NEW YORK CITY – New York Fashion Week has ended with Ralph Lauren exploring sexy schoolgirl chic, Calvin Klein offering up a study in geometry and Marc Jacobs heading to a gothic beach wasteland.
Jacobs on Thursday offered a dramatic finale to the seven-day fashion frenzy with a dark, Victorian spring look as thunder and lightning crashed outside, soaking fashionistas.
Leaving the Big Apple, the spring-summer 2014 style cavalcade now moves over to London, Milan and Paris.
Jacobs – the only designer to enforce a merciless punctuality to his shows – unveiled a theatrical set with a wasteland feel to it. Models in pageboy bobs walked a runway littered with cigarette butts in oversized military jackets and long shorts.
The designer put floral prints on grungy oversized jackets and sweatshirts, gave Bermuda shorts an army look and unveiled dark dresses with oversized lace sleeves and high necks that wouldn't have been out of place on a Victorian vamp.
Earlier, Lauren added his own twist to one of the major trends of the season – the classic combination of black and white – sending out a bevy of saucy schoolgirls in short skirts and dresses with a 1960s flair.
Klein's new collection was a study in geometry with loose, box-cut jackets and tops – another key theme of the week – and skirts given a square shape with a side hem.
There was a bit of something for everyone at fashion week: masculinity was mashed with romanticism, while elegant looks took on a sporty feel. Not only will plastic be in fashion next spring, but it can be mixed with lace or tweed as well.
Donning all white is fine and as for hemlines, dresses can be short and flirty, knee-length or fall 1950s style to the calf.
"There are no more rules about length," said Nicole Fischelis, fashion director for Macy's.
"Nearly all the collections opened or closed with white, and it's not boring – it has transparency, geometric effects, layering, 3D embroidery," she said.
Another theme seen across practically all shows is that fashionistas can finally breathe – gauzy transparency was everywhere.
Dresses were loose and square and – as seen at Calvin Klein – drop-waisted. Skirts were also fluid and full, and tops and trousers oversized and slouchy. With actress Jessica Alba in the front row of a white runway lined by black seats in downtown Manhattan, the Ralph Lauren show opened with a short black dress with a white collar paired with knee socks.
The next dress added some leather and a black tie to the saucy schoolgirl look. Striped blazers, jaunty caps and a studious pair of glasses on one model rounded off the look.
Fashion week has seen plenty of geometric prints, from stripes and polka dots to fashion queen Carolina Herrera's use of kinetic art inspiration and layering to create vision-bending multidimensional motifs.
The 73-year-old Lauren used stripes and blocks, but also put a triangular print on a coat that he paired with a shiny skirt, crisp white shirt and floral print black-and-white tie.
Shiny sateen, neoprene, and scuba-inspired material have been used by everyone from Peter Som to Tommy Hilfiger, while Prabal Gurung laminated silk and lace and presented hand-painted "raincoat" jackets.
Another key trend was cut-out dresses and cropped tops, with bared midriffs seen all over the runways, from fashion prince Alexander Wang to American designer Jill Stuart.
While soft pastels were seen throughout the week, Lauren offered pops of bright color, with dresses in head-to-toe acid green, orange and fluorescent yellow.
Several designers mixed masculine with feminine, a look favored by Victoria Beckham, whose flirty, asymmetrical tennis skirts and loose pants revealed a new more relaxed side of the former Spice Girl.
Her two-year-old daughter Harper was unveiled as the new 'it' girl, drawing most of the attention in the front row as she bounced on her footballer father David Beckham's knee.
Both "True Blood" hunk Alexander Skarsgard and actress Nicole Kidman took in Calvin Klein's show, after a star-studded week which saw appearances by hip-hop star Kanye West and pop prince Justin Bieber.
Curvy "Mad Men" siren Christina Hendricks, actresses Nicole Kidman, Winona Ryder and Christina Ricci were also spotted.
And in one of the biggest surprises of the week, 43-year-old supermodel Naomi Campbell made a rare catwalk appearance for Belgian-born designer Diane Von Furstenberg. AFP