Glossy leather stands out at NY fashion week

Feb 12 -Shiny leather stood out during a particularly busy Sunday at New York fashion week, with both Derek Lam and Donna Karan for DKNY making the most of the material in its most highly polished form.


A model struts the Derek Lam collection at the Fall 2012 New York Fashion Week (AFP/Getty Images, Fernanda Calfat)

Thakoon Panichgul also put leather on the catwalk, moving on from the strong ethnic flavor of collections past by sending out dozens of looks for next fall and winter dominated by red, orange and purple.

In what critics hailed as a strong collection, Lam sent his models through a maze of white frames in sleeveless paneled leather tops matched with skirts that were either long and sequined or hemmed at the knee with pockets.

Equally glossy was a futuristic, figure-hugging oxblood dress with a cheongsam silhouette; the same material reappeared in another look as the skinniest of skinny leather jeans.

But it wasn't all hard-edged, as the California-born designer threw in a white cable-knit sleeveless sweater that came across as practical and feminine when combined with a fluid white dress.


Designer Donna Karan takes to the runway (AFP/Getty Images, Mark Von Holden)

Huge buttons defined Lam's double-breasted jackets, and bushy fur collars looked especially appealing on a day when New Yorkers weathered freezing temperatures and a blustering Arctic wind.

More shiny leather turned up at DKNY, Karan's youthful and unabashedly urban diffusion line, for which a yellow New York taxi was pressed into service as the runway backdrop.

Ashley Greene, the "Twilight" star who is the latest face of DKNY, was among the front-row guests who savored a collection inspired, according to the designer's notes, by the Beat generation of the 1950s.

Building on a trend that emerged at the spring-summer shows in September, there was no shortage of peplum skirts, including a high-waisted number in reptilian leather with a wide, waist-pinching belt.


The collection by British pop singer turned designer Victoria Beckham was generally well-received (AFP, Timothy A. Clary)

Showing late Sunday at the Plaza hotel, the Thai-born and Nebraska-bred Thakoon, who counts First Lady Michelle Obama among his clients, drew inspiration from the 1950s and 1960s "when women dressed up to go everywhere."

"I wanted to make clothes that make you feel more dressed up in a way that's very easy," he told AFP backstage. "I haven't explored the charm side of fashion in a while, and I wanted to play with that."

Others who sent out their latest collections Sunday included the grande dame of New York fashion, Diane Von Furstenberg and British pop singer turned designer Victoria Beckham.

"I am very proud about the whole collection. I would wear every single dress," said the erstwhile Posh Spice, whose guests at the New York Public Library included football-star husband David and seven-month-old baby Harper.

"This season, I really have been able to focus on construction, on quality," said the London-based designer, who has been showing in New York since 2008. "Technically, we've done a lot more this season."

Memories of the 1981 motorcycle ride across America that inspired the founding of his Custo Barcelona label clearly remain strong for Custo Dalman, given the renegade biker theme that informed his latest collection.

His show in Lincoln Center kicked off with a much-welcome burst of color, coupling woolly red fringed outfits with big neckerchiefs and lace-up high-heeled boots.

Patrik Ervell, a fast-rising star in menswear, found unlikely inspiration in police wear. The convincing results included a "tactical police sweater" in electric blue alpaca and a SWAT jacket in ballistic black nylon.

by Robert MacPherson

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