A sexy, sultry woman has emerged at New York Fashion Week, but one that seduces with her confidence, not bare skin. On Day 6 of the fall-collection previews, the Valentine's Day edition, a dark, romantic sensibility was conveyed on the runways through high collars, falling hemlines and long sleeves, sometimes very long, offset with sheerness for allure or a bit of leather for an edge.
"This is about understated sexy," said Tory Burch backstage ahead of her runway show. "The picture I had was a young woman, maybe unaware of her own sex appeal, and she gets on the back of a motorcycle with someone who her parents wouldn't want her to be with."
The evolution of the Burch muse went from prim Peter Pan collars to leather leggings hand-painted in navy, red and white.
Vera Wang, meanwhile, layered a jacket lined with snuggly boucle (nubbly yarn) over a feather-light chiffon gown, and said in her notes that the clothes reveal the female form "by smoky transparencies that allow a glimpse of skin and of delicate lingerie not meant to be hidden, but seen."
From her seat at Badgley Mischka, model Coco Rocha said sexy is a state of mind. "It's about a person and what they exude. If you have confidence and elegance, you don't need cleavage."
Tory Burch's Valentine's Day gift to New York Fashion Week was a runway backstory of a sheltered _ and well-dressed young woman _ running off with a little bit of a bad boy.
Burch's muse never crossed a line, always remembering her bow-blouse and pearl-embellished roots, but she definitely gained an edge with slim pencil skirts and shiny gold thread woven into her tweed.
Burch singled out as the first piece headed to her personal closet a cropped peplum sweater, paired on the model with tight leather pants decorated with red, white and navy hand-painted stripes.
Burch accessorized many outfits with the long, leather opera gloves that have graced many catwalks during this round of previews.
Vera Wang was going for sensual with suggestive, sheer champagne-colored layers covering many of the models, showing nothing the audience shouldn't see _ or did they?
There also were comforting, rich touches of boucle (nubbly yarn) and fur, offset by glitzy, substantial crystal-mesh embellishment.
Wang described the look in her notes as "a sensual silhouette _ long, narrow, leggy _ extending from a high neckline, caught at peplumed hips."
Peplum, a flounce or flourish of fabric attached to the waist or hips of a garment, is showing up frequently in lines for this and next season.
Badgley Mischka channeled the look of the 1920s futuristic German movie "Metropolis" into New York Fashion Week. The clothes were leaner and more angular than one often sees from designers Mark Badgley and James Mischka, who largely cater to the eveningwear needs of socialites and celebrities.
E! red-carpet commentators Kelly Osbourne and Joan Rivers sat together in the front row.
It was pretty _ that's what they do _ but not in a flowery way.
Badgley said he and his partner saw "Metropolis" this past fall and were struck by the sexy armor-like costumes. They included in their collection many metallic fabrics, including the opening bronze-colored gown made of sequins and chiffon that had fringed shoulders and chains draped across an otherwise open back. There was also a tarnished-gold lame pajama top and pant combination and platinum lame brocade dress with a jeweled collar and cutouts on the shoulder.
One of the last dresses on the catwalk was rose-colored hammered satin gown that, again with cutouts, created the appearance of long gloves even though the model's hands were bare.
OSCAR DE LA RENTA
Jewels were everywhere on Oscar de la Renta's runway at New York Fashion Week.
The fashion legend used blown up versions of actual jewelry as inspiration for his prints. He put jeweled headbands in his models' hair and he embellished cardigans and coats with the sparklers for his fall collection that debuted Tuesday.
As for colors, there was black, expected for the season, but also ice blue and light pink.
"I used a lot of colors you would not associate with winter colors but today's woman doesn't dress for seasons," he said.
The rest of the runway was filled with the rich, luxury items one would expect from de la Renta. There was a silver arctic fox collar, Chantilly lace applique on a chiffon blouse, cashmere sweaters and a gown with a gold silk taffeta skirt.
Rare for most designers, de la Renta listed in detail the jewelry his models wore: Russian gold, pearl and crystal earrings, a multi topaz crystal ring.
The runway ended with a series of gowns with large tulle skirts in shades of rose, blue and silver.
Associated Press Writer Caryn Rousseau contributed to this report.