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New York - New York Fashion Week - the start of a month of spring-summer 2013 shows - began on a confident note on Thursday, despite tough economic times, with collections from BCBG Max Azria and Nicholas K.
With consumers' morale at a relative low, Max and Lubov Azria at BCBG Max Azria offered up a decidedly sexy, feminine collection for next summer - nothing too provocative, with lots of lace and transparent garments.
There was a nearly all black-and-white look from the designer couple, with a few flashes of coral. Most dresses were sleeveless, but hemlines were demure - most past the knee and several to the floor.
But the lace detailing and sheer fabrics offered hints of the sexy BCBG Max Azria woman beneath.
Christopher Kunz and his sister Nicholas, who design the Nicholas K line, offered comfortable looks for men and women for next summer in muted tones of brown, beige and khaki at their show in Lincoln Centre.
“Everyone is going back to a more organic kind of lifestyle,” Nicholas told AFP after the show, adding that the siblings had taken inspiration from the 1970s sci-fi film “Soylent Green” to create an “apocalyptic nomad” look.
“Our line is very bohemian,” she said. “I'm kind of over the skinny legs look.”
In order to reach a wider audience than the select style editors and industry buyers invited to view the runway shows, fashion week organisers broadcast both shows live on a giant screen in Times Square.
Shows later in the day from Richard Chai and Japan's Tadashi Shoji - who made headlines for dressing Oscar winner Octavia Spencer earlier this year - were also to be shown on the big screen.
Also Thursday is Fashion's Night Out, spearheaded by Vogue magazine in 2009 to sustain shoppers' interest in fashion in the wake of the global financial crisis.
Hundreds of stores and boutiques around Manhattan will be trying to outdo each other with the most original events, from tarot-card readings at Christian Louboutin to homemade charity cookies baked by model Karlie Kloss at DKNY.
“This city is about fashion for the future,” Hal Rubenstein, fashion director of InStyle magazine, told AFP.
Veterans on the schedule include Helmut Lang on Friday; Carolina Herrera, Donna Karan, Marc Jacobs and Oscar de la Renta on Monday and Tuesday, and Ralph Lauren and Calvin Klein when fashion week winds up next Thursday.
Younger designers and labels are prominent as well, among them Jason Wu on Friday; Alexander Wang and Altuzarra on Saturday; Thakoon, Zac Posen and Rad Hourani on Sunday; Phillip Lim on Monday; and Rodarte on Tuesday.
Newcomers include actress Katie Holmes, embarking on a new life as a part-time designer after her much-publicized divorce from film star Tom Cruise, with a collection put together with full-timer Jeanne Yang.
New York is followed by similar events in London on September 14-18, Milan on September 19-25 and Paris on September 27-October 3.
But for Scott Stoddart, dean of the School of Liberal Arts at the Fashion Institute of Technology, New York still reigns supreme.
“When I look at the shows from Paris and Milan, I don't see fashion that women can wear - I see fashion that is inspiring or creative but it is not stuff that I want,” Stoddart said.
“We buy fashion not just to sit around but to wear it. American designers really have this balance.” - Sapa-AFP