WhoWHATWhereWhy: Live from New York -- it's Fashion Week

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NEW YORK -- The glitz. The glamour. The gabardine. New York Fashion Week has arrived!

The biannual event sashayed into the city last Thursday, bringing with it a robust roster of runway shows and presentations packed with previews of what styles to expect in stores next spring and summer.

A staple of early September in Manhattan, Fashion Week began even earlier this year, the result of an agreement between the Council of Fashion Designers of America and Milan Fashion Week organizers to prevent an overlap between the two global fashion capitals' gatherings. It continues through Thursday.

Despite the date change, one of the biggest weeks on New York's fashion calendar once again coincides with one of the darkest days in the city's history, the anniversary of the terrorist attacks of 9/11. While some designers with shows today may hold a moment of silence or play a special song in honor of victims and their families, it is unlikely Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week or the CFDA will organize an official service given their track record of not making a spectacle out of saluting the fallen.

Events organized under the umbrella of Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week are once again being housed in mammoth white tents at Lincoln Center. Other Fashion Week festivities are taking place at piers along the West Side Highway, Lincoln Center's Avery Fisher Hall, Milk Studios in the Meatpacking District and suites in hotels such as the St. Regis and The Empire.

There is also a handful of ways the public can participate this year. Small and theater-sized screens streaming runway shows have been mounted outside the tents so passers-by in Lincoln Center's plaza can see without a V.I.P. pass. American Express, a sponsor of Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week, has once again invited card members to purchase tickets to view select shows from its Skybox, a lounge perched above the runway that offers a bird's-eye view. For those away from the Big Apple, many shows can be screened online at www.YouTube.com/liverunway.

So far, all has unfolded smoothly, sans threats of tornadoes that targeted the city Saturday night. Although there were reports of funnel clouds touching down in Brooklyn and Queens, the sound of heavy rain pitter-pattering against the tents was all that materialized on the Upper West Side.

Less time storm tracking has meant more time for star gazing. As usual, a range of personalities from reality TV stars to renowned designers and actors have been spotted. Sisters Paris and Nicky Hilton have frequented the tents, while the Twitter-sphere buzzed Sunday about Martha Stewart and Paula Abdul doing some show hopping. Singer/actress Mandy Moore and designer Lauren Conrad (remember MTV's "The Hills"?) sat front row at Lela Rose. Diane von Furstenberg was once again a celeb magnet, attracting Sarah Jessica Parker, Oscar de la Renta, Valentino and Sergey Brin of Google, who came out to watch models sport the techy headwear with built-in camera and monitor the company is developing.

Also garnering attention are some of this year's New York Fashion Week newbies. Kara Laricks, winner of NBC's "Fashion Star," made her debut at Pier 57 along the Hudson River with a presentation that contrasted rich tangerines and touches of yellows and cyan blues with darker, more intense tones. Katie Holmes' Holmes & Yang line, which she founded with her stylist Jeanne Yang, also is slated to have its first presentation at the tents this week.

Dozens of designers have yet to show their work, but trend forecasts for next spring and summer already have started to take shape. Look for bright colors, streamlined but slouchy silhouettes and lots of fun patterns.


Sara Bauknecht: sbauknecht@post-gazette.com. First Published September 11, 2012 4:00 AM


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