By Patricia Reaney
NEW YORK (Reuters) - Designer Carolina Herrera played with proportions and used sharp geometric prints in bold colors of blue, black, red and cobalt for day dresses and flowing gowns in her fall 2014 presentation at New York Fashion Week on Monday.
Hemlines hovered around the knee. Silhouettes were sleek and flowing in silk, twill, cashmere and wool felt, with rounded shoulders on jackets and dresses in a collection that was based on architectural and geometrical forms.
"It's a collection designed for today's woman, with many references to the past. So it's very modern. It's for now," the Venezuelan-born, New York based designer said in an interview before the runway show.
Herrera, a favorite on the red carpet and among Hollywood stars including actress Renee Zellweger, paired a black pencil skirt with a turtleneck sweater and a wool caplet jacket.
She topped slim wool trousers with a royal blue and white geometric wool coat trimmed with fox fur, and repeated print patterns in day and evening wear.
A red silk off-the-shoulder gown with beads at the waist and straps and a strapless red gown with applique confirmed her reputation for elegance and detail, as did a plum silk caplet gown with purple beading.
"Fashion is a repetition of ideas and you take inspiration from many other years, but you have to do it in a very modern way," Herrera added.
OPULENCE AND ADVENTURE
Dennis Basso kept the modern, contemporary feel in his collection inspired by great American artists, with his use of hand-painted duchess satin, re-embroidered lace and chiffon, and grosgrain pinstripes.
But he upped the opulence factor with jewelry-inspired beading, sequins and furs -- chinchilla, sable, broadtail and fox -- dyed in tones of blues, red, pink and emerald. It was perfect for the freezing temperatures in New York during the weeklong fashion shows.
Like Herrera, he featured slim-legged trousers and voluminous ball gowns in his 45 designs.
Basso paired fitted beaded bodices with long, flowing and straight skirts and matched a fuchsia and deep red embroidered lace gown with a fuchsia chinchilla jacket.
"The artists that inspired this collection are varied in their style and technique," Basso said in his show notes. "They gave me the creative vision and motivation to create designs as individual pieces of art."
While Basso opted for beading and furs, designer Tommy Hilfiger found inspiration in the great American outdoors for a collection that had a youthful, adventurous, bohemian feel.
Teddy-bear bomber jackets, oversized woolen sweaters and ponchos, multi-color stripe wool skirts, baggy high-waisted jeans and plaid shirt-dresses were worn with cutoff cowboy boots and wedge hiking boots and woolen hats.
The designer known for his traditional tartans transformed the massive Park Avenue Armory on Manhattan's Upper East Side into a winter wonderland complete with cabin, skis and fake snow and trees. The show attracted a packed audience including American Vogue's editor-in-chief Anna Wintour.
The collection ranged from a navy suede embroidered shirt-dress worn with wedge zip-up sneakers to a long red blanket plaid mohair dress paired with cutoff cowboy boots and an ivory shearling bomber jacket matched with a denim jumpsuit.
Designers Tracy Reese and Diane von Furstenberg featured classic silhouettes and feminine glamour in their collections in jewel tones, while Nicole Miller opted for bold prints and draped silhouettes, with furs, studded leather and ostrich feathers.
Von Furstenberg ended her collection with variations on her iconic wrap-dress style and 15 wrap dresses in gold jacquard, jersey, lace and chiffon.
(Additional reporting by Jane Furse; Editing by Barbara Goldberg and Amanda Kwan)