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NY Fashion Week: designers seek to soothe troubled times

NEW YORK, US - Tory Burch led efforts on day two of New York Fashion Week on Friday to head off troubled times by offering an upbeat collection of bold color and geometric print. The US doyenne of preppy chic confected an English garden in the grounds of the Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum on Manhattan's Upper East Side, a bucolic backdrop for a fresh and buoyant collection.

Image credit: WGSN Insider
With British-American actress Emily Blunt as guest of honor, the 2018 spring/summer clothes situated Burch's signature uptown luxe in the insouciant atmosphere of a garden party or weekend away. "We need that," the designer and former Hillary Clinton donor said after the show, admitting herself to be inwardly "not upbeat".

"I have to compartmentalize because I care deeply about what's happening in our country but I also need to find joy in the way we live our life," Burch added. "Certainly I feel our collection is about joy and happiness. Not disregarding the sadness of what's happening around, but how do we all come together not be divisive."

Not only has the New York design firmament been up in arms over Donald Trump, but fashion week comes as millions of Americans prepared to evacuate Florida to escape the barrelling onslaught of Hurricane Irma. Burch's inspiration came from late English interior designer David Hicks, who made carpets for Windsor Castle and once decorated for the Prince of Wales at Buckingham Palace, before working in New York.

Here is a look at some of the other designers who exhibited Friday:

Continuing the theme of trouble and division, young designer Matthew Adams Dolan - best known for dressing Barbadian superstar Rihanna - said his collection meditated "on what it has meant to be American in the past and what it will mean to be American in the future".

He blended elements of both a picturesque United States and what he called "something more sinister" beneath the polished veneer, with nods, among others to the movies "American Psycho" and "Cruel Intentions". In times of "relentless civil unrest and widening political divides," his programme notes told the audience he wanted to "reimagine a modern American working wardrobe for an inclusive and celebratory generation".

Indian-born Bibhu Mohapatra, who has dressed Michelle Obama, delivered spring/summer with a Japanese-twist, wowing his loyal admirers with stunning tops and skirts named after classical Kabuki theater. Making plentiful use of stripes, embroidery and beautiful tailoring, he showcased modest looks that clothed models neck to toe, a hint of sexiness in long, partially see-through lace sleeves.

For evening, it was all glamor with a sensational silk Mikado dress with origami petal sleeves, opening from the bust like a flower. He summed up his woman as "an intrepid spirit that craved for cultural knowledge and courageous adventure that transcended continents."

Deborah Lloyd, president and chief creative officer of Kate Spade summed its look as a "little bit more unbuttoned, a little easier" at a presentation at the landmark Oyster Bar at Grand Central Terminal. It came just four months after handbag maker Coach announced it had reached a deal to buy Kate Spade for $2.4 billion as it seeks to move into the label's popularity among the millennial market.

New Orleans was the theme with romantic and airy clothes, liberal use of florals and pastels combined with smart and sober jeans, university-style jackets.

Top-flight US talent such as Altuzarra, Rodarte and Proenza Schouler may have fled to Europe, but New York is still the dream for at least one up-and-coming Italian designer. GCDS - aka "God Can't Destroy Streetwear" - unveiled a fun, flirty fantasy inspired by Truman Capote's novel "The Swans of Fifth Avenue" in making his New York runway debut.

Giuliano Calza, 28, founded the luxury, made-in-Italy brand only two years ago in his garage but has already found famous fans such as Kendall Jenner and Hailey Baldwin. "Milan is fun, it's my town... but still New York is the dream," Calza said before a show that showcased low-slung sweat pants, plenty of under-boob, high-waisted knickers and sophisticated cropped knits.

Source: AFP
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