NEW YORK, N.Y. - New York Fashion Week kicked into high gear on its second day, with celebrities dotting audiences at the Lincoln Center tents and elsewhere in Manhattan.
There was whimsy at Peter Som's Spring-Summer 2015 show, and a night earlier, spectacle and celebrity at Gareth Pugh's dance-fashion happening.
Among the highlights:
Jason Wu says he was inspired by strong women for his Spring 2015 collection, and he had two in particular in mind: Actresses Charlotte Rampling and Diane Kruger.
"They have impeccable style," Wu says of the actresses. "I imagined them in every single piece."
Wu presented what he called a glamorous take on American sportswear — casual looks in rich fabrics. He used silk organza, suede, leather and what he calls "silk canvas." A suit that looked like denim was actually made of silk tweed. In dressier looks, Wu's fabrics took on a shiny, sparkly veneer.
"The idea of reflection has always been an important element in my shows," explained the designer, famous for designing not one, but both of Michelle Obama's inaugural gowns. "For this collection I wanted to concentrate on beauty. I wanted to celebrate women."
In honour of German actress Kruger, 38, described by the fashion house as Wu's "perennial muse," the designer introduced what he calls his "Diane Bag" — a shoulder bag made of calf leather, exotic python and crocodile. And as for Rampling, the 68-year-old British actress inspired a "Charlotte Tote" — a leather bag featuring origami folds.
— Nicole Evatt and Jocelyn Noveck
A favourite of first lady Michelle Obama, Peter Som ramped up the fun early Friday, with olive green in broad stripes and bold florals on his New York Fashion Week runway.
Som transitioned from easy living dresses, flouncy short skirts and sturdy jackets and coats for day to a series of gold lame looks for evening, offering a youthful flourish with flowery appliques on numerous outfits.
Fourteen-year-old Willow Shields, who plays Primrose Everdeen in the "Hunger Games," counted the three-dimensional applique among her favourite things from Som as she attended her first-ever fashion show — in grown-up heels!
"I'm getting better in heels, but they still hurt," she laughed.
The playful mood of Som's collection continued with colorful aprons wrapped around floral-print shirtdresses, a sleeveless top in with a fluttery, oversized back ruffle, and roomy T-shirts in snake prints in light pink and white.
Som turned to Christian Louboutin and his signature red soles for comfortable leather flat sandals in white, black and silver.
Shields, wearing a black Som outfit, explained how she likes the way the designer "mixes different things," like leather and the sewn-on flowers.
"That gives it a bit of a grungy look, but then there's flowers and that gives it a girly look," she said. "Balancing that is fun."
How's this for a young fashionista's dream accessory: A studded bracelet that also serves as a phone charger?
That was just many of the millennial-friendly concepts introduced Friday at Rebecca Minkoff's Fashion Week show, always an event that draws a posse of young starlets. This year, attendees included Zosia Mamet of HBOs "Girls," along with actresses AnnaSophia Robb and Victoria Justice.
Justice happily took a selfie or two with her 3D glasses, provided to all by Minkoff so they could inspect the final five looks on her runway. The looks featured what the designer calls a 3D print, which changed when examined with the glasses (the effect worked better in close-up backstage than on the fast-moving runway.)
The crowd was also treated to sparkly black iPhone cases, and live music from a young rock band.
Backstage before the show, in black jeans and sneakers, Minkoff said her collection was inspired by the late fashion photographer Deborah Turbeville, known for transforming the art form into something more moody and avant-garde.
The collection, aimed chiefly at younger women, featured breezy looks, many with lace or ruffled hems or broad stripes. As for shoes — every millennial fashionista's best friend — Minkoff's were covered with studs. "Not too feminine," she said. "Something with an edge."
As for that phone-charger bracelet, it wasn't shown on the runway, but Minkoff described it backstage as part of her move into wearable technology, an emerging theme this Fashion Week.
After a three-year childbearing and child-raising break, singer Gwen Stefani returned to New York Fashion Week on Friday, rolling out "modern tribal" looks that had models frolicking on a platform surrounded by a gritty urban video installation from longtime collaborator Sophie Muller.
In bright pink trousers from her L.A.M.B. brand, Stefani told reporters before the show that her three boys are slightly older now and able to deal with her return to the fashion life.
And they didn't cry, she said, when she called home while preparing for her New York presentation, her first since 2011.
She described the batik prints in bright pink, earthy horizontal lines of colour in another print and pops of orange her "New Nomad" collection for spring. A circular design was used in light breezy long dresses in blue and grey.
Stefani also debuted new shoes and bags, including a pair of heels with luminescent strap detailing.
The No Doubt singer described her new dresses and trousers as a mashup of tribal and graphic prints meet the her Orange County girl, with a Jamaican vibe thrown in.
Stefani launched L.A.M.B. in 2003 and now heads a global business.
There are fashion shows that focus purely on the clothes to be sold. Then there are the shows that lean more toward concept, toward image, toward performance.
And then there are shows like Gareth Pugh's splashy happening Thursday night at New York Fashion Week, a so-called "live immersive fashion experience" held in a cavernous space on the East River that normally houses seven gleaming basketball courts.
Pugh, the avant-garde British designer who usually shows in Paris, shrouded the premises in darkness and fog (billowing from strategically placed machines.) Giant video projections displayed everything from clouds and tornadoes to exotically clad figures. And there were dancers — live ones — writhing and churning, and wearing very little. Their moves were choreographed by prominent British contemporary choreographer Wayne McGregor.
The only thing missing: Clothes, as in, what is Pugh suggesting that we wear next spring? It was hard to spot a single garment that might be actually, like, for sale one day.
As attendees — including celebrity guests like Maggie Gyllenhaal, Sarah Jessica Parker, Adrian Grenier and model Coco Rocha — entered the premises of Basketball City, an impressive sports facility housed in a giant warehouse on the river, waiters were at the ready with glasses of white wine and wild mushroom hors d'oeuvres. There were two large open bars. The huge space had been transformed into a dark club — no wooden basketball floors or hoops to be seen. Once the show began, three performance spaces had the crowd rushing from one to the other.
Will Pugh, 32, who has dressed celebrities like Lady Gaga, become more of a presence in New York? Not clear, but his splashy, foggy show certainly had people buzzing as Fashion Week got underway in earnest.
Delicate beading on evening dresses in muted pastels were juxtaposed with a lot of shimmer and full puffy quilted skirting Friday on the Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week runway of Monique Lhuillier.
Her spring collection in soft pink, coral, mint green, sky blue, lavender and pale yellow was inspired by those first moments of sunrise.
Lhuillier celebrated spring at finale time with luminescent petals raining down on her guests at the Lincoln Center tents.
Her creations show up regularly on red carpets, including a white-and-gold standout of a gown worn by Julianne Hough to the 2013 Golden Globes. Could an intricately beaded gown with a wide ruffle at the waist and ballet tulle be next?
Lhuillier took a turn to the unusual in roomy, dressy shorts in deep black and a short floral romper. Small puffs of quilting were used on a variety of garments, including a shimmery mint green skirt that fell below the knee, paired with a sheer buttondown sleeveless top worn with a black bandeau underneath.
She used a stiff metallic fabric for bolder looks in a metallic pink.
Lhuillier also does shoes and used chunky lucite heels in ombre hues of the sunrise.
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