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Fashion week thinks big: Kors soars, Oscar's blingfest & Marc Jacobs' fractured fairy tale

Fashion week thinks big: Kors soars, Oscar's blingfest & Marc Jacobs' fractured fairy tale

NEW YORK — As Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week drew to a close, the shows seemed a little bit like Texas: Everything was bigger. Heavyweights Oscar de la Renta, Michael Kors and Marc Jacobs each unveiled larger-than-life fall collections with eye-catching themes that illustrate the breath and depth of American fashion.

Oscar's big bling

Even when times are tough, Oscar de la Renta rarely cuts back on the glamour quotient. So with hints that the economy is slowly coming out of a recession, it figured that the beloved designer wouldn't alter his style.

De la Renta stuck to his guns with a fall collection that glittered and glowed. At least half of the looks incorporate a "Bijoux pendant" pattern that resembles a dangling diamond-and-pearl earring. It is stamped on the fabric of parkas, silk dresses and blouses and dangles as shiny 3-D jewels from cardigans, dresses and pants.

 No de la Renta show would be complete without lavish evening gowns. The selection offers something for everyone, from a simple crushed velvet column gown to full-on princess gowns with big taffeta skirts.  

While other designers have featured black for fall, much of de la Renta's collection is soft pink or baby blue, which no doubt will appeal to his younger fans.

But longtime adherents shouldn't fret too much, for there is an assortment of suits — tweed for daytime wear and jewel-embroidered for night. For those who want to avoid bling altogether, an icy blue silk dress with a jewel neckline, is toned down by Oscar standards.

No de la Renta show would be complete without lavish evening gowns. The selection offers something for everyone, from a simple crushed velvet column gown to full-on princess gowns with big taffeta skirts. 

Model-of-the-moment Arizona Muse (that's really her name) closed the show in a big ball gown with a skirt that rose above the knee in front. It revealed a big hole in her fishnet stocking, and I'm not sure if it just happened or it was de la Renta's sly way of saying everything doesn't have to always be perfect.

Michael's big week

It's been a good week for Michael Kors. After his fashion house announced strong profits for the last quarter of 2011, the stock price soared nearly 28 percent. (Since going public in December, shares of Kors stock have doubled).

The next day, Kors showcased his fall collection before a front-row audience that included Smash stars Debra Messing and Angelica Huston, Jessica Alba, Amber Heard and Katie Couric. It was filled with the lush — and very wearable — sportswear that the world expects from Kors.

Much of this collection seemed made for a cabin in the snowy woods of an upscale resort like Aspen or Park City. There were lots of big red checks and tartan plaids — two models led off the show, a woman in a buffalo check blanket coat and crimson and black tweed pullover and a man in a red tartan coat and similar sweater.

From there, it was parade of coats — big and flashy (an alpaca fringe sweater coat swallowed one model) and more sedate (a simple leather trench), eyecatching dresses (some mixing leather and lace) and lots of furs. The show closed with s sparkle, as a series of slinky, sequined gowns ready for the red carpet ruled the runway.

Was it my imagination or was there an extra bounce in Kors' step as he made his post-show walk? With a strong collection like this, he'll likely will be laughing all the way to the bank.

Marc's big fairy tale

It's too bad that Marc Jacobs doesn't show his collection multiple times, like a Broadway show, because one time isn't enough to take everything in. His most recent collection had all the makings of a Broadway hit, with an elaborate set designed by Rachel Feinstein that resembled a pop-up fairy tale, completed with a castle and winding runway, multiple rendentions of the song, "Who Will Buy?" from the classic musical Oliver!, and elaborate costumes, er, clothes.

And after only 13-and-a-half minutes, it was over.

As the video of the runway show above shows, models were swathed in layers of clothes, their faces obscured by big Dr. Seuss-like hats, so it was hard to tell what they were wearing or how old they are. (Jacobs was heavily criticized for featuring a couple of 14-year-old models in the show; the Council of Fashion Designers of America guidelines set a limit of age 16.)

While there were some interesting pieces, including Pilgrim booties with big belt buckles, embellished coats, shiny dresses of metallic fabrics, paisley skirts and colorful jackets, one might be tempted to echo the song and wonder, "Who Will Buy?" the pieces, assuming they are manufactured. The mid-calf, billowy silhouette has a thrift store look that is not mass market.

But that's not what Jacobs is about anyway. He's a dreamer who always gives the fashion crowd plenty to ponder. And, this time, he did it again.

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Model Arizona Muse closed the de la Renta show in a silver and rose tulle draped gown Photo by © Dan and Corina Lecca
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Oscar de la Renta crepe de chine blouse, wool silk twill skinny pants and fox vest. Photo by © Dan and Corina Lecca
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Oscar de la Renta black tulle covered jewel and paillette embroidered dress and jacket Photo by © Dan and Corina Lecca
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Michael Kors led off his show with a buffalo check blanket coat, tartan overcoat and crimson/black tweed cashmere sweaters. Courtesy of Michael Kors
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Michael Kors plaid mohair coat, handknit pullover and stretch flannel trouser. Courtesy of Michael Kors
News_Oscar de la Renta_fall collection_Feb 2012
News_Fashion Week_Fall 2012_Oscar de la Renta_pink vest_pink pants
News_Fashion Week_Fall 2012_Oscar de la Renta_black dress suit
News_Fashion Week_Fall 2012_Michael Kors_plaid for men, women
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