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New York Fashion Week wraps up

By Ellie Hudd
On February 13, 2014

New York Fashion Week officially wrapped up yesterday, and the latter half of the week featured some of the better-known American designers and their fall collections. Unfortunately, many of their collections were not as impressive as those presented during the first half of the week.
Diane von Furstenberg featured her signature invention, the wrap dress, in a variety of boring neutrals. Some models were encouraged to smile, which belied the sleepy fall palette and safe choices in silhouettes. Mixed prints were an ongoing theme that saw the collection through a horrid red-and-pink floral phase. The collection also utilized star, moon and ocean prints. The last phase of the collection consisted of pretty, if unremarkable, gold metallic dresses.
Calvin Klein offered tweed jackets and winter wear in black and navy, with a touch of winter white and some woven patterns in odd places on the garments. While I'm usually a big fan of the Klein aesthetic and have enjoyed wearing several of his pieces, I found the collection neither striking nor particularly original.
Libertine adopted the youthful, 80s-high-school-gone-edgy vibe of DSquared2 (the latter's FW12 collection, in particular, came to mind), but twisted it into something a little too kooky. Jackets with silver spiderweb prints, over-patched tartan plaid, and jackets and pantsuits with Pollock-esque prints in outrageous neon were hard to take seriously as a consumer.
Boss by Hugo Boss relied on the star power of Edie Campbell, Saskia de Brauw and Suvi Koponen to sell dreary belted coats and dresses in dull black and grey. The overall vibe of the collection was utilitarian, with business wear in sensible greys and tans. While some unique silhouettes and a few pops of leather kept the look from being totally dismal, the brand's unwillingness to stray from belted neutrals on business wear that has largely been done before made the collection painfully boring.
Nanette Lepore focused the first half of its collection on a textured dark orchid print that worked on some individual pieces. Lepore also stuck to tired dress silhouettes and business wear, and while her unique pink and orange patterns elevated the looks a bit, none of the pieces - save for a couple of cool safari-esque dresses - were particularly covetable.
J. Mendel was a highlight, providing modern red-and-tan pieces with amazing colored furs. The dresses, coats and skirts were very modern, some with a touch of grunge and others that seemed perfectly made for the chic urban ice queen. The furs were a definite highlight, in very wearable shapes and alternatively featuring touches of ice blue, dusted gold, and red. The beauty look for the show - straight hair, bright pink lips, and flushed faces - complemented the aesthetic perfectly.
Though Ralph Lauren refused to stray from either his tired French-schoolchild-goes-American vibe (see: the U.S. winter Olympics uniforms) nor his recent foray into Southwest-U.S.-meets-shabby-chic, his line did produce some good pieces. Though jackets in fur-lined leather were begging to be retired, some of the more shapely tweed jackets hearkened back to Lauren's chic '70s-prep-school aesthetic. A modern, all-white look worn by model Sui He was a stunning take on winter wear. From there, however, the collection devolved into pale pinks and whites that were altogether cloying, save for a stunning pair of white pants worn by Monika Jagaciak. The latter half of the collection also embraced both grey and Pantone's orchid in silks for some stunning winter wear, the highlight of which was a minimalist Calvin-Klein-esque dress.
Finally, Diesel Black Gold, Diesel's women's wear line, embraced its metallic and black aesthetic for fall. The collection was strongest at the back half, which featured jackets with unique zipper accents and sparks of silver metallic for a modern, urban take on traditional fall pieces.
The fashion community will move across the Atlantic for the London shows starting today.

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