(AP Photo/Dan & Corina Lecca)
NEW YORK - The stars descended on New York Fashion Week on Sunday, with Olympian Dara Torres hitting the catwalk, Justin Timberlake putting on a runway show and the likes of Jennifer Lopez and Uma Thurman lining the front rows.
The high wattage came on a day of birthday parties for DKNY and Calvin Klein, which was celebrating 40 years in business with a star-studded party Sunday night, competing with Timberlake's presentation of his William Rast collection.
Torres strutted the runway holding her 2-year-old daughter Tessa at the Charles Nolan show, wearing an indigo and white-striped silk jersey tank with navy swim shorts.
Backstage, she confessed that she worried about stumbling on the runway like Carrie Bradshaw did in "Sex and the City." But the 41-year-old silver medalist kept up with the 20-somethings: "There was a girl (modeling) who said that she was really nervous and I said, `Swimming in the Olympics is much more nerve-wracking!'"
Lopez, Thurman, Eva Longoria and Venus Williams were at Diane von Furstenberg's spring preview along with Anderson Cooper and Lorraine Bracco, while Winona Ryder and Christina Ricci were both in the front row for Donna Karan's 20th anniversary collection.
On Saturday, Lindsay Lohan started a minor frenzy with her appearance with gal pal Samantha Ronson at sister Charlotte Ronson's show. New York Fashion Week runs through Sept. 12, with more than 100 shows over eight days.
Donna Karan's DKNY was born in the 1980s and the designer is darn proud of it. Her 20th anniversary collection for spring was all about highlighter colors, minis and jumpsuits for the next generation.
Karan rarely makes an appearance at the Bryant Park tents, but this was a celebration and the brand needed the bigger space to accommodate more guests.
DKNY's heart is driven by the beat of New York and the runway show at Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week began with a homemade video of streetscapes. Looking at quick flashes of traffic lights, neon signs and lots of taxicabs against the context of the clothes, the anorak dresses, parachute flight suits and even rompers seemed to make sense.
There was no fur, though, so animal-rights protesters picked the wrong show to target when they briefly interrupted the finale.
DIANE VON FURSTENBERG
All the people, paparazzi and security buzzing around Diane von Furstenberg's fashion show made the Bryant Park tents feel like a sold-out concert.
As with several other collections previewed so far at New York Fashion Week, von Furstenberg cited rock music as an inspiration, but her look was much more Stevie Nicks than Sid Vicious. Each model, for example, had flowing, loose hair decorated with flowers and feathers.
Still, it was another example of favorite styles from the 1970s and '80s returning to the runway. There were easy mini-length kaftans and a loose white cotton-lace dress for down time, and a gold harem-pant jumpsuit and a sequined kimono coat to wear on the town. Von Furstenberg also showed a crisp, white, three-piece suit dubbed the Bianca, a likely reference to Bianca Jagger who was a fixture, like von Furstenberg, on the Studio 54 party scene.
Von Furstenberg offered few of the wrap-style dresses that have made her such a success, but she did show a novel tiered wrap dress in a puckered black plisse fabric.
Two years into the revival of the Herve Leger label, Max and Lubov Azria stretched its sexy bandage look further for the spring collection, adding leather and sparkle to the catwalk at New York Fashion Week on Sunday.
A skintight dress with a banding construction is the signature of Leger, and the Azrias didn't stray too far, but new materials allowed the look to move on from something that could become passe if it never evolves.
There was a pale gray-neon coral leather sheath and a nude-colored beaded minidress, which added to the Fashion Week trend of one-shoulder tops, that seemed particularly modern. A metallic corset-style bandage minidress tapped into another emerging must-have look.
The finale of the show was a parade of swimsuits that had so many cutouts, it was hard to tell if they were bikinis or one-pieces. One way or another, they're skimpy.
Alexander Wang is a cool, young designer and he creates cool, young fashion. His spring collection, presented at New York Fashion Week on Saturday in a vast industrial space, isn't for everyone, but his fans will love the update given to the 1980s mantra of excess.
The outfits combined the edginess of the decade's early counter culture — with tailored jackets minus sleeves, leather fringe tops and mesh bodysuits — and the flash that came a few years later. (Yes, those were crystal-crusted sweats on the runway.)
There also were plenty of exposed zippers and asymmetrical draping, both emerging as trends here, and denim, which has been largely absent from high fashion in recent years.
Wang must have been pleased: Instead of taking the bow at the end that so many other designers do, he came out jumping and with his fists pumping in the air.
For designer Ashleigh Verrier, her spring collection was a fairy tale come true.
The colorful-yet-elegant cocktail dresses were a realization of Verrier's longtime interest in movies such as "Alice in Wonderland" and the "Wizard of Oz." She wondered, she explained during a backstage interview, what those heroines would look like in a modern setting.
Imagine Alice in a fuchsia taffeta and organza ruffled cocktail dress, while Dorothy would look all grown up in a midnight-blue, pleated goddess dress with a lace insert. Perhaps a chic gray vinyl raincoat with Peter Pan collar would be more for Wendy. That coat topped a lovely gray crinkle chiffon blouse with a bow at the neck and a pouffy indigo-blue skirt with touches of metallic lace.
Sometimes, though, Verrier got a little too kitschy. The Lucifer tank top with crystal kitty embellishment wasn't as sophisticated as most of the other looks.
Adam Lippes offered lovely low-key knits, crocheted pieces and chic jersey looks in his spring collection, but surely the dress that everyone in the audience was buzzing about was an embroidered sheath dress in candy hues of blue, yellow and pink.
Think jellybean explosion on Easter morning.
Lippes opted to show in a dramatic seminary building in the Chelsea neighborhood, and in his notes to the stylists, editors and retailers in audience, Lippes said he was inspired by an exhibit at the Museum of Modern Art that focused on the color chart and mid-20th century art.
Lippes employed bold and happy color on a shocking pink georgette romper and a cerulean-blue chiffon dress with a braided back. He closed the show with a sophisticated orange silk dress that was long and lean, but the white T-shirt and cotton running shorts underneath it were puzzling at best.
Associated Press writer Erin Carlson contributed to this report.