NEW YORK — The message after eight days of fall previews at New York Fashion Week is that the consumer has choices. There isn't a must-have look or a white-hot label that everyone is talking about.
One editor wants tuxedo pants from Proenza Schouler, another the luxe embroidered coats from Oscar de la Renta. A stylist has her eye on the bias dresses at Sophie Theallet, and Michael Kors has something for everyone.
"A lot of lines have their own identity and personality this season, which is good for consumers," said Adam Glassman, creative director for O, The Oprah Magazine.
Options to consider? Rachel Roy's denim trenches, Marc Jacobs' pencil skirts and the wearable luxury offered by Donna Karan, he said.
Amanda Brooks, fashion director for Barneys New York, puts a parka coat at the top of her shopping list. "So far, for me, it's been about sporty outerwear, done in a more luxurious way. It's about fur and details — a parka with a more sophisticated shape."
Burgundy was big on almost every runway, along with autumnal navy, rust and camel — all good colors for women of different ages and skin tones. Glassman warns, though, that cobalt blue can be tricky.
Fringe is back but with fresh takes from Diane Von Furstenberg in suede and Doo.ri in knit.
If keeping warm remains your priority, the item of the season is a parka — definitely about fur, quilting and cutaways for fall.
What's going on under the parka is much more about separates. Even Rodarte took them on in a way that benefits shoppers looking to reuse them in new ways.
New York Fashion Week ended Thursday and will be followed by previews in London, Paris and Milan, Italy.
Gwen Stefani covered all her bases in the finale show, offering shrunken pantsuits for work, swingy minis for play, tunics and leather leggings for mom duty (remember she's a rock star), coats for travel and gowns for the red carpet.
The one thing missing from her new collection were the very casual clothes that she previously put on the runway. They weren't missed because they aren't the clothes her fans expect to see her wearing — and that's really where her fashion credibility lies.
Stefani still had a few too many gimmicks, but that seems to be her crutch.
"I don't think people are just rooting for Gwen," said celebrity stylist Jay Manuel. "Her style is so spot on, people want to see her mix of rocker and fashion."
Stefani divided the outfits into six categories. "It's one collection, but like subcategories, which are always my inspiration," she said in an interview Wednesday. "We have Ragga girl, we got a soldier girl, we got an English girl, we got a glamour girl, we got a buffalo girl."
When there is such emphasis on tailoring and texture, even the slightest tweak in silhouette matters, and that's how Calvin Klein creative director Francisco Costa evolves his collections from season to season.
For fall, he's made his favorite shape a little looser — sometimes boxier — with sloped shoulders and a curved collar based on a baseball jacket.
Costa explained in the show's notes that he was aiming for "youthful exuberance with a sporty vibe and a fast pace."
An interesting twist on the sheath dress was a garment that looked like a dress from the back, giving women the ease they crave, but a slit just below the hip on the front created the illusion of flattering separates.
Designers Lazaro Hernandez and Jack McCollough used a pulsating makeshift runway in a warehouse to debut a line as homespun as it was urban.
There were masterful macrame skirts and dresses pieced together with exposed stitching, inspired by the American Southwest.
Coats were exquisite. Long dresses with colorful panne-velvet tops and black bottoms work for day, night — and, for a front-row guest like Liv Tyler — the red carpet.
"At the end of the show, what I was thinking about was that they always redefine for me what's right for evening. I was about to go to a dinner and I'm thinking what I'm wearing is all wrong," said Vogue senior market director Meredith Melling Burke. "All I wanted to be wearing was a Navajo pant and tuxedo jacket."
Lauren visited the fineries of Asian fashion in bright-dragon embroideries, silks and satins, and the perfect fit of a slim silhouette.
This wasn't a journey to bustling, contemporary China. It was regal and elegant with slinky velvet gowns and colorful jackets.
"I have always loved the glamour and sophistication of the 1930's and its Art Deco and Chinoiserie influences. I see it as relevant and modern now," Lauren said after the show.
There were many red-carpet evening gowns, which is not always his norm. A black-velvet column gown with a beaded jade-and-silver halter neckline, and the finale look, silver high-neck halter gown paired with a silver beaded hood, were among the most special.