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Disco inspirations

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Say what you will about disco, the 1970s were a good time for American fashion. It’s when New York really carved its niche as the sportswear capital of the world.

And now, for spring 2011, designers, are reclaiming the look as their own at New York Fashion Week.

Badgley Mischka, Rachel Roy and Elie Tahari embraced a ’70s muse. Halston and Diane Von Furstenberg always have a touch of ’70s glam, and their spring 2011 collections were no different.

If it feels like decades whiplash, you may be right. Fall is the time for the ’50s polished lady, and it wasn’t so long ago that fashion was embracing the ’80s.

But the ’70s have been creeping forward, too. Wide-leg pants hitting stores for fall will go looser and easier for spring.

Diane Von Furstenberg

Diane von Furstenberg knows not to reinvent a good thing. She tweaks just enough to make it fresh and new.

Opening her show was a jersey wrap jumpsuit — an ever-so-slight variation to the silhouette that has made her a power player in the fashion world and a reliable source of clothes for working women. The rest of the collection was an ode to the goddess, and there was more than one outfit that borrowed from the ancient Greek kind.

Choices for next season will include a key-lime halter paired with jade Bermudas, a purple silk-jersey wrap dress with a hood, a white crepe dress with a plunging V neck and a gold waistband, and a sheer paneled shirt dress. There was even a lame-embroidered hoodie worn with silk hot pants.

"It’s a little new for me, it’s very fresh, and there’s a lot of casual," von Furstenberg said backstage. "So I’m very excited actually."

Christian Siriano

Christian Siriano fans know from his "Project Runway" days that he has a flair for the dramatic, but what’s winning him praise with the sometimes tough-to-please crowd at New York Fashion Week is his sense of his customer. He successfully juggled the two at Fashion Week.

First out on the runway was a buttery caramel-colored safari jacket with slim-fit white trousers — an appropriately luxe, chic outfit for women of many ages and many climates — while the finale gown was a bright-red, one-shoulder tulle design that looked like a walking bed of roses (above).

Every look was paired with crazy platform shoes with cone-shaped heels that will be offered by the mass-market Payless (below).

Leather looks, especially a cognac wing-sleeve jacket and thick belt worn over a strapless organza pleated gown, were a highlight, and so were his modern treatments of metallic tweed, giraffe-print taffeta and snakelike embossing. A red-print cocktail dress with draped sleeves was a pretty, refreshing alternative to the usual little black dress.

Asymmetrical flounces — reminiscent of a pageant sash — were less contemporary, though.

Alexander Wang

Alexander Wang hardly seems a frustrated artist, but he certainly showed an interest in other mediums — painters’ coveralls and doodlers’ prints fit nicely onto the mostly white pieces that covered the runway like a dropcloth.

The loose silhouettes and mixed textures hit the easy, more relaxed vibe that’s taken hold at the first major fashion previews for next season. The flashes of color here were straight out of a sherbet container — a little mint, a little lemon and a hint of strawberry in the print. Copper patches gave some edge to some looks that were otherwise all white.

Wang, named earlier this year as the top womenswear designer by the Council of Fashion Designers of America, is moving his downtown customer into more tweaked classics, instead of going for the shock factor.

Not that a wrap-style robe coat in that scribble print is an everyday item, nor a parachute shirt with cut out shoulders, but elements of each piece were relatable, perhaps opening up the brand to more than his usual model-heavy crowd.

Seasoned catwalkers Agyness Deyn, Karolina Kurkova and Omahyra Mota, all of whom make few runway appearances, did turn out for Wang with their hair styled in what looked liked dried Wite-Out.

 

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