Clothes are moving slightly away from the body. You know, especially what is happening around the world right now, especially in America with politics and everything, the idea of giving freedom to women sounds very, very exciting to me,” he said backstage before the show.

Gurung didn’t shy away from the heavily embellished path, even if it meant going his own way this round of previews, where other designers have pared down their looks.

He also took into account that women are always in motion. Maybe that explains the new take on “sweatpants” _ in printed silk.

EDUN

One doesn’t usually think of harsh military green as a color that will come off well on the fashion runway.

But at Edun, the label founded by U2 rocker Bono and his wife, Ali Hewson, the color is used by designer Sharon Wauchob to embody toughness. Along with designs like a camouflage print, cargo pants, and utility vests, it’s part of a protective “outer layer” that envelops softer, sexier items in fabrics like silk and chiffon.

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