NEW YORK (AP) — New York Fashion Week kicked off Thursday in the middle of a snow storm that had some of the usual swans donning parkas, snow boots and ski caps instead of the usual sky-high heels and fashion finery.
The crowds hopped over snow banks and splashed in slush as they turned out at more than a dozen shows that began the eight-day event featuring designers' collections for fall and winter. Some stealthily swapped their messy boots and warm gear once they made it to their destinations, cramming boots and hats in bags as they took their seats.
Ruth Sutcliffe, who works for a company that developed a scent for Tadashi Shoji, made her way into town by commuter train from Greenwich, Connecticut, then hopped a subway and trekked through snow on foot to take in the action backstage before his show. She changed into a dress and heels in a bathroom.
"I walked in my Uggs and my fleece pants and my down feather coat," she laughed. "It is what it is. You have to brave the cold. I'm not going to wear high heels in the snow and sludge."
Fashion blogger Lindsi Lane, who lives in Manhattan, didn't have far to go to make it safely inside fashion week's official Clarkson Square venue, but she was weather ready, big labels and all, in fluffy ear muffs, a warm cabled sweater and a fox fur vest to go with her skinny black Missoni patent leather pants and Louis Vuitton snow boots.
"At the end of the day, like any true fashionista, we pull it together," she said. "We gotta bring it."
Among the day's highlights:
TADASHI SHOJI EMBRACES LOVE, '70s YOUTH STYLE
Shoji wasn't sweating the blizzard ahead of his 1960s and early '70s collection of sensuous velvets and brocades inspired by youth revolutions around the world.
He lives in Los Angeles, but his team was ready for snowmaggedon. Besides, the Japanese designer said in an interview backstage, all the swirling, white, wet stuff was "pretty, and traffic was so quiet. It's good."
On the runway, Shoji worked in vibrant forest green, deep reds and splashes of purple. Floor length gowns with keyhole necklines had long bell sleeves, lace insets and velvet ribbon detail. He and some of his models wore white bandannas, embracing an effort by the industry watchers at the Business of Fashion to acknowledge President Donald Trump's immigration ban under the moniker "#TiedTogether."
"More than 50 persons in my company are immigrants," Shoji said.
The message, Shoji said, was simple: love, liberation, unity.
DESIGUAL GOES BOLD
Desigual presented a collection for bold women who do not shy away from vivid prints and colors Thursday, the first day of New York Fashion Week.
Inspired by the '60s, '70s and '80s, the Spanish brand put out a fall-winter line that included military jackets, pants and dresses with animal prints, checkerboards, lots of buttons, transparent skirts and wide belts.
The collection evoked a punk, underground philosophy, said Daniel Perez, the brand's communications director.
"These were subcultures that would question gender issues and where women would play a relevant role," he said in a backstage interview. "For example, the collection evokes the attitude of the female cartoonist group behind Wimmen's Comix. They wanted to write from their feminine perspective because, until then, that was an underworld with a very masculine vision."
ADAM SELMAN COMBINES MOURNING VEILS WITH COWGIRL
Selman, a go-to for Rihanna, sees dark times politically, letting models outfitted with rose-topped mourning veils tell that story. But he wants his brand to uplift, including a shout-out in large pink buttons left on his front-row seats that read: "Fashion Stands with Planned Parenthood," part of an initiative put together by the Council of Fashion Designers of America.
Backstage after his show of rose-embroidered tulle, outsize shirt dresses, cowgirl denim and '70s sparkle, Selman explained: "For me, everything has to be joyous, everything has to be uplifting. I wanted it to feel up and triumphant in a way."
His girl is seasonless, and she enjoys fun party dresses. She also enjoys gingham, in a pink and black bustier, open-back looks encrusted to catch the light and red silk pajama pants.
The head pieces are a collaboration with Gigi Burris Millinery. And the folky roses on denim reflect his love of certain decade.
"I always go back to the '70s," said Selman, a Texan still. "I can't help myself."