NY Fashion Week: Rihanna does Puma, Wu on fast fashion

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Posted: Feb 12, 2016 11:33 PM
NY Fashion Week: Rihanna does Puma, Wu on fast fashion

NEW YORK (AP) — The Associated Press is all over New York Fashion Week, from the runway designs to the celebrity-filled front rows. Here are some recent highlights:

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SPORTY STREETWEAR AT RIHANNA FOR PUMA

Rihanna is certainly used to stopping the show, whether as a performer or as a fashion figure whose daring choices can make headlines.

But at New York Fashion Week on Friday, she let her models make the splashy entrances. After all, she was the designer this time.

The singer presented her Fenty collection for Puma, sportswear and shoes in mostly black and white with a jaunty streetwear vibe and also, as she said, "a Gothic undertone." As befitting a collection for Puma, it of course featured sneakers, many with high stacked platforms.

In an interview before her show in a dark, mirrored, forest-like setting filled with stage smoke, Rihanna spoke about what motivates her to design.

"I think design is a part of being creative," she told The Associated Press. "I enjoy creating and expressing the crazy things going on in my mind through something that people can see and that is tangible. That is the best part, being able to express yourself.

"Fashion to me was just one of those things that came naturally," she said. "I enjoy discovering it -- all the different styles, finishes, fabrics, silhouettes. It's not easy, but it doesn't feel like work. It's one of the things that doesn't feel like work."

Rihanna, who's been a frequent Fashion Week presence over the years at shows like Alexander Wang, said there had been "lots of great designers in the world that I've been inspired by." But she declined to name one particular designer she'd like to emulate, saying she didn't want to reproduce someone else's work.

At the show's end, before a crowd that included upcoming Oscar host Chris Rock, supermodel Naomi Campbell and designer Jeremy Scott and singer Ne-Yo, Rihanna came out to take a bow, smiling in a gray-and-white patterned jacket with a huge hood.

Earlier, on the red carpet, she had worn a black top with velvet on the outside and a jersey fabric on the inside. "I wanted to keep it sporty," she said.

—Jocelyn Noveck

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FAST FASHION? NOT FOR JASON WU

Jason Wu isn't a fan of fast fashion, though he's mindful of how he rolls out collections ahead of season.

"For me, it's not about doing it fast. For me it's about perfecting the work and presenting it at the right time," he said Friday backstage after presenting a fall collection offering a range of weights, from wispy sheer dresses to sturdy coats.

While he has no plans to join the surge in a "see now, buy now, wear now" approach to business, "I think we've got to be more realistic about when the clothes are in stores," Wu added.

For instance, a neon yellow strapless party dress shared his runway with coats in a striped yellow and blue. Backless minis held together with cloth backstraps were mixed with detachable fur collars and sheer looks in florals.

He called the collection "Immaculate," in tribute to his core customer.

"I like the idea of these chic strangers walking in the room. You know, filling the room, and immaculately dressed. That was really the point of the collection. It was to really address what she loves and what she desires," Wu said.

It's often about the details, which included this time around loose feathers on black and beige, and a pop of red in a coat. He carried a checkerboard print from a short-sleeve dress into a ladylike loafer.

"I think when it comes to luxury it has to be about the details," Wu said. "Luxury can't compete with fast fashion and so I think it's about really looking at the clothes and designing a wardrobe that she covets."

—Leanne Italie

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A FOUR-LEGGED STAR AT POLO RALPH LAUREN

There were lots of good-looking models at Polo Ralph Lauren's presentation on Friday, but the clear favorite had long, lustrous brown hair and four legs.

Rory, an Irish Setter, looked great but was perhaps a bit restless as crowds milled through the showroom, gazing at elegant tableaux evoking an English pub or a hunting lodge.

As for the clothes, Lauren offered up a stylish new take on some trusted classics. A perfect example was a striking mini-dress in silver: It bore a southwestern print, a favorite of Lauren's, but was beaded and sequined — giving it a distinctly urban feel. It was paired with brown suede, fringed boots for a mix of casual and dressy.

Fringe — an ombre version — also adorned a brown leather jacket. Browns, tans and especially grays were the favored hues in the women's collection.

The women's sport collection, meanwhile, featured an inventive puffer jacket that can be worn at two different lengths, adjusted simply by folding some fabric into a hidden zipper pocket. There were also running leggings with reflector panels, and long-sleeved tops in wicking fabrics to keep the moisture away on a long run.

As for the men, suit jackets were soft and unlined for maximum comfort, while still looking dressy.

Actress Emma Roberts, attending the presentation, said she was partial to the cashmere sweaters, which she called both comfortable and polished.

"You can wear them out to dinner and make it really dressy, or you can just wear it to work in the morning," she said. "My sister just stole one from me last night actually, but she can have one."

—Gina Abdy and Jocelyn Noveck

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MURDER MOST FOUL, AT ADAM SELMAN

Sitting atop the seats at Adam Selman's runway show were tiny little envelopes emblazoned with police "evidence" tape. Inside were telltale shards of bloodstained glass — actually, it was hard candy — all in the name of Selman's playfully ghoulish theme: Murder.

Selman said backstage that he wanted to go a little darker this season — both in color and spirit — and focus on the nighttime, not the day. He also was inspired by the recent Netflix documentary series, "Making a Murderer."

"I am obsessed with 'true crime,'" Selman said. "So, in a way, I'm just sort of saying it's a murder in the night, with like a true crime-inspired sensationalism of murder and how we as a society hype up the idea of murder, but still in a weird Adam Selman playful way, if that makes sense."

The soundtrack for the Thursday evening show, by Michel Gaubert, embodied the eerie theme. It started out with a young female voice saying, "I like to go to parties. I like how people are looking at me. I like the music. I like the lights." As the show progressed, with the models strutting in various garments of black and red — most notably some sexy slip dresses — the music grew more ominous. The voice came back saying the same thing, only one wondered now what would become of this poor soul.

Selman, best known for his work with Rihanna, said he wanted to convey a bit of playfulness along with the darker tone.

"It's not totally dark," he said. "There's lots of lame and there's lots of shine. I have big splashes of red, which obviously you can assume what that means. But colors weren't speaking to me this season and I've never done a lot of black, so I really wanted to hone in and do some black and then to layer in with shine and red, just pops of red, and go from there."

Why tell a whole story with one's clothes, rather than just showing them? Selman says it's fun, but it also helps him focus.

"It helps me formulate a collection," he said. "It really helps me have fun with it."

Selman's show wasn't always going to be in the evening. He acknowledged that he'd changed it because he didn't want to overlap with the afternoon show of a fairly, er, high-profile designer: Kanye West.

"I just didn't want to conflict," he said of West's much-anticipated Madison Square Garden show. "I didn't know what would be in store."

Attending both shows was singer Charli XCX, who said the Kanye show had been "great — for me it was really cool to hear (his) album in such a huge space."

But back to Selman: "I think he's making extremely important marks in fashion and in the fashion world," the singer said. Of her Selman-designed skirt, she added: "It makes me feel free and it makes me feel like a fairy and a ballerina, but kind of badass, too."

—Nicole Evatt and Jocelyn Noveck