Sep 15, 2009
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NY Fashion week: exotic, daring, if not exactly ready-to-wear

Sep 15, 2009

NEW YORK, Sept 14, 2009 (AFP) - Diane von Furstenberg plays the exotic vagabond, while Derek Lam offers luxury romper suits: New York Fashion Week's pret-a-porter collections this year are adventurous, but not always exactly ready to wear.

Lacoste spring-summer 2010 in New York - Photo: AFP/Getty Images/File/Frazer Harrison

For von Furstenberg, president of the Council of Fashion Designers of America, the woman wearing her Spring 2010 pearl- and emerald-embroidered tunics and bohemian skirts is not just any old shopper.

"Rising like a phoenix, she is a modern myth, the queen of the desert, a true adventurer, exploring and enticing," the program notes read.

That adventurous spirit is a little harder to find in the decision of almost all designers to plunge into the usually specialized, but commercially attractive realm of bathing suits.

Prepare to see a lot of nostalgic, '50s/'60s-style one-piece suits in pools next summer, with big crossed straps and colors kept to either single or two-tone.

When it comes to bikinis, they're often red and yellow, either striped or dotted, with high waists and wide elastic belt bands.

But the journey to swimsuit territory strays further into lingerie, with models parading bodies that are not really poolside material -- and, with their short sleeves and collars, not exactly typical inner wear either.

Wearers of the Donna Karan body might be loathe to hide the carefully chosen colors under other clothing.

And then there is Lam with what can only be described as romper suits -- high fashion romper suits, for sure.

Lam opened his show with spotted violet silk dresses, fawn-colored buckskin boleros on green or blue mini-dresses and romper suits, some with and some without hoods.

Paying attention to commercial needs for clothes that are affordable and can actually be worn, the 42-year-old hasn't forgotten about evening wear, with high-waisted crepe de Chine skirts, gold lame mini-dresses and silver-violet lurex outfits.

At 25, Jason Wu is already a veteran. US First Lady Michelle Obama has worn his clothes on several occasions, notably to pose for the cover of US Vogue. The Taiwanese-American prodigy has now unveiled a new collection of tight-waisted dresses with balloon-shaped skirts.

Marc Jacobs, meanwhile, was due to reveal his collection late Monday 14 September, while another favorite of the first lady, Narciso Rodriguez, was to launch a collection on Tuesday 15 September.

New York's Fashion Week is the first of the world's four leading fashion events of the season before shows in Milan, London and Paris.by Paola Messana

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