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Coats get the dress treatment at Fashion Week

Who said overcoats had to be drab? Outerwear got top billing at New York Fashion Week on Thursday, with even daytime coats getting metallic touches, shiny fabric and fur trims.
/ Source: The Associated Press

Who said overcoats had to be drab?

Outerwear got top billing at New York Fashion Week on Thursday, with even daytime coats getting metallic touches, shiny fabric and fur trims.

The renewed attention may reflect economic realities: Jackets are seen as a good investment piece, since they can be worn every day and over multiple seasons.

Phillip Lim opened with a light gray suede duster coat and moving on to a bronze matelasse trench and a raven-colored alpaca cropped anorak with the potential to be the go-to piece of a woman's wardrobe. Vera Wang featured a quilted, fur-trimmed bed jacket.

Standout coats were shown earlier in the week at shows by Oscar de la Renta, Michael Kors and Narciso Rodriguez.

Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week runs through Friday, with shows still to come Thursday from Zac Posen and Calvin Klein.

Vera Wang
Vera Wang said she was striking for a balanced fall collection — one that perfectly married light and dark, softness and structure, color and black. What she got was beautiful.

Wang's fall line hit the runway Thursday morning, just about the time stylists, editors and retailers were growing weary after six full days of fashion shows and another two days to go. But the buzz backstage from editors and executives was that Wang's show revitalized them.

Wang's clothes often have an avant-garde edge, which make some pieces not for the everywoman. But that doesn't mean they're not lovely to look at. A floral metallic "tent dress" in a Japanese techno tapestry fabric that stood away from the body and had an off-kilter neckline was a prime example of a gown that could be appreciated as art.

Wang described the overall theme as "almost imbalanced balance." It matches her life, she said with a laugh.

3.1 Phillip Lim
Phillip Lim is showing his age — and it becomes him.

The 3.1 Phillip Lim collection the designer offered for fall showed a maturity and sophistication new to his clothes. There has been a lot of buzz over the designer for the past three years, focusing mostly on his ability to update vintage romantic looks, but this season he made the transition from style to substance.

The opening ensemble — a light gray suede duster coat with a shimmery silver bib-collar blouse and narrow long blue skirt made of tiers of blue ribbon — set the tone of chic outfits that still had touches of romance. Among the best were a cropped kimono jacket in tobacco-colored suede with embroidery, a knit sweater vest, a silk chiffon turtleneck and black wool tuxedo pants, and a cozy gray cable-knit cardigan worn with a glamorous satin ivory dress with a halter neckline.

Menswear is a part of this collection, too, but as with most designers who put it on the runway with womenswear, it hardly gets any attention. For the record, the messenger pants looked like pegged cargo pants and jackets were boxy.

Derek LamDerek Lam used a lot of black, gray and brown, opening with a black wool double-breasted riding jacket with a black skirt and black pumps. The finale: a black silk off-the-shoulder evening gown with a ruffle.

"It was really more about the silhouette," said Lam. "I felt that using the classic colors, black, gray flannel, really allows one to see the silhouettes, but then there creeps in the bronzes, the purple tones, a very blood red in one of the prints. So there are these elements that explode out of the black."

Some of the best looks were the eveningwear, a midnight drapey dress with ivory pleated crinoline on the bottom moving with the model as she walked, and a black slim-fitting velvet dress with ivory trim on the empire neckline and peeking from the bottom of the dress below the knee.

TemperleyAmethyst, emerald and topaz have been among the most popular colors at New York Fashion Week. Alice Temperley, designer of the Temperley London label, used those shades for a Mata Hari-inspired collection she previewed Wednesday night.

The audience included Christy Turlington, carrying a Temperley coat, and Julia Styles.

The looks alternated between sleek military styles — a slim black knit coat with gold buttons, for example — and revealing look-at-me gowns. The best of the gowns was a slim black one with a keyhole neck filled with jewels and a jeweled waistband.

Glitzy spider-web embroidery surely was a metaphor for Temperley's attraction to Mata Hari, the notorious spy of the early 1900s. Temperley said her goal was "an exotic web of mystery, intrigue and opulence."

MarchesaMarchesa, often worn by starlets on the red carpet, went back to the 16th century with its newest collection, using fabrics like pleated organza and tulle and details such as feathers and silk flowers.

Celebrities at Marchesa included Natasha Richardson, Joy Bryant, Anne Hathaway and a very pregnant Jennifer Lopez, wearing a teal Marchesa dress and heels, and husband Marc Anthony.

The collection was strong, from a short Chinese neck crimson suede dress with flowers for sleeves to a black silk tuxedo one-piece with a deep V. A toga-like crimson silk chiffon one-shoulder gown had flower detail on the shoulder creating a soft but strong, elegant look.

Candy Pratts Price, executive fashion director of, said the collection was "modern red carpet" — glamorous but not screaming a star's arrival.