Special effects and elaborate sets at NYFW

Wednesday, 10 September 2014
A-list designers broke new ground at New York Fashion week with innovative stagings led by wedding couturier to the stars Vera Wang, Polo by Ralph Lauren and Donna Karan. Wang, one of America's most popular fashion designers, loves black and her collection for spring/summer 2015 was no exception. Wang decked out a Chelsea gallery in a striking take on the famous Tuileries Garden in Paris where the models came out from behind a wall of black box trees and strode down a gravel-strewn runway that was difficult to navigate in high heels.

Bringing the Tuileries to New York

"It's a bit my version of the Tuileries... done in a very New York way, notably in the lack of color," she explained. It may not have been Versailles but Wang said her collection had "the spirit, extravagence and feminity, but also the weakness and pride of Marie-Antoinette."

There were ruffles, ruching, wide pleats belted at the waist, mini dresses, crepe trousers, bandeau tops and asymmetric jackets. Trapeze dresses were heavily embellished with stones and Swarovski crystals, before her collection gave way to a lighter, freer silhouette of flowered silk to the ground and tulle skirts.

The contrast between controlled black tailing and something much more fluid paid tribute to "different personalities of women," she said, summing it up as "boyish boudoir, baby bohemian." "It's a voyage. Even inside the woman, there is not only one personality," Wang said.

Late Monday, Ralph Lauren made a Fashion Week first by heading to Central Park to unveil his Polo line of urban and bohemian chic at a spectacularly innovative 4D holographic event. With Lauren himself in attendance, the models appeared and then disappeared as mirages and against special effect backdrops such as the Brooklyn Bridge, High Line or a lighthouse.

Towering Hats

If your average model wasn't tall enough already, New York designer Donna Karan elevated them higher by parading them down the runway in towering hats by London milliner Stephen Jones. "I don't think I would fit through the door," a towering Karlie Kloss, one of America's top models, told AFP backstage when asked if she would wear her golden concoction to a party.

"I love hats, particularly in the spring and summer," revealed Karan, after presenting her Donna Karan line -- which like her DKNY collection on Sunday, was a celebration of New York. "I have done India, I have done Africa, I've done Bali, I've done Haiti, I've done all the countries that I love and I said the art of New York is just as wonderful."

"So why not celebrate the art of New York and the all graffiti mode and all of that," she told journalists. American designer Phillip Lim, known for his simple elegance and freshness, said that the inspiration for his newest collection was the inside of a bedroom. Starting a year-long renovation project last October, he was confined to his bedroom, so he decided to turn that -- and the feeling of being protected -- into his inspiration.

"Hence the mattress feel, the satin," he said. "Even the print was this idea of a window in your bedroom at dusk and half open, you see like a tree outside, but you only see the shadows of the tree." (AFP)

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