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For women, a mash-up of classics, menswear

Marc Jacobs, Alexander Wang, DKNY and Diane von Furstenberg show their fall collections.

February 16, 2010|By BOOTH MOORE | Fashion Critic
  • MARC JACOBS: The gown adds a little sparkle to an evening out.
MARC JACOBS: The gown adds a little sparkle to an evening out. (Jonas Gustavsson & Peter…)

From New York — Marc Jacobs embraced his role as fashion's dream maker, the Wizard of Oz at New York Fashion Week, showing a fall collection Monday with just about everything a woman would ever want to wear, be it a fairy-tale glitter-flecked clear vinyl raincoat or a glorious draped gown in a daisy-patterned taffeta, a superbly cut double-breasted pantsuit or a knife-pleated maxi skirt, all in soothing pales.

There were references to every decade from the 1920s though the 1970s. "I had this feeling, as I think we all do, that I wanted to see something that wasn't trying so hard to be new," Jacobs said.

Models were cast alongside "real" women to capture a kind of realistic imperfection, and Jacobs chose "Over the Rainbow" for his soundtrack because the song has "a promise of something deeper than all this," he said. "And that's what quality, luxury and happiness is all about."

If Jacobs' show was an ode to the classics, several others in the weeklong event that began Thursday have been about classics remixed, with menswear and motocross details emerging as fall trends.

Alexander Wang, the cool kid in New York fashion right now, let loose his tough 'n' trashy aesthetic on the men's suit, retooled for women.

Although we've seen this exercise in deconstruction many times before (Jean Paul Gaultier, Junya Watanabe), Wang gave it his own pseudo-Goth night-crawler spin with the addition of velvet thigh-highs and lace-trimmed swallow-hemmed dresses.

There was more than a hint of skin when he hacked the waistband from of a pair of pinstriped pants and left in its place a leather belt sitting seductively on a bare navel and removed the front of a morning jacket to leave a bandeau.

Wang is one of several designers making a case for velvet redux this fall, with a pearl-studded pinstriped velvet waistcoat and slinky draped velvet mini-dresses trailing chiffon scarves.

There was even a touch of the long-lost knit of a million '90s-era oversize Express sweaters, with a chenille bandeau layered under a cropped, chalk-stripe jacket.

The DKNY collection was a menswear mash-up of a more innocent variety, with schoolgirl pleated skirts in mixed plaids and checks, and oversized Angora wool boyfriend coats.

Bands of electric blue sequins livened up geometric-patterned sweaters and scarves. For evening, short dresses shone with beads and sequins.

Diane von Furstenberg may have had the best inspiration line ever in her show notes: "I always wanted to live a man's life in a woman's body." What did it mean? A study in contrasts, masculine meets feminine, hard against soft -- a chiffon rosette-embroidered bolero worn over a double-breasted heather-gray pantsuit, a black-felted wool blazer over a pleated schoolgirl glitter-Jacquard skirt, and a bronze-sequin jacket over a red-print chiffon dress.

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