Minis and mousselines at New York Fashion Week

NEW YORK, Sept 11, 2009 (AFP) -Skin-hugging mini-dresses and mousselines in all colours of the rainbow kicked off New York's spring-summer Fashion Week on Thursday 10 September as designers went for optimism to shrug off the economic crisis.

Bcbgmaxazria, New York spring -summer 2010 - Photo: PixelFormula

Though the most-awaited shows take place only on Saturday 12 September, the usual crowd of customers, press, buyers and sponsors were on hand hours early in the tents set up in Bryant Park in midtown Manhattan.

Opening the shows was New York's own Michael Angel, who sent out a collection of waistlined mini-dresses with no sleeves, but with epaulettes.

France's New-York based BCBG Max Azria brand followed with a line of also tiny close-fitting dresses cut in a patchwork of fabrics, multicoloured in part, plain in others.

Colour was taste of the day, and in a poll released in the influential Women's Wear Daily newspaper, designers picked their five favourite colours as violet, yellow, turquoise, coral and red.

Bottom of the barrel were beige, olive green and petrol blue.

The mood for a happy fashion style emerged also in the collections shown by young generation designers Mara Hoffman, Nicholas K and Whitney Eve.

Nicholas K's sunny pleated dresses in rainbow colours came with either light hooded jackets or pale sleeveless riding-jackets thrown over for warmth. For men he offered linen jackets, chequered in grey, orange and beige.

Very young Whitney Eve went for slinky lame sheath-dresses worn under short jackets with beefy shoulder-pads. Beachwear included a sleeveless shirt over a satin short in bright green, orange or violet.

With men winning increasing attention, two upcoming star designers Philip Lim and Alexander Wang plan separate menswear shows during the New York event.

Nocturnal fashionista meanwhile were offered a Fashion's Night Out fete by Mayor Michael Bloomberg and celebrities, including the head of the designers' association Diane von Furstenberg, with hundreds of stores remaining open until the wee hours in the hopes of encouraging a New York shopping spree.

The fashion industry provides work for 175,000 New Yorkers with a yearly turnover estimated at 10 billion dollars in direct and indirect revenue, according to the industry.

A black-and-white T-shirt with a stylised urban scene was being offered at 30 dollars, with 40 percent of the takings due to go to a fund for the September 11 Memorial where the World Trade Center stood.

Among the dozens of designers due on the catwalks until September 17 are Ralph Lauren, Donna Karan, Catherine Malandrino, Marc Jacobs, Georges Chakra, Narciso Rodriguez and Calvin Klein.

New York's Fashion Week is the first of the world's four leading fashion events of the season before the shows in Milan, London and Paola Messana

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