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At Fashion Week, star power outshines models

The stars descended on New York Fashion Week on Sunday, with Olympian Dara Torres hitting the catwalk, Justin Timberlake putting on a runway show and the likes of Winona Ryder and Christina Ricci lining the front rows.
/ Source: The Associated Press

The stars descended on New York Fashion Week on Sunday, with Olympian Dara Torres hitting the catwalk, Justin Timberlake putting on a runway show and the likes of Winona Ryder and Christina Ricci lining the front rows.

The high wattage came on a day of birthday parties for DKNY and Calvin Klein, which was celebrating 40 years in business with a star-studded party Sunday night, competing with Timberlake's presentation of his William Rast collection.

Torres strutted the runway with her 2-year-old daughter in tow at the Charles Nolan show, wearing an indigo and white-striped silk jersey tank with navy swim shorts.

Ryder and Ricci were both in the front row for Donna Karan's 20th anniversary collection.

"I like her clothes because they're comfortable and I like her as a person," Ryder said. "She's kind of great."

On Saturday, Lindsay Lohan started a minor frenzy with her appearance with gal pal Samantha Ronson at her sister Charlotte Ronson's show. Eva Longoria, Mary Kate Olsen and the crew from "Gossip Girl" were also spotted around the tents.

New York Fashion Week runs through Sept. 12, with more than 100 shows over eight days.

Donna Karan's DKNY was born in the 1980s and the designer is darn proud of it. Her 20th anniversary collection for spring was all about highlighter colors, minis and jumpsuits for the next generation.

Karan rarely makes an appearance at the Bryant Park tents, but this was a celebration and the brand needed the bigger space to accommodate more guests. Taking their places in the front row were Ryder, Ricci and longtime Karan models Esther Canadas and Angela Lindvall.

DKNY's heart is driven by the beat of New York and the runway show at Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week began with a homemade video of streetscapes. Looking at quick flashes of traffic lights, neon signs and lots of taxicabs against the context of the clothes, the anorak dresses, parachute flight suits and even rompers seemed to make sense.

There was no fur, though, so animal-rights protesters picked the wrong show to target when they briefly interrupted the finale.

Alexander Wang
Alexander Wang is a cool, young designer and he creates cool, young fashion. His spring collection, presented at New York Fashion Week on Saturday in a vast industrial space, isn't for everyone, but his fans will love the update given to the 1980s mantra of excess.

The outfits combined the edginess of the decade's early counter culture — with tailored jackets minus sleeves, leather fringe tops and mesh bodysuits — and the flash that came a few years later (yes, those were crystal-crusted sweats on the runway).

There also were plenty of exposed zippers and asymmetrical draping, both emerging as trends here, and denim, which has been largely absent from high fashion in recent years.

Wang must have been pleased: Instead of taking the bow at the end that so many other designers do, he came out jumping and with his fists pumping in the air.

For designer Ashleigh Verrier, her spring collection was a fairy tale come true.

The colorful-yet-elegant cocktail dresses were a realization of Verrier's longtime interest in movies such as "Alice in Wonderland" and the "Wizard of Oz." She wondered, she explained during a backstage interview, what those heroines would look like in a modern setting.

Imagine Alice in a fuchsia taffeta and organza ruffled cocktail dress, while Dorothy would look all grown up in a midnight-blue, pleated goddess dress with a lace insert. Perhaps a chic gray vinyl raincoat with Peter Pan collar would be more for Wendy. That coat topped a lovely gray crinkle chiffon blouse with a bow at the neck and a pouffy indigo-blue skirt with touches of metallic lace.

Sometimes, though, Verrier got a little too kitschy. The Lucifer tank top with crystal kitty embellishment wasn't as sophisticated as most of the other looks.

Adam Lippes
Adam Lippes offered lovely low-key knits, crocheted pieces and chic jersey looks in his spring collection, but surely the dress that everyone in the audience was buzzing about was an embroidered sheath dress in candy hues of blue, yellow and pink.

Think jellybean explosion on Easter morning.

Lippes opted to show in a dramatic seminary building in the Chelsea neighborhood, and in his notes to the stylists, editors and retailers in audience, Lippes said he was inspired by an exhibit at the Museum of Modern Art that focused on the color chart and mid-20th century art.

Lippes employed bold and happy color on a shocking pink georgette romper and a cerulean-blue chiffon dress with a braided back. He closed the show with a sophisticated orange silk dress that was long and lean, but the white T-shirt and cotton running shorts underneath it were puzzling at best.