It wasn't all the people, or even the paparazzi, that drove them away. It was their own clothes. Their look, which they describe as one of careful artistry and potential heritage pieces that women will keep a lifetime, is a little too quiet for all the splash, they said.
"We wanted to tell the full story behind the frivolity," said Yang, adding: "It's a quiet approach."
Holmes and Yang sat down at a hotel on the opposite side of Manhattan with a handful of fashion journalists on Thursday, the opening day of fashion week, to walk them personally through 15 looks Holmes called their favourites.
Katharine Hepburn's practical-yet-chic look of the 1940s, Donna Karan's use of the shoulders and back as erogenous zones, Halston's glamorous sportswear and Chanel's mastery of seaming and studs were all in their minds as they built the pieces and outfits.
"We're not trying to be trendy ... but we're trying to make high-quality pieces you'll wear over and over again," Holmes said.
Holmes was wearing an A-line shirtdress in the blue-and-black plaid that was dominant in the collection, while Yang wore one of the slouchy blazers that has become a key piece for the label, founded in 2009.
For fall, they'll offer a peplum top with a suede waist band and maxi skirt in the same plaid. Holmes suggested that outfit for a dinner out. Swap the shirt for a tank top for brunch and a blouse to go to the theatre. Yang said she hoped a customer would "feel smart" in a white cashmere-silk boucle sweaterdress with a strip of white silk at the hem.
Holmes, meanwhile, was partial to the baggy suede caramel-colored pants that hit just above the ankle, worn with a bow-neck blouse in a deep shade of lipstick pink.
The duo made a point of noting that 70 per cent of production of Holmes & Yang happens in New York and the other 30 per cent in Los Angeles.
Follow Samantha Critchell on Twitter at http://twitter.com/AP_Fashion