New York Fashion Week draws to a close

| Thursday, Feb. 13, 2014, 6:43 p.m.

New York Fashion Week gives more than 80 designers a chance to showcase their collections to 100,000 industry insiders from around the world, including buyers, editors, retailers, celebrities and VIPs.

Style, beauty, supermodels and celebrities come together to celebrate the best in fashion. Here's a glimpse of highlights from notable designers.

Oscar de la Renta: a little sass to his luxury

De la Renta is known for the sumptuous glamour of his beautifully crafted gowns, and there was plenty of that in his fall 2014 collection.

But the designer signaled that he wants to also satisfy a customer looking for some edge. There were very wide black leather pants paired with a mink jacket in black and white — with a blue collar. There was a cream shearling jacket paired with charcoal pants and black-and-white booties.

One sensed, though, that everyone was truly waiting for the gowns — and they were impressive. There was a daringly sheer black tulle dress with black sequins and lace. Another black tulle number had a gold-foil print.

The piece de resistance: a sumptuous painted polka dot ruffle gown in black and white.

Michael Kors: California Dreamin'

Kors' inspiration for the collection was actually Big Sur, not Los Angeles, and the clothes definitely were more northern California than southern, especially the fringed skirts, which had a hippie vibe. There were also long '70s-inspired dresses with a laid-back feel. There were big, soft sweaters of every kind, and lots of wool, cashmere, alpaca, shearling, mohair, flannel and fur.

Kors said he was designing clothes for active, everyday wear rather than special occasions.

Tory Burch: inspired by suits of armor and medieval tapestry

Tory Burch says her parents and grandparents collected suits of armor when she was a child. And so, she was inspired to create a line of women's clothing based on that. What resulted was an appealing and unified collection, one that reflected her stated theme in virtually every piece, but still felt highly wearable. This was one of those shows where the clothes actually seemed destined for the department store, rather than a theatrical stage or an art museum.

Armor was evoked in fabrics and accessories, like wide metallic belts. A pleated lame skirt, a foil-embossed leather top, or a boucle skirt all looked like they could have been part of a suit of armor — albeit a fairly chic one.

Another theme for the collection, which favored colors like gray, olive and red, was medieval tapestry. That made for some of the prettiest outfits — like a tapestry knot turtleneck paired with a tapestry print brocade skirt. There was a nice tapestry-covered purse, worn like a winter muff, and the show closed with a tapestry-inspired silk dress.

As for footwear, many of the models wore Burch's version of Ghillies — a Scottish shoe with laces — with a thicker heel than most runway shoes.

Rodarte: Channels Yoda

If you were going to buy a silk charmeuse designer gown for thousands and thousands of dollars, would you want it to be emblazoned with the image of Luke Skywalker, C-3PO or Yoda?

That's just how Rodarte ended its runway show, with one gown devoted to each of those “Star Wars” icons. High-end fashion or pop culture kitsch? As always, the verdict was a study in subjectivity.

Growing up in California, “Star Wars” was a “big obsession” for Rodarte designer-sisters Kate and Laura Mulleavy, according to Kate. In a nutshell, the sisters said, the collection was about childhood nostalgia.

Another Rodarte garment destined to result in seriously divided opinions: the shoulder-less coat, which is exactly what it sounds like — coats with cutouts where the shoulders would be. It came in gray-and-black wool, but also in fuchsia glitter. On the subtler side, there were some truly lovely striped lace gowns in appealing colors, demonstrating the Mulleavys' talent for craftsmanship.

Badgley Mischka: Opulent gowns, light as a feather

Designers Mark Badgley and James Mischka sent sparkly gold gowns and floral-blue brocades down the runway Feb. 11 with warm fur hats and cozy tweeds in a mix of red-carpet dazzle and clothes for everyday wear.

“We gold-washed the fabrics, we took tweeds and bronzed them,” Badgley said. The evening gowns, he added, are “weightless, they weigh just literally ounces but the fabrics are extremely rich and opulent.”

A silk brocade was light as a feather, “but we cut big voluminous shapes in it,” he said. “We usually do things close to the body, but our fabrics were so light this season, it allowed us to cut big, flowy silhouettes with a lot of sweep, which was fun for a change.”

Vera Wang: In a dark romance

For her fall collection, shown for the first year in a Chelsea gallery rather than the Lincoln Center tents, Vera Wang went to a darker color palette, featuring lots of black and charcoal, along with slightly more muted colors like pewter and bronze. Tartan was big — in coats, cloaks, skirts and jackets, and printed on lighter fabrics like chiffon, too, in blouses. There were also argyle sweaters and vests, long and roomy.

Jenny Packham: ‘70s glam

Jenny Packham, the Londoner who has dressed Angelina Jolie, Amy Adams and Kate Winslet, said her collection was partly inspired by Bianca Jagger's ease and elegance in flowing one-shoulder gowns and silk kaftans during the 1970s.

Her runway ode to Mick's ex included loose satin jumpsuits with chunky jewel accents.

Packham trimmed beaded cocktail dresses with feathers at the hem and sent out a long ostrich-feather coat in blue. Her silky satins came in soft caramel, bluebird blue and rose pink, in contrast to metallic glitter on tulle and Swarovski crystals scattered on mesh.

The mood was playful disco in spots and old glamour in others, thanks to another era in fashion Packham admires: the 1930s.

Marc by Marc Jacobs: Turtlenecks and combat boots

Teenage mutant ninja model? Well, minus the mutant.

The Marc by Marc Jacobs fall/winter collection featured models covered head to toe — the rippled turtleneck was the staple, giving the tall models a more heightened look.

Combat boots and high, thick sneakers walked on the wooden runway, and some models wore bandanas over their mouths; others sported headbands. And their waists were tightened with thick black belts. It was like they were ready for battle.

The standouts were large shawls folded into bowties over the neck and shoulders, and a pink pencil skirt that shined outside of the mostly black, gray and red suits and skirts that fit loosely.

Donna Karan: 30 years of fashion

The women on Donna Karan's 30th anniversary runway wore bodysuits in illusion tulle, other sexy sheers showing slices of skin and backless evening looks with sequins and beads. But their strength was present in military-inspired coats and jackets, some with quirky sleeves of shaggy fur.

“It's all about the body,” Karan said of the new work. “It's all about the movement of the body and the expression of the woman and how she is so core in her strength.”

Nanette Lepore: Handcrafted vibe

Handcrafted in New York was the theme of Nanette Lepore's runway show, when she sent out sheer beaded tops, shaggy-collared alpaca coats with girlie geometric prints and dresses and flouncy skirts done in Bordeaux red, violet and a smoky rose.

Lepore, known for her bohemian vibe, used netting to expose some skin in tops and dresses. She used flannel for jackets and pants, along with a belted poncho and skirt. Her looks for fall included unadorned suits with a twist, such as a tier of loose pleating on the back of a jacket.

She paired an alpaca turtleneck with a trouser suit. And she used the same long-haired black shag collar in a look featuring an embroidered strapless dress worn with a knit parka. Known for her youthful, feminine designs, Lepore included a few asymmetrical hems below the knee.

Nicole Miller: Feathers everywhere

The feathers were flying at Nicole Miller's show — on vests, fur skirts and mixed with mirrors, leather and beads.

And they included peacock feathers hanging from a sweatshirt and dress.

The usually edgy Miller was heavy on the black, studs and neoprene. She sent out prints she described in her notes as “tribal tree” and “force field.”

Betsey Johnson: Hot collection

If the racy clothes at Betsey Johnson's runway show weren't enough to cause temperatures to rise, the designer added a surefire sizzle — two hunks (barely) dressed as firefighters.

The beefcake — complete with fake fire hoses — went with the theme of the “Hot” collection. For Johnson, being hot equates with mesh dresses paired only with bright underwear, mini-dresses, shirt dresses that barely covered one's assets, and lots and lots and lots of sequins.

Ralph Lauren: Contrasting collections

Split into two distinct parts, the show kicked off with Lauren's new Polo casual collection for women and concluded with the more formal Ralph Lauren Collection.

Several pieces in the Polo collection had a prep-school feel reminiscent of “Gossip Girl.” A neon-green Shetland wool sweater paired with a leather skirt and patent Mary Janes. Puffy, bright field jackets tossed over shift dresses with over-the-knee socks.

Meanwhile, the Collection had a more sophisticated feel, relying heavily on snow-colored whites and muted pinks and grays. Silk and satin draping accentuated the models' tall, lean frames.

Lauren mixed causal and formal pieces by pairing tuxedo jackets with jogging pants; oversized, draped turtleneck sweaters with chiffon beaded skirts; beaded cocktail dresses with suede over-the-knee boots.

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