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Longer hemlines make comeback at NY Fashion Week

So long, miniskirts. The up-to-there trend gave way to longer hemlines at New York Fashion Week. There were more pants, too, than in recent seasons when the dress ruled the runways. Even designers who showed shorter dresses paired them with leg-warmers for a less leggy look. On Wednesday, Oscar de la Renta showed long slim …

So long, miniskirts. The up-to-there trend gave way to longer hemlines at New York Fashion Week.

There were more pants, too, than in recent seasons when the dress ruled the runways. Even designers who showed shorter dresses paired them with leg-warmers for a less leggy look.

On Wednesday, Oscar de la Renta showed long slim skirts for daytime, while Michael Kors had the slim shape just below the knee as well as more free-flowing knits that grazed the floor.

The old saying that hemlines go up in a good economy and down in a bad one is not always the case, but many did see the longer hemline as a reflection of the Great Recession.

There s a general growing up of fashion after a very difficult year, said Joanna Coles, editor in chief of Marie Claire magazine. Women don t want dressing up to be so complicated. The hemline dropping is part of that.

Michael Kors

Here s the recipe for glamour: a hearty serving of luxe cashmere, slim bodysuits, long skirts and crisp coats, with a few furs tossed in and a dash of sparkle. Add a little Michael Kors sizzle.

Kors is a favorite among the stylists, editors and retailers at the Bryant Park tents because he makes aspirational clothes – they look so rich and luxurious but they re also relatable.

There was nothing cryptic in his sporty-chic message for his fall collection, presented Wednesday with fans Molly Sims and Laura Linney in the front row. Sims took nine photos of outfits she wants, including the slouchy cashmere sweatpants with belts and the slinky gold beaded gown with a mermaid hem.

It was so yummy, said celebrity stylist Rachel Zoe. Michael really makes women look beautiful. Everyone wants to jump in the clothes from that show.

Oscar De La Renta

Oscar de la Renta has always catered to that well-heeled globe trotter, but did we know she was an international woman of mystery – maybe even a spy?

The fall collection had the underlying vibe of a Cold War espionage novel. His favored print, in fact, was called Astrakhan, the name of a Russian province. It s a velvetlike fur unique to the lambs of that region. The designer also made good use of his signature embroideries on a gray organza gown with a chiffon ruffled collar, and rich colors.

He did, however, tone down the volume that often comes with his clothes. Instead the skirts were long and lean, the gowns slinky with an old Hollywood glamour to them.

It would serve a Rita Hayworth-type starlet to wear the finale gown that had a platinum satin wrap-style top with a plunging neckline and a crinkled lame skirt.


With any luck, the Hollywood stylists attending New York Fashion Week in search of red-carpet styles made a pitstop at the Marchesa presentation.

They could have just stopped at the silver bugle-bead column gown with a sheer bodice decorated with a delicate leaf pattern and be done with their work. (The oversized bow on one shoulder looked as if it were floating because of the illusion of the body-colored tulle.)

Other award-show contenders were a sculpted dress with alternating tiers of black tulle and white crepe that looked like unfurling petals with a beaded waistline holding the imagined bouquet together, and a red strapless number with tight fabric flowers on the bodice that turned into fanlike tiers on the A-line skirt.

Asked which one she d like to see on a star, designer and co-founder Georgina Chapman – wearing a white cocktail dress she just whipped up with some extra embroidery – said she s like to see them all on the red carpet.

Tory Burch

Tory Burch s city-meets-country look, with sequin-covered tops and dresses, paired with slick waxed cotton jackets and lug-sole boots – high heel ones, of course – packed everything for a weekend getaway very nicely.

First I d put on the long gray T-shirt, then they chunky gray tights, the striped sweater, that cape-vest, men s trousers – this is a lot at once, mind you – the gray knit cap and the wedge lace-up boots. I m ready for fall, said Stephanie Solomon of Bloomingdale s.

Burch, in her notes handed out the editors, retailers and stylists, said she used a palette with lipstick red, cobalt blue as well as must-have caramel, gray and black that remind her of Picasso s Mosqueteros exhibit and Gerhard Richter s abstract paintings.

We are constantly inspired by fashion, art and the way these two worlds influence each other, Burch said in her notes. It s that young woman who s an art enthusiast that served as her muse.

Narciso Rodriguez

Narciso Rodriguez has a distinct look that makes his designs easy to identify: They are structured, architectural, minimal and usually a little tough. Oh, and chic.

As a brand, having that sort of signature has to be a good thing, but you have to wonder if a designer – a creative person by nature – feels stifled by it.

For his fall collection, Rodriguez seemed to stretch his muscles a little. The silhouette, for one, was looser, and there was much more use of draping – even some sequins. A handful of dresses had a swath of fabric positioned diagonally across the body that could risk comparisons to a beauty queen s sash.

Almost everything had an asymmetrical bent, especially around the neckline. Those keyhole slashes were pretty sexy, too. One textured black-silk dress with a zip-up front was paired with a cropped, slate-wool jacket with black sleeves, hitting the whole contrasting-sleeves trend that all the designers must have agreed to in a secret meeting.

Badgley Mischka

Badgley Mischka put a more intimate spin on its fall-collection runway, introducing itself on the backdrop behind the models and on the notes left for the fashion insiders as Mark and James.

Mark is, of course, Mark Badgley and James is James Mischka. They are the nice guys of the industry with a reputation for pretty daytime clothes for the socialite set and glamorous gowns for the red carpet and charity-ball circuit.

But as well as the crowd at the Bryant Park tents know them, Badgley Mischka seems interested in making a bigger name for itself among consumers. So it should not come as a surprise that the catwalk show began with the gowns that truly are their hallmark and ended with the separates. Doing that sets the stage for the white-white, faux-fur jackets, a faux-leather and glazed-lace dress, sparkly leggings and a chic black suede dress with a hint of military influence to be the lingering memory.

William Rast

William Rast, the contemporary fashion label by Justin Timberlake and longtime friend Trace Ayala, marched a parade of biker styles down the runway in a collection dubbed New America.

It was a combination of denim, leather and military styles largely inspired by the sights, sounds and people you d see on the open roads between the Mississippi River and the West Coast, Timberlake said.

Somehow, Timberlake and Ayala got the message from the other designers in New York that layers, fringe and those contrasting sleeves – interpreted here as a sweatshirt with leather fringe sleeves and, for men, a denim jacket with black leather sleeves – would be key looks.

Other takeaways from the show: a zip-up leather jumpsuit, officer coats and the snakeskin treatment on jeans.

When it was time to take the bow, Timberlake did an exaggerated wipe of the brow for the cameras – and in front of Jessica Biel.

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