Textures, pops of color highlights of New York Fashion Week

NEW YORK -- With nearly a foot of snow on the ground in the Big Apple, next fall and winter were probably the last things many New Yorkers wanted to think about.

But those seasons were in the spotlight as designers from across the globe gathered last week to preview their collections for fall/winter 2014 at venues throughout the city during New York Fashion Week.

The eight days of runway shows and presentations attracted industry elite and media as well as celebrity-studded crowds that included fashion followers Dakota Fanning, Nigel Barker, J. Alexander, blogger Bryanboy, Giuliana Rancic and Joan Rivers along with some surprising fans including Colin Farrell, Jon Bon Jovi, Tracy Morgan, Michael Douglas, Joe Jonas and cast members from "Orange Is the New Black." Then there were the unwelcome guests, such as a male streaker who darted onto the runway during the Prabal Gurung show wearing a plastic gold crown, thong, trench coat and red-and-white striped socks with black loafers.

New York Fashion Week: Right off the Runway

The PG's style editor Sara Bauknecht shows us what it was like to experience runway shows in New York City during Fashion Week. (Video by Sara Bauknecht; 2/17/2014)

Sara Bauknecht talks about Fashion Week on KDKA

Post-Gazette style editor Sara Bauknecht talks about Fashion Week in New York City with KDKA's Kristine Sorensen. (KDKA video; 2/18/2014)

Fashion wasn't all that was on the agenda; a couple of top designers marked milestones. Diane von Furstenberg celebrated 40 years of her signature wrap dress with a confetti-filled fashion foray at Spring Studios in the West Village (that, of course, featured plenty of fresh looks for the dress of the hour). And Donna Karan commemorated three decades of giving women the building blocks of sophisticated style through her designs.

While the tents at Lincoln Center still served as the hub of activity for most events under the Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week umbrella, its importance felt watered down this season as several big-name designers (Michael Kors, Vera Wang, Jenny Packham and Tracy Reese, to name a few) opted to show their collections elsewhere. As a result, pockets of activity popped up across Manhattan -- and beyond. Alexander Wang held his runway show in Brooklyn, a trek that required guests to sit in traffic for an hour or take a water taxi across the East River to reach a venue that many claimed didn't live up to the hype.

But many of the week's fashions didn't disappoint. Here's a sampling of some of the trends to look forward to later in the year:

Fall colors
Pantone's top colors for women for fall 2014:
Aurora red
Mauve mist
Radiant orchid
Bright cobalt
Royal blue
Misted yellow

Chunky and textured: Cozy luxe clothes will make keeping warm and on trend effortless next fall and winter. Sweater dresses, turtle necks and oversized cowl neck sweaters were some interpretations of casual chic. Sweaters with cable knit, popcorn and other textures added visual interest to this cold-weather wardrobe staple.

Darks, neutrals dominate with pops of pastels: Designers largely pulled from a palette of camels, creams and beiges as well as darker shades of navy, maroon, gray and black. Autumnal colors such as pumpkin and forest green that have been prominent in fall and winter fashion in the past were not as noticeable. Winter pastels (lavender, blush, mauve, icy blue and winter white) nicely contrasted with the more severe colors. Iterations of red also cropped up in some collections.

Plaid on parade: A few collections channeled the spirit of the American outdoorsman (or woman) with takes on tartan prints for outerwear, apparel and even blanket-style dresses. Overall, designers toned down the whimsy of patterns and returned to timeless ones, including plaid, stripes, houndstooth and soft florals.

Ponchos and capes: Capes of all lengths, colors and patterns completed looks as alternatives to coats. Some designers fully enveloped the bodice in ponchos made of luxurious fabrics like cashmere.

Topped with fur: Furs, real and faux, appeared in moderation. While there was the occasional full fur look, mostly it trimmed the sleeves or hem of a coat or cape or topped an outfit as a Russian-style hat or glamorous cowl neck collar. Colors varied from the more natural chocolates, creams and grays to more creative colorings, including rich royal blues and burgundies, that coordinated with the clothes the furs were paired with.

All that glitters: Sparkle has ebbed and flowed over the years, with a dose of glitz in beading and embellishments outshining all-over glint in recent seasons. But now it appears fashion is headed toward a head-to-toe glitter revival. Pants drenched in solid sequins, a silver sequin skirt with matching blazer and a dress of entirely purple and navy sequins that looked like scales were some of the sparkling styles spotted on the runway.

Girl meets tomboy: Some women's wear for fall/winter 2014 will come with a tough-girl attitude. Boxier relaxed fits, sporty silhouettes, utilitarian accessories, high tops and masculine styling (minimal makeup, neutral nail polishes, slicked-back hair, etc.) brought the masculine-feminine yin and yang to life.

Slung with a scarf or belt: Designers gave shape to coats and dresses by belting them, either tightly for a put-together look or letting a belt hang loose for an incidentally fashionable feel. Amping up the comfy chic aesthetic that permeated many collections were scarves of all sorts, from thick oversized kinds that draped the body to short pull-through ones.

Sexy sheers: Sheer paneling on formal wear continues to add sensuality to gowns without showing too much skin. Sleeves, deep-V necks, the midsection and across the back were some of the places designers played peek-a-boo with sheers.

Bring the drama: Designers experimented with volume for evening wear and red carpet-worthy gowns, resulting in jaw-dropping dresses with full-skirted bottoms that made models appear to be gliding on air.

Sara Bauknecht: sbauknecht@post-gazette.com or on Twitter and Instagram @SaraB_PG.

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