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Neon, metallics and minimalism all over the runway at NY Fashion Week

By Eleanor Hudd
On February 11, 2014

Mercedes-Benz New York Fashion Week is well underway, having started on Thursday, Feb. 6. NYFW is the first week of what is known as "fashion month," a biannual event that moves from New York to London to Milan and finally to Paris. Designers are currently presenting their collections for the coming fall season, known in the fashion world as AW or autumn/winter. Here are some of the highlights of NYFW AW14 so far.
Peter Som's collection featured a snooze-worthy first half, comprised of trenches in sleepy colors and a rather hapless use of leopard print, the latter of which hasn't been a standout since Blumarine SS11. The back half of the collection, featuring dresses and formal wear, was a marked improvement. Blurred florals in fresh colors were set off by neutral tones on a black background for a vibrant aesthetic, and a few silhouettes in particular offered a very modern take on formal wear.
Despite the dull opening of Jason Wu's show-Wu cast Victoria's Secret Angel Adriana Lima, whose high-fashion work is wooden and awkward-I was pleasantly surprised by the collection itself. The collection featured both minimalist and more shapely silhouettes, largely in black, as per usual for Wu. Wu also embraced Pantone's 2014 color of the year, "radiant orchid," though he toned it down to a more fall-friendly mauve. Overall, the collection produced some decent minimalist formal wear, and Lima's stiff opening belied the talent of the show's cast, which featured Marine Deleeuw, Malaika Firth, and rising star Joséphine Le Tutour.
BCBG MaxAzria opened with a stunning winter coat featuring a stripe of peach, burgundy, ice blue, and navy, which was paired with a sleek, modern knee-high boot. The collection featured some stunning winter-wear perfect for this coming year, utilizing unexpected pops of leather, print, and texture as well as playing on the traditional "giant coat" shape. A highlight of the show was Le Tutour's second outfit, a dress-and-vest combination with a dramatic stripe, a beautiful sleek silhouette and a large, but not obnoxious, fur neckline.
Altuzarra featured a lot of cinched-waist looks; strategic pops of royal blue and neon seemed to "bloom" from the clothing's largely black backdrops. Reem Acra, meanwhile, combined unique cutouts with a fresh use of metallics and lace overlays in reds, purples and golds to bring a unique take to a traditional fall clothing line. The gowns in the second half of the collection were especially stunning, channeling a sort of under-the-sea vibe. Polish runway veteran Monika Jagaciak opened and closed the show; Jagaciak's closing look was a highlight of the collection.
Meanwhile, self-professed fashionistas would do well to stay away from Alexander Wang this season. Some of the fall boots on display were laughably ridiculous, and the overall look was garish and tacky, especially in contrast to Wang's chic spring line from September. Carolina Herrera's frumpy silhouettes in patterns reminiscent of bad '70s wallpapering seemed designed for herself rather than the women in her target demographic. Derek Lam followed largely in Herrera's footsteps, but redeemed his collection by trading the nightmarish prints for pops of colored leather. Lam also featured stellar footwear. Though certain pieces in Phillip Lim's collection were wearable individually-notably a bomber jacket with purple, black and sky blue patterns -his overall aesthetic was sloppy and even kooky, with giant fleece vests and impractical skirts dominating the look. Hérve Léger fared much worse than fellow Azria-owned and designed BCBG. While the collection's copious metal accents paired well with its blush-toned pieces, the line's black clothing was overwhelmed by tacky feather and fringe.
NYFW will wrap up on Thursday, immediately followed by London Fashion Week.

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