Fashion forecasters predicted a chilly fall as New York Fashion Week opened Friday with a blizzard of buttoned-up looks on the runway.
While style is a consideration for the designers presenting their collections during the eight-day event, practicality is not. That might explain the sexy — and quite attractive — banded stiletto sandals that Kenneth Cole paired with turtlenecks and trench coats to kick off the new style season.
Among the highlights:
Kenneth Cole: Cole set the stage for an office romance, dressing women in refined dresses, wool skirt suits and high-neck tie blouses and men in cashmere sweaters, sportcoats and tailored trousers in varying shades of gray and brown.
The women’s clothes hugged in the right places and flowed in others to be just suggestive enough to keep them from morphing into a 1970s typing-pool look. The men showed a little flair with their chunky sweaters and thick scarves.
Standout outfits for women included a cardigan jacket with an oversized collar in dark gray cashmere worn with a merino wool pencil skirt; a lighter gray wool wrap jacket with a band around the front of the waist worn with a slim wool pant; a simple and sophisticated cocoa-colored cashmere turtleneck dress; and a caramel shearling belted coat with a high collar.
For men, a dark gray cardigan with a white-and-gray striped shirt, brown silk dot tie and moleskin flat-front pants was among the best looks. Most of Cole’s pants, for both men and women, tended to have skinny legs and waistbands actually on the waist.
Bartlett said he was inspired by “an untamed stretch of coastline and wilderness that lies between Provincetown and Walden Pond, Mass.” That translated into lots of thin-wale corduroy jackets and pants, trousers in a subtle plaid pattern, wool henley tops, peacoats and duck boots.
A green tweed jacket with suede patches on the elbow paired with a green hoodie sweater was a fresh look, while a chocolate brown corduroy suit was an inspired version of a classic. The palette also included some nice blues, including a teal crewneck sweater worn over a shirt and tie and paired with navy wool military-inspired pants with black wool trim.
Bartlett is in his first year as creative director of luxury leather company Ghurka, and his show included some of those styles as well, including a houndstooth-and-black leather overnight bag and a leather log carrier.
Red Dress Collection: Top designers paired with singing stars to promote The National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute’s awareness campaign about women and heart disease. The singers all wore red on the runway, but otherwise the designers offered very different styles.
Lindsay Lohan opened the show in a long-sleeve Calvin Klein gown with a V-neck and dropped waist; LeAnn Rimes wore a spaghetti-strap gown with a tightly pleated bust and high front slit by Zac Posen; and Sheryl Crow wore a scarf-style halter dress by Ralph Lauren.
Donna Karan dressed Deborah Harry in a draped dress with plunging Vs in both the front and back; Christina Milian wore a flowing gown with jeweled straps by Max Azria Atelier; and Vera Wang created a bright red satin coat with a velvet tie waistband for Thalia.
Bebe Neuwirth strode down the catwalk in a Narciso Rodriguez empire-waist dress with the designer’s signature architectural lines. Kai Milla created a pleated-front, flowing gown for Eartha Kitt and Charles Nolan made a short, poncholike dress for Elaine Stritch, who is 81. Nolan probably wanted to show off Stritch’s noticeably toned legs.
New York Fashion Week continues through Feb. 10 with runway shows by designers including Oscar de la Renta, Karl Lagerfeld, Ralph Lauren, Donna Karan, Calvin Klein, Tuleh, Badgley Mischka, Luca Luca, Vivienne Tam and Bill Blass.