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Spring styles bloom on Fashion Week runways

Oscar de la Renta seems to have Jacqueline Kennedy on his mind
/ Source: The Associated Press

Spring fashion is beginning to take shape in the opening days of New York Fashion Week — however loose that shape may be.

Flirty frocks are mostly short with swinging hems. Eyelet fabrics embrace the season’s lighthearted spirit, while the favorite colors are black and white with pops of brights instead of traditional warm-weather pastels.

However, scores of designers have yet to preview their lines before the shows wind up Friday, so there’s room for other trends to show up on the catwalks.

Proenza Schouler: “Young” and “sophisticated” aren’t terms you often hear together, but when you’re talking about Proenza Schouler, the words are a natural pair.

Their runway was a parade of sexy stripes Monday afternoon. Tight skirts alternated horizontal panels of color; the most noteworthy one had rows of yellow, white and gray beads. It might not be easy to wear but it was beautiful to look at.

It was the same thing with the bra-style tank tops that have become one of Lazaro Hernandez and Jack McCollough’s signatures.

The great coats were another story. The quilted black swing coat — which was also offered as a cropped jacket — could be worn by women of different ages, shapes and styles as long as they have a thick wallet.

Among those applauding at the end of the show were Demi Moore and Ashton Kutcher.

Oscar de la Renta: De la Renta is a favorite of first ladies past and present, and for spring 2007, he seemed to have Jacqueline Kennedy on his mind.

The shift dresses and portrait-collar skirt suits seen in his show Monday were shapes rooted in the early 1960s, yet de la Renta kept them modern with interesting fabrics and embroidery. One recurring print was a Georgia O’Keeffe-style floral, sometimes in bright red, other times in bright blue.

It could have been a coincidence that the first few outfits on the runway were in red, white and blue, but in his notes, de la Renta acknowledged that his show was taking place on the fifth anniversary of the Sept. 11 terror attacks.

“Five years ago today, as I was preparing for the opening of the spring show, tragedy struck us all. Today, we honor the memory of those who died. As I present this collection, I still strongly believe in the spirit of America and the great generosity of its people,” he wrote.

Embroidery is de la Renta’s signature — and he didn’t disappoint. A navy-and-white embroidered dress, a yellow embroidered ballgown and a form-fitting, cream-colored embroidered-lace gown had that de la Renta touch.

Bubble skirts are another de la Renta hallmark, but he probably should have skipped them this time; they were too pouffy, too dramatic and seemed out of place.

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A short shift in a red-and-white hydrangea jacquard fabric could be worn anywhere and anytime, and a beige eyelet strapless sundress with a hint of metallic shine could be the “go-to” dress of the season because of its flexibility, wearability and elegance. Herrera also included a series of dresses made from rows of embroidered ribbons in a triangular pattern that was completely unique.

Max Azria: With his new signature collection, Azria tried to walk a fine line between cool and casual. Sometimes it worked — as with a striped button-front dress in a breezy purple-and-white gauze with embroidered pockets — but even breezy summertime dresses need shape and some of Azria’s didn’t have any. Others, while intentionally wrinkled, were too wrinkled to wear anywhere but the beach.

Azria gets kudos for mixing different shades of white, creating refreshing combinations instead of blinding ones. He also gets kudos for getting Kevin Costner on his front row.

Cynthia Steffe: Steffe said this collection was inspired by the scene at St. Tropez, France, and the cast of characters it draws, and tanned bathing beauties would look great in her breezy white shifts. But the beautiful color blue she used for many of her cocktail dresses looked more like the nearby Mediterranean. One look that bridged the beach was a blue eyelet halter dress.

Jill Stuart: Stuart knows her customer — young women who are comfortable wearing very little and who have such shapely figures that their clothes don’t need much structure. For these customers, there were lots of options, including swinging minidresses in layers of lace. The best ones were a rose-colored lace baby-doll dress and a white strapless dress with a nude-colored lace overlay shift over it.