Outerwear heats up New York Fashion Week (PHOTOS)

NEW YORK, NY - FEBRUARY 10:  A model walks the runway at the Rebecca Taylor Autumn Winter 2012 fashion show.


1. Alexander Wang

If fall 2012 is shaping up to be the season of outerwear, then Alexander Wang is owning it. He built his collection around one singular message: the coat. And not just any coat, but a lean, mean, glossy and slightly futuristic specimen that we predict will be one of the most photographed items of next season (second place goes to his covetable boots). Each look was a successful experiment in fabric manipulation, starting with the opener: a lacquered wool tweed raincoat that shone like plastic. But most interestingly, the collection seemed to signal a gradual progression toward a more grown-up, sophisticated look for Wang. His trademark model-off-duty was nowhere to be seen, though the show was heavy on top models — Karolina Kurkova, Shalom Harlow, Carmen Kass and Gisele Bundchen closed the show.  Kenya Hunt


2. Prabal Gurung
Prabal Gurung came out guns blazing for his fall outing, titled “uncursed.” Stating in interviews that a newfound confidence and internal journey from hell to heaven was his inspiration, he first sent models down the runway in strong, all black, dominatrix-esque separates including beautifully tailored, flared trousers, neoprene cocktail dresses with sexy sheer tulle inserts and luxe coats. Next came a blue series featuring more of the digital prints he used for spring before the finale of looks in softer ivory and gold. The last two series had some misfires — organza ruffles felt too precious and the show closer, an ivory gown with sequins and ostrich feathers, read Vegas showgirl. But if the black selections were his “cursed” looks, please cast a spell on us now.  Tina Chadha


3. Jason Wu

It was refreshing to see Jason Wu, who has built an impressive business on the polished, pretty and girly (just look at his upcoming Target collection), go tough for fall in such a smart and unique way. For Wu, the process of transforming his soft and uber feminine muse into a proper badass meant going back to his Chinese roots and exploring images of the country throughout history, from the Qing dynasty to the Mao jacket. That translated into a series of beautifully executed military coats and jackets loaded with rich Far Eastern details and innovative construction. They came in all manner of hybrids —  take for one the belted leather number in olive green, covered in black lace, with quilted leather shoulders and oversized pockets. Meanwhile, loyalists who like their Wu pretty and polished will want his embroidered dresses — though these weren’t nearly as intriguing as his hard-edged coat and trouser combos.  Kenya Hunt


4. Peter Som
Som’s brand of power dressing for fall was a step outside the average 9-to-5er’s realm in terms of luxury and glamour. He cleverly combined masculine tailoring and feminine details, taking inspiration from old Hollywood icons such as Katharine Hepburn and Marlene Dietrich — hardly new ideas in the fashion world. But he executed them in a way that was exciting. Take his treatment of the age-old peplum, which undulated in waves around the waist or came edged in ultra feminine frills. Other highlights included his patchwork dresses and fur coats and slouchy peg-leg trousers. If anything seemed out of sync, it was the kitten-printed silk separates, which seemed to distract from the untouchably cool tone he had established for the show.  Kenya Hunt


5. Rebecca Taylor
“Who’re you calling a girly girl?” seems to be the statement Rebecca Taylor is making with her fall outing. This season, her girl is swapping her signature silky camis and flirty frocks for an edgier look. To Azealia Banks’ “212,” Taylor sent out studded leggings, laid-back, cozy knits and — yup, we’re going to say it — dope outerwear. We see her slouchy herringbone coat, shearling motorcycle and quilted leather jacket being scooped up by uptown and downtown girls alike — such as Olivia Palermo and Zoe Kravitz, who were both seated front row.  Tina Chadha


6. Creatures of the Wind

Designers Shane Gabier and Chris Peters patched together a hodgepodge of prints, fabrics, colors and ideas in just about every look during their hot-ticket show (Anna Wintour and Jenna Lyons were two show-goers). Examples include a cotton top with black and white graphic-printed shoulders and a brown and orange plaid bodice with a purple and pink brocade and striped skirt. We could see a quirky bird like Bjork wearing these intricately constructed looks — but everyday shoppers, not so much.  Tina Chadha


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