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Feb 21, 2010
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Muted luxury reigns supreme at New York Fashion Week

By
AFP
Published
Feb 21, 2010

NEW YORK, Feb 19, 2010 (AFP) - As fashionistas headed across the Atlantic to London's Fashion Week on Friday 19 February, the takeaway theme of New York's Autumn-Winter presentation was clear -- toned down luxury.


Photo: AFP/Getty Images/Fernanda Calfat

Two pillars of US ready-to-wear fashion -- Ralph Lauren and Calvin Klein -- rounded out the shows at Bryant Park, which are followed by a stylista migration to shows in London, then Milan and finally Paris.

Last September, Lauren showed a collection directly inspired by the gloomy economic times, featuring clothes reminiscent of the 1930s and the Great Depression.

This season, the celebrated designer, now 70, returned to the staples for which he is renowned: tweed, frock coats and sophisticated sportswear.

He chose warm autumn tones for tailored trousers and jackets, and green, russet and faded pink patterns for delicate dresses.

Menswear jackets and vests featured heavily, worn loose or cinched with belts.

Some dresses were paired with cashmere cardigans or sweaters, while knitted wool and even fur leggings kept the models' ankles and calves warm.

The handbags were hefty and some also came covered with fur, which has made a comeback on the runways this season.

Some designers showed fake fur, but more often than not it was real animal fur -- much to the dismay of animal rights activists -- and it appeared on boleros, capes, cuffs and collars.

At Calvin Klein, artistic director Francisco Costa put out a line that was simple and pure, largely in black and white, with the occasional bold flash of cobalt.

Sporting sky-high heels, models walked out in simple sheaths and futuristic jackets with rounded shoulders and raglan sleeves.

The looks were paired with minimal make-up and tightly slicked and parted hair, giving the collection a look that was elegant, stark and cold.

Klein's collection, particularly the fitted sheaths, made clear the delicate frames of the models he used, as the fashion world erupted once again into a debate over the weight of fashion models.

Among the girls walking the runway was Monika Jagaciak, who at 16 has already spent three years in the industry as a top model.

Along with other model favorites, she wears a US size zero -- the standard sample size used by designers -- and is tall but reed-thin, like almost all of her peers.

The Council of Fashion Designers of America recently held a discussion on whether sample sizes should be altered to reflect more realistic body images and Canadian superstar model Coco Rocha made headlines by telling the US media that designers were overlooking her in fashion show castings because she was not thin enough.

The 21-year-old is a US size 4, stands five foot and eight inches (1.78 meters) tall and weighs 110 pounds (50 kilos).

Rocha walked in designer Diane Von Furstenberg's show and was also featured in Zac Posen's presentation, but told newspapers including The New York Times that she had seen interest in her wane and had even been asked to lose weight.

Rocha's comments came after 22-year-old Australian Gemma Ward said she had gone from being one of the most photographed models in the world at 16 to being out of work after gaining some weight in 2007.

Doutzen Kroes, a model from the Netherlands, has reportedly found her own solution.

She has won a contract with lingerie company Victoria's Secret, known for favoring models with the curves to best showcase their products.by Paola Messana

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