NEW YORK (AP) _ New York Fashion Week saved the best for last, with Ralph Lauren, Calvin Klein and Zac Posen sending out showstopping designs for fall.

Lauren led a Friday lineup that also included Donna Karan and Karl Lagerfeld; Zac Posen and Calvin Klein debuted some stunning attention-grabbing looks Thursday night. Also on the schedule were Sweetface by Jennifer Lopez and a fall preview by Matthew Williamson.


FRIDAY, Feb. 10

Ralph Lauren: Lauren created a complete wardrobe, pieces for every day of the week and just about every occasion, for the elegant woman who wants to look stylish, but wants to do it subtly. She dresses to impress herself, not anyone who keeps a tally of trends or trendy labels.

Hmmm. Could this woman be Halle Berry? The actress graced Lauren's front row Friday morning in a crisp gray pinstripe suit; her hair tied loosely in a ponytail.

After the parade of leggings paired with cozy sweaters, trim suits and metallic evening skirts, Berry gushed that she ``loved the cashmere pieces.''


Donna Karan: With this season's emphasis on the working woman, it's no surprise that Karan _ one of the first designers to court this customer _ delivered daytime styles that balanced chicness and ease.

Karan revived the bodysuit that made her famous, added silver embellishments to it, and put it under both a sophisticated molded gray coat with a V-neck and a more fashion-forward tiger print coat.

Sheer panels along the hem of a black skirtsuit added a hint of sexiness, and sheer fabrics on the back or sleeves of otherwise simple dresses and tops had the same effect.

The gowns were interesting because of their rolled waistbands and ``illusion'' panels, but the fabrics were mostly felt or wool, making them too casual for the red carpet or charity ball circuits.


Sweetface: Jennifer Lopez told her audience that her fall collection hit the next level in design, fit and fabrication. She was right.

Instead of the glorified teen clothes she showed a year ago on a big glittery catwalk, Lopez offered chunky knit sweaters, skinny pants and a modern shirtdress that were in line with the trends seen this week.

A winter-white sweatercoat with navy trim and a navy tie around the waist was adorable, and a black lace bubble dress with a magenta hem was perfect for J.Lo's core fans.

Presumably, the slate blue lace dress the singer-actress wore at her preview was from Sweetface _ and the huge diamond cuff bracelet was not.


Matthew Williamson: Finally, some color on the runways! Williamson filled his catwalk with red, purple and blue. One of the best looks was a flame red gown with a candy-colored beaded belt.

Williamson's muse could have been a swank '70s housewife, someone who would wear a floor-length skirt and a bright patterned blouse to host a dinner party. But the overall look was modern.

A red shirtdress had a pleated hem to infuse a little lightheartedness, and a printed satin skirt with two bouncy tiers at the bottom peeked out from a tan peacoat.



Zac Posen: Posen, now a Fashion Week veteran after four years on the catwalks, exhibits more confidence each time out. It's most noticeable at the end of the shows when he takes his bow. Instead of a quick wave, Posen now soaks in the applause from the audience, which is always one of the most star-studded crowds. (Uma Thurman, LeAnn Rimes and old pal Claire Danes were in the front row this season.)

Posen has something to be proud of. While his clothes are not always the most wearable, he pushes the envelope, and that's what moves fashion forward. For example, there probably is not room in most closets for the white satin gown with a pouffy bottom covered in feathers and topped with an ivory metallic chenille coat he sent down the runway, but it made one heck of a finale dress.

Outfits one could imagine on the backs of Posen's trendsetting customers included a navy python pant and navy peacoat, a navy cotton blouse with sheer wide-leg pants in tartan plaid, and a cozy, long black angora vest with skinny black jeans.

An ivory metallic jumper and a cropped embossed leather blouse with dressy wide-leg trousers were edgy, but not too much so.


Calvin Klein: It's no surprise that Francisco Costa's newest looks for Calvin Klein had a quiet coolness to them _ that's the brand's signature. But amid the almost entirely black architectural collection was one of the best bright dresses seen on the runways: an ivory, black and red spaghetti-strap dress with vertical strips of chevron- and rectangle-shaped beads.

If only a celebrity would be bold enough to step out of that classic Hollywood glamour look and take this risk on the red carpet, she'd be rewarded for reinvigorating what's become a tired parade of satin, glamourpuss gowns.

Actually, there were more details _ however subtle they might have been _ on this runway than on most others. Pleats on dresses revealed sheer insets as models took their steps and a wool jacket, also featuring a chevron pattern, had subtle metallic threads to give just a bit of sparkle.


Vera Wang: Wang used the 1950s as a starting point for a collection that she decorated with either corsages in chunky fabrics or trench coat belts on almost every piece.

Wang said she was exploring the darkness and sophistication of Mark Rothko's paintings and the film noir ``The Talented Mr. Ripley.'' That translated to a black-and-gray color-blocked cardigan coat with a black slip dress and handkerchief ruffle and a loose belted column dress with a dark purple tulle neck ruffle that framed the model's face.

No Vera Wang show would be complete without evening gowns, and a white draped chiffon gown with a beaded strap over one shoulder, worn with ballet flats, was positively Greek goddess.


J. Mendel: Bonnie _ as in the 1967 film ``Bonnie and Clyde'' _ was designer Gilles Mendel's muse for this collection. She's cool and tough, and his Bonnie ``gets to keep all of the money,'' Mendel said in his notes.

Mendel is a furrier at heart, so instead of the leather that many designers use to invoke toughness, he used sheared fur, which was sleek and contemporary.

A gray broadtail blazer was definitely part of an outfit, not an outerwear afterthought. But the best and most inventive piece was a white knitted mink cardigan, belted at the waist; the ultimate example of dressed-up casual.

Temperley: London-based designer Alice Temperley named her dresses and daywear for Hollywood screen sirens of the 1940s, and she successfully recreated the glamour of the era.

The black Olivia de Havilland dress and a jacket with sequins around the collar would be a welcome addition to the red carpet anytime, as would the ocean-blue Ava Gardner gown, with its gathered bust and V straps. A leather jacket named for Vivien Leigh had quilting on the cuffs and around the waist _ and was very chic.


Temperley: London-based designer Alice Temperley named her dresses and daywear for Hollywood screen sirens of the 1940s, and she successfully recreated the glamour of the era.

The black Olivia de Havilland dress and a jacket with sequins around the collar would be a welcome addition to the red carpet anytime, as would the ocean-blue Ava Gardner gown, with its gathered bust and V straps. A leather jacket named for Vivien Leigh had quilting on the cuffs and around the waist _ and was very chic.



Anna Sui: With her trademark vibrant style, Sui unveiled a fall collection jam-packed with loudly competing colors, textures and patterns _ and somehow it worked. Mostly.

Sui hit a few false notes Wednesday night with uncharacteristically frumpy long shorts, but the overall feel of her fall collection was young, flirty, funky and opulent.

The designer riffed on the swinging London of the 1960s by giving minidresses with Peter Pan collars a multicultural makeover with Russian-inspired details and by pairing psychedelic tights with a demure lace tank dress.

Despite the considerable number of elements at work here, Sui still managed to create a collection that felt like more than the sum of its parts.


Derek Lam: The skinny from the Lam show is that leggings are cool again.

Fashion fans were buzzing about the cashmere leggings worn with an oversized cashmere cowl-neck sweater and a cropped A-line trenchcoat even before the models walked down this up-and-coming designer's catwalk.

Other pants had military-style hardware and featured a much wider leg. Those were worn with ruffled blouses to create a nice contrast.

Capes _ which were all over the place a few seasons ago _ were almost forgotten for fall, but not by Lam, who showed two wonderful black evening capes that would be the perfect thing to wear over a party dress.


Michael Kors: Kors must watch a lot of old movies, particularly love stories. And if Ali MacGraw is in them, that's even better. Kors has made no secret that MacGraw in her 1970s heyday is a fashion icon from whom he draws endless inspiration _ and that was proved again with his Wednesday preview.

These were clothes for a woman who prefers a casual chic style to the more formal dress that her friends will be wearing next fall.

Kors opened the show with a long navy and maroon rugby-stripe dress worn with a navy duffle coat, and closed with a breezy chiffon halter gown adorned with loops of crystals. In between, he showed a short-sleeve blouse and skirt in dark green tartan plaid, a popular print, and a green chiffon paisley scarf skirt with a dark brown leather jacket that already looked broken in.

The skinny stretch jean tucked into boots and paired with a navy sweater coat was the rare sighting of denim on the runway. Kors did, however, touch on other trends, including tie-neck blouses, chunky knits and knickers.

Some designers touted knickers as part of a working woman's wardrobe. Kors' knickers had more of a collegiate look, which seemed more appropriate.


Peter Som: Som's fashion story was told almost entirely in black and white. Not to say that the clothes were boring _ a slim pantsuit has a subtle shimmer for the woman who wants to be noticed at that business meeting. A fitted tuxedo was done in unexpected winter white, which softened the outfit and made it more feminine.

The rare dash of color was infused by a soft rose print, used on a blouse, and a navy and black embroidered coat with a panel of vertical satin pleats in the front was stunning. This coat was an outfit, not a utilitarian necessity.



Narciso Rodriguez: Rodriguez played it safe Tuesday night, and there's nothing wrong with that when you've got a winning formula.

His architectural dresses, with a tight fit and lots of seams, are his signature. But instead of using an occasional splash of color as an exclamation point, Rodriguez kept almost entirely to black and white, emphasizing simplicity and sophistication instead.

The coats were a surprising strength of this collection. A sleeveless black heavy coat was belted at the waist and worn over super-skinny pants, and a loose pink wool coat and a silver collarless coat were standouts.

Cocktail dresses had an unusual embellishment: pieces of plastic. They shimmied and shone just like the best sequins or paillettes.


Marc by Marc Jacobs: Simply known as Marc, this collection targets a slightly younger customer than the Marc Jacobs label. Jacob's vision for this hipster was bohemian-meets-military, with muted colors in charcoal, rose and blue.

The show was held in the New York State Armory, and a solid wool and felt coat with brass buttons looked as if it was taken right from a soldier. A striking waistless teal print dress featured puffy sleeves, and a brown sweater vest over a more feminine wine-colored shirt seemed to encapsulate the marriage of the two ideas.


Nanette Lepore: Lepore is known for her attention to feminine detailing, and this collection was no exception, from intricate beadwork on her chiffon dresses to billowing sleeves and flirty ruffles on plaid wool skirts and dresses.

Coats, with 3/4-length sleeves and swinging bottoms, were a highlight. Prints and black velvet were strong, but red was the color for the collection.

``Red was gone for a while, but we felt it coming back and now we've used it all over,'' Lepore said. Her new shoe line included slingbacks and wedges in velvet and knee-high wedge boots in red and gray.


Luca Luca: Dresses dominated this runway, especially black cocktail frocks. But the new little black dress doesn't hug curves, it glides over them. Luca Orlandi's best version was a strapless one with a tight bodice, dropped waist and full bottom, with tulle peeking out from the bottom.

Another great dress featured a bodice made of tulle roses and a ballerina skirt.

Shirtdresses were made fancier with either a ruffled or beaded front, and one had fur cuffs.

The question is, whose calendar is filled with so many occasions that call for semiformal dresses?


Charles Nolan: Several nods to the 1980s have made their way to the Fashion Week catwalks _ shirred sleeves, booties and power suits, among them _ but Nolan's black leggings, worn under almost every skirt and dress, was the most obvious reference.

Know what? They didn't look bad, especially when worn with the flat slingback or kitten-heel riding boots the models were wearing.

Tight turtleneck dresses also have been frequent fliers on the runway, and Nolan did above-average versions. A light green satin dance dress with a fitted bodice and bows on the shoulders was a pleasant diversion from the otherwise dark palette.


Bill Blass: Michael Vollbracht shed both the legend and the curse of the Bill Blass brand and finally turned out a collection that took advantage of his strengths: timeless and classic suits, coats and evening wear.

Casual cardigans were thrown over the shoulders of models wearing sophisticated evening looks _ a black ballskirt with embroidered ivory-colored roses paired with a white tuxedo shirt was particularly nice _ acknowledging the way real women dress, mixing up dressy and casual pieces.

Other noteworthy evening outfits included a brown tulle gown with a strapless draped top and full hand-woven skirt, and a backless red silk chiffon halter evening gown. Hopefully, though, when that gown turns up on a Hollywood star, it'll be without the thick black belt.


Monique Lhuillier: Lhuillier's days as a bridal gown designer pay off whenever she goes near lace and tulle, and the red-carpet gowns she previewed were delicate, feminine and pretty. She alternated shapes between slim seamed sheaths and tufted ballgowns.

But the starlets who wear these dresses need to ward off autumn's chill, and Lhuillier offered them fur capelets, brocade coats and, for daytime, a salt-and-pepper brocade peacoat.

Lhuillier used a beautiful peacock blue jacquard fabric for a corseted cocktail dress and matching bolero. It was a refreshing change from all the black and other dark colors that have dominated the season's palette.

The Los Angeles-based Lhuillier took her bow just weeks after having her first baby. She said the collection was strongly influenced by the furniture fabrics and wallpapers she studied when she was in her ``nesting'' phase.


MONDAY, Feb. 6

Marc Jacobs: There was no marching band this time, but Marc Jacobs' show was a crowd-pleaser nonetheless with a fall collection that was more Edie Sedgwick than Grace Kelly.

The Penn State Blue Band kicked off Jacobs' show last season at the New York State Armory, but the theatrics this time were limited to the clothes.

Jacobs cleverly took some ladylike standbys of his past few seasons and turned them into tough-girl accessories. Dainty tea party gloves became leather, elbow-length gloves; mary janes got a patent-leather makeover and their heels were raised to dizzying heights.

Jacobs clearly had his younger fans in mind _ Nicole Richie and Rachel Bilson cheered him on Monday night along with longtime muse Winona Ryder _ when he designed these looks, whose mix-and-match sensibility give the wearer a chance to reveal her personality instead of her body.


Max Azria Collection: This line, formerly known as BCBG Max Azria, is undergoing a transformation as the company tries to elevate the image of the runway clothes beyond cute, breezy dresses and flattering pants.

For the collection presented Monday evening, Azria concentrated on knits _ which made great casual cashmere coats and borderline bizarre bloomers. Azria wasn't the only culprit to send bloomers down the runway. In fact, the crowd at the Bryant Park tents probably have seen more bloomers and knickers over the first four days of Fashion Week than they've seen in the last four years.

Azria also offered several pieces that had origami details, which were similar enough to hit on the big-bow trend but different enough to stand out. But there's something to be said for simplicity, and the cashmere turtleneck dresses worn with either tweed or cashmere coats were the most sophisticated outfits in the collection.


Betsey Johnson: The sometimes risque, but always playful Johnson was on her best behavior for fall 2006.

She offered cute cocktail dresses that surely will be on the high school dance circuit; skirt suits, with miniskirts, of course; and a taffeta trench coat that could go just about anywhere and be worn by just about any woman.

The trench coat, paired with a gold blouse with ruffles around the neck and a black flounce skirt, was one of the show's best outfits. A latte-colored crocheted dress and a boucle suit with candy-colored dots to break up the black background were also standouts.

The hot pants and bloomers that have been far too prevalent at Fashion Week were also on Johnson's runway, but since she's Betsey Johnson, they belonged.


Jill Stuart: Stuart dresses a young crowd, and the Goth look she offered should be right up their alley. Models wore long, black Matrixlike dresses, the best being a satin version with a V neck and high waist.

The runway wasn't all somber, though. A winter white nubby coat and a silver lame all-over pleated gown were winners. Stuart then switched modes and send out a delicate chiffon dress with flutter sleeves in an abstract blue floral print.


Oscar de la Renta: De la Renta's fall collection confirms some of the emerging trends for fall. His runway had metallic fabrics, three-quarter sleeve tops and jackets worn with long gloves, belted jackets, sweater coats and both skinny cigarette pants and wide-leg cuffed ones. Somehow, though, everything looks a little different when done at de la Renta's direction. They're classier and more luxurious.

The metallic brocade jacket with a high open collar, which was worn with a taupe cashmere turtleneck and gray flannel pants, would be right for work; worn with dark jeans, it's a chic weekend look. Skinny metallic brocade pants balanced the proportion of a thick cableknit sweater.

De la Renta traditionally does great coats and embroideries. He combined those skills into an outstanding brown embroidered cashmere coat with pony skin that was paired with a green leather embroidered skirt.


Carolina Herrera: Herrera said she was inspired by the late '50s, but many of the outfits were reminiscent of the sportswear of the '70s, when American ready-to-wear first put its stamp on the world.

She sent several suits down the runway. The skirt suits, in a rust plaid, were fitted and to the knee; the pants had wide cuffed legs.

A new look for fall is fur sheared so close that it looks like soft velvet. Herrera used that technique for the sleeves on a black and brown wool dress that was otherwise simple _ and very sophisticated.


Cynthia Steffe: Steffe featured the lightest colors seen so far, almost halfway through Fashion Week. But the delicate pink and cloud blue blouses and dresses with lace trim took a supporting role to what Steffe called ``the offhand chic of the coolest girl in prep school.''

The fitted black canvas and velvet cadet coat over a starched white shirt had the vintage look that Steffe's youthful customer wants, but the Bermuda shorts she paired with them _ and with several other cute tops _ seem unlikely to catch on.

A popcorn cableknit skirt suit in winter white had a black tie around the neck to add some schoolgirl charm, while a laser-cut, empire-waist dress was done in a sophisticated gray flannel so that an older woman could wear it, too.


SUNDAY, Feb. 5

Diane von Furstenberg: Von Furstenberg brought back the '80s power suit, down to the slim pencil skirts with high waists, puffy sleeves and oversized lumberjack-check and houndstooth prints. But von Furstenberg modernized the look by slimming the silhouette and adding feminine details, such as a peplum on a jacket or using a rosebud-print chiffon fabric for a blouse.

The newest incarnation of her wrap dress, which she first put on the runway in 1975, had a fuller skirt and was made in brushed cotton and suede instead of the classic jersey.

A black belted shirtdress with vertical pleats was one of those chic outfits that easily go from day to night.


Badgley Mischka: It was a subtle shift, but to mark their return to Fashion Week after sitting out a few seasons, eveningwear designers Mark Badgley and James Mischka decided to court the funkier Grammy crowd instead of the more staid Oscar-goers.

Several styles featured accordian-style vertical pleats. The best were a bright yellow strapless cocktail dress with a bow under the bust, and a printed silk satin and chiffon gown in plum, black and white.

The duo also offered a cool daytime look _ at least a daytime look for celebrities: sheared mink skirts with unsheared mink hemlines.

However, a shapeless red dress with a separate piece of fabric in the back that stretched from the neck to the mid-thigh hem looked a bit like a boat's sail _ and it was a dud.

The show closed with an unexpected black satin trench coat with a skull made out of fancy beads on the back.


Luella Bartley: Londoner Bartley offered something for the woman who likes the look of both country crooners and punk rocker, but still dresses up in a dress with a pearl collar and bow around her waist for tea with her grandmother.

Shrunken jackets, one in textured leather with studs and another decorated with pearls, looked hip with tailored trousers or super skinny jeans. A light pink patent leather trenchcoat was a lighthearted version of a practical item.

But even the young customer who likes Bartley's playful style probably would think twice before putting on the puffy micro-miniskirts that looked like Cinderella ballgowns after the evil stepsisters took their scissors to them.


Tuleh: Tuleh's socialite customer will have to go even lighter on their low-fat fare to get into Bryan Bradley's new long, skinny skirts, but it's all in the name of a super-polished look.

Most of the skirts had high waists and hit below the knee, and were worn with booties with wooden, stacked heels.

Bradley also played with proportion, offering a loose satin blouson top with a high neck in the front and a big cutout in the back, and a puff-sleeve short fur jacket. A top with sleeves made of cascading feathers didn't work, though.


DKNY: Donna Karan's DKNY line is aimed at her younger customers and has more of New York's street style than her signature collection. But with this fall's offerings, anyone could wear the outfits.

Easy, chic dresses had loose tops and skirts with gathered high waists to show off the best parts of a woman's shape. A wine-colored mohair sweater coat was the kind of comfortable cocoon that can be worn on a Sunday stroll _ and into a nice restaurant if you get hungry along the way.

There were some schoolgirl-inspired looks, too, but they had a sophisticated edge that kept them from being cartoonish. Satin mini bubble skirts, paired with georgette T-shirts and cropped cardigan sweaters, looked cute on the runway, but the tissue silk skirts that hit just below the knee would be much easier to wear.


Tracy Reese: Reese's signature style is ``pretty'' and for fall she did it again. However, she didn't go overly girlie, except for a few too many bows on dresses that didn't need them.

The collection was cohesive _ but not cluttered _ as Reese debuted her accessories collection.

Her wide patent leather belts with gold hardware were worn high on the waist over a black V-shaped vest and cream-colored shirt with oversized sleeves, and again with a black tribal beaded blouse and flowing skirt. Leather booties with thick heels that tied at the top looked clunky with some of the dresses, though.

For dressing up, a blue floral sequined shift glimmered like an ocean and a berry-colored long tiered dress had a tank neckline alternately decorated by ethnic brown beads and glamorous purple crystals.



Lacoste: There was nothing groundbreaking about the newest Lacoste collection, presented Saturday night, since it mostly adapted the brand's well-known preppy golf and tennis styles for back-to-school or winter sports wardrobes.

However, the rainbow of V-neck sweaters, leather hoodies and ultrasuede blousons that danced down the runway in front of a boom-box backdrop certainly was cheery and wearable _ except for some sweat pant-style knickers.

Designer Christophe Lemaire was inspired by the first album from De La Soul called ``3 Feet High and Rising'' and he clearly was trying to bring a little hip-hop attitude to downright nerdy details, such as wire-rim glasses and too-short pants.

The show also included puffy parkas and rubber boots in bright candy colors.


FRIDAY, Feb. 3

Baby Phat: For Kimora Lee Simmons, fall will be a season of restraint, which for Simmons, wife of hip-hop mogul Russell Simmons, means clothes that don't get an X rating.

Among the looks she sent down the runway: a double-breasted rose tweed coat and a winter white dress with brown trim that seemed inspired by a flight attendant's uniform _ down to the matching hat.

Dresses were the strongest part of her collection, including a flowing pink empire-waist gown with a red pleated satin bust and red ribbon threaded underneath.

Skirts were mostly short and some tops, including a nice cream-colored blouse with a ruffled neck, flounced sleeves and bottom, and a belt around the waist, were sheer. The model wore that top with slim leather pants.

Several outfits featured metallic tweed fabrics.

But Simmons couldn't resist a few tarty touches, such as a bodysuit worn with nothing but a fur vest and long leather driving gloves, and supershort shorts that looked like bubble bloomers paired with a draped top in shiny pink jersey.


Nicole Miller: Miller's mantra was stand up _ and out _ and be noticed. She used several stiff metallic fabrics that came away from the body. To emphasize her point, a few garments had oversized bows. Sometimes this worked, on a metal jacquard blouse, for example, but on a strapless embroidered dress, it looked more like holiday gift wrap than a party dress.

The other bold statement was her use of big, graphic Byzantine mosaic prints, mostly in an autumnal palette of brown, olive and orange with gold accents. Miller picked up on the emerging trend of skinny pants, and a pair of distressed leather ones were especially nice, though some seemed too tight for the models _ not a good sign for the rest of us.


John Varvatos: Varvatos designs for tough guys. They wear military coats or distressed leather jackets, flight pants and rugby shirts. On the runway, they wear their three-button suits with combat boots.

Apparently, though, Varvatos isn't afraid to embrace a man's softer side. He borrowed a few details that have been popular with women lately, including a poncho, an asymmetrical coat and, in an item that's already becoming ubiquitous for fall, a stiff metallic scarf.

The question is: Will regular Joes wear such things? Either way, they'll surely like the brown crocodile-embossed leather commander's jacket.


Associated Press writers Colleen Long and Erin Hanafy contributed to this report.


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