Sep 6, 2007
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New York kicks off annual 'Fashion Week' fete

Sep 6, 2007

NEW YORK, Sept 6, 2007 (AFP) - New York kicked off its annual Fashion Week celebration of spring and summer fashions Wednesday september 5th, with the confections from some 200 designers on display on catwalks and at exhibition hall throughout this clothes-crazed city.

Shrugging of a taxi strike that has made getting around Manhattan significantly more difficult for those without cars, and brushing off aggressive animal rights activists, fashionistas headed mainly to an expansive tent building in the midtown Bryant Park where much of the action was centered.

Other shows are taking place at catwalks and exhibition halls scattered around the city -- an arrangement that the taxi strike could have more impact on.

The annual Fashion Week event is meant to lure couture-conscious buyers before they hit the European circuit next month.

Among the most celebrated names on display are top designers Oscar de la Renta, Vera Wang, Badgley Mischka, Calvin Klein and Michael Kors -- most of whom were expected to show their collections later in the week.

But Fashion Week is also known for highlighting the works of edgy newcomers.

Platinum blonde popsinger Gwen Stefani's L.A.M.B. show -- her second collection -- sparked the buzz late Wednesday, as did the designs of promising young designer Erin Fetherston, who debuted a fetching collection of supple dresses, some accompanied by matching, unstructured overcoats.

Earlier Wednesday BCBGMaxazria delighted the audience with a collection of pleated knee-skimming frocks, cinched at the waist.

And as always during Fashion Week, the political collided with the sartorial, as animal rights activists launched their latest screed against the use of animal products in fashion.

Demonstrators costumed as "fashion police" were to post themselves outside the Bryant Park tents all week, in search of their version of fashion faux pas -- people clad in leather, fur or wool.

Wearing fake leather uniforms, high-heeled boots and police hats, they held signs that read, "Animal Skins Are a Fashion Felony."

One accosted fashion legend Anna Wintour -- said to be the inspiration for the tyrannical editor played by Meryl Streep in the film "The Devil Wears Prada" -- and handed out a ticket.

"She wrote out a citation and reprimanded her with, 'Anna Wintour, you're a fashion felony,'" said a witness who overheard the exchange.

"Anna looked mortified, would not accept the ticket and hurried away".

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