New York Fashion Week Reviews: Americana for the big city

A model displays an outfit by designer Tommy Hilfiger during the Spring/Summer 2013 New York fashion week.

1. Tommy Hilfiger:
Tommy Hilfiger transported showgoers at the Highline back to the Hamptons for one last seaside soiree — a Fourth of July-type celebration. With hurricane lanterns hanging over a deck-like runway, models sailed by in bold red, white and blue striped looks. Some read cool (the double-breasted blazers and chunky cardigans) and others too patriotic (a preppy navy jacket over a red, white and blue striped shirt and trousers). The colors then came in zigzags on dresses and one-piece halter swimsuits before winding up on the trim of plain white shifts. Breton stripes were also big (on cotton schoolboy shirts and leather tops), as were chunky cableknit sweaters. It’s what Hilfiger imagines women like Jackie O wore while setting sail oversees. We definitely see the jitney — and city streets– filled with his breezy trapeze dresses.  Tina Chadha

2. DKNY:
For her Spring show, titled “Reflections of New York” Donna Karan aimed to define a girl living the big city dream. She’s ambitious (smart workwear separates such as boyfriend blazers and knee-grazing pencil skirts came in leather and color-blocked, textured linen); she’s ready for whatever comes her way (the bodysuit played double- duty as a bathing suit, and models wore fanny packs); she’s street smart (sporty mesh and leather detailing, camo prints, fitted black baseball caps and heeled sneakers exuded an urban tone); and, of course, she knows how to have a good time (bikini tops peeked under blazers and floor-length jersey dresses featured slits up-to-there). The standouts in this collection, however, were the slouchy all-American blue jeans and effortlessly cool anoraks which, let’s face it, are the ultimate NYC uniform.   TC

3. Rebecca Taylor:
The biography of Beach Boy Brian Wilson transported Rebecca Taylor to one of her favorite vacation haunts: Hawaii. But while her imagination sipped on mai tais, this hard-working woman spent the summer in New York. The two worlds harmonized perfectly in her Spring collection: Sunny, hibiscus floral prints came cut in sharp, strong silhouettes, while polished dresses were made tough with studded collars and worn under moto jackets in laidback, faded denim or poppy turquoise leather. And for post-sunset, a nude, silk studded cocktail number featured cheery ocean blue straps — perhaps to remind you of paradise even when you’re stuck in the city.  TC

4. Tracy Reese:
Tracy Reese scored a coup when Michelle Obama wore one of her dresses to the Democratic National Convention last week, and the designer rode that high with a confident Spring presentation. The season’s biggest trends made an appearance — loose trousers, transparent fabrics — but done with Reese’s own maximalist flair. A see-through button-down came with floral embroi­dery, crimson pajama pants had silver sequins, and a little black shift ended in a flurry of orange bugle beads. After seeing so much white on the runways so far, Reese’s fluorescent oranges, blues and greens offered a welcomed jolt of color.  Raquel Laneri

5. Monique Lhuillier:
A reproduction of Monet’s “Water Lilies” provided the backdrop to Monique Lhuillier’s show. There was also something rather impressionistic about the hazy koi prints that found their way onto prim peplum tops, slacks and skirts. The under-the-sea theme continued with shimmering cocktail dresses covered in iridescent shells and illusion-net gowns spangled with sequins that recalled mermaids. The designer also debuted her shoe collection — subtly sexy open-toed stilettos with criss-cross straps in black, navy and gold.  RL

6. Jen Kao:
Dissonant music set an eerie tone at Jen Kao’s Spring presentation, as shadowy figures wearing glow-in-the-dark clothes emerged from the pitch blackness to form some kind of witches’ circle. Fortunately, the lights turned on to reveal plenty of Kao’s sexy sportswear done with an avant-garde twist. Take a yellow funnel-necked anorak with rubberized netting, body-con neoprene shifts with leather detailing, and patchwork silk dresses with high slits. Even better were the fabulous Japanese-inspired tunics done in denim, leather, and flourescent netting, the best of which evoked vintage Comme des Garcons.  RL



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