02/11/2012 05:08 EST | Updated 04/12/2012 05:12 EDT

Jill Stuart at NY Fashion Week puts strong shoulders and dark floral motifs in fall collection

NEW YORK, N.Y. - The second outfit to come down Jill Stuart's runway, a gold leaf-embroidered T-shirt paired with black sailor pants, is headed straight to the designer's closet.

She had it earmarked for her wardrobe even before she debuted her fall collection Saturday at New York Fashion Week.

"I was looking for nonchalance, an effortless way to dress. ... I think it's the way I dress," she said before the fashion show at the tents at Lincoln Center.

She wanted to convey through her designs a sense of "magical charm, a little bit of mystery," she explained, using a mostly dark, almost haunting palette of black, plum and dark raspberry.

Many of the prints and embroideries featured a floral motif, but there was nothing flowery about black roses on stark winter white backgrounds or prints that seemed to paint a picture of a garden in the dark. This collection showed a more serious side to Stuart.

Some dresses had flippy, flouncy hemlines and others had a schoolgirl jumper silhouette, adding moments of levity to the catwalk, but the emphasis seemed to be on the sharply defined shoulders, high necklines and the occasion panel of suggestive sheer fabric.

Several coats were among the standout pieces, including soft, cozy and luxe-looking alpaca wraps, which seemed fitting on a day when snowflakes were falling and even Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week's most diehard fashionistas opted for tall-shaft boots instead of sandals.


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