Amid High Winds and Protesters, Fashion Week Rolls Prettily On

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The New York Sun

The weekend’s tropical storm made for a soggy beginning of Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week, but the real frisson came from an A-list celebrity and aggressive protesters. On Sunday morning at DKNY, anti-fur protesters holding signs crashed the show and jumped in front of cameras — after which they were hustled out by security guards. Outside the tents, a group of zaftig women challenged the fashion industry’s fixation on thin bodies. Chanting, “Curves on the catwalk,” they held aloft signs bearing slogans such as “Hire Me! I Can Walk!” But what threatened to derail security inside the tents on Saturday morning was the presence of Lindsay Lohan at the Charlotte Ronson show; photographers went into fits and the excessive crowd edged toward mayhem.

But no matter the schisms, a ladylike mood prevailed at Tracy Reese, where the notion that the floral trend will fade was summarily rejected. The designer gathered an arrangement of oleander roses, azaleas, falling leaves, and other blooms to create a collection of chic, modern pieces. Peplum skirts and strapless dresses were in strong supply and were presented in an inventive spring palette of ginger, nectarine, magenta, and rust. A frock with a flowered print appliqué and sturdy pleats that ended in a yellow border was perfect for a garden party. Loose pants that tapered at the lower leg — referred to in the show notes as Lantern pants — were beautifully paired with frilled-sleeve tops and shells.

Charlotte Ronson’s debut at the tents rivaled a rock concert as a flock of baby-faced fashion enthusiasts lined up to see her spring 2009 collection. Ms. Ronson’s brother, the popular DJ Mark Ronson, spun head-bopping tracks from the music booth and kept the mood festive. As the Bangles’ classic cover of “Hazy Shade of Winter” thumped from the speakers, the lyrics — “It’s the springtime of my life” — seemed appropriate for the 31-year-old Ms. Ronson, who started out designing and selling her Tooshies underwear line.

Season after season, Ms. Ronson’s line maintains a certain innocence. This was particularly evident as the designer sent models — among them her younger sister, Annabelle Dexter-Jones — down the runway in slouchy sweater dresses in blush tones; slightly flared dresses in the same hue were layered over lace bralettes. Tried-and-true prints, such as gingham and leopard, were recast in black-and-white; tie blouses and boyfriend blazers gave the collection edge and flirt, as did denim miniskirts and knit-corset dresses. Towering patent platforms and black knee fishnet knee-highs finished off the looks.

Catherine Holstein solidified her “It” girl status with her first runway show, also on Saturday, at the Bumble and Bumble salon in the meatpacking district. For the spring collection, models emerged swathed in heavy-knit turbans of black, oatmeal, and mustard. Shirts and trousers were form-fitting but did not cling, and were designed in materials that looked comfortable. Pleated orange shorts and brown linen high-waist pants were modeled with wide leather belts. Skirts in watery-blue shades had swing and were especially appealing when paired with loose striped tanks, lace camisoles, and warm-toned long-sleeved sweaters. A floral-print jumpsuit and another in a military style that was embellished with the designer’s recurring tile motif were must-haves. The floor-grazing tiered skirts? Not so much.

The New York Sun

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