NY Fashion Week unveils double-layered sexy look

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The city’s finest fashionistas hightailed up and down Manhattan, shivering in the freezing cold and taking care not to slither over on black ice and muddy snow to catch the latest shows.

The highlights of day two were Jason Wu, the precocious New York-trained designer and Michelle Obama favorite, San Francisco’s Peter Som and Spanish luxury label Pedro del Hierro.

Top American model Karlie Kloss closed out Wu’s show in the heart of Soho, sashaying down the runway in a stunning evening dress of velvet amethyst under an oversized, black alpaca coat.

“I liked this idea, this cosyness, the outerwear and when it is revealed, it’s the most beautiful little silk dress underneath tied together by spaghetti straps,” Wu told AFP backstage.

Under furs of silver fox or raccoon, puffy parkas in angora or embroidered astrakhan, there were flashes of bare shoulders or skillfully structured backs of a black or gray crepe satin dress.

“There is definitely sex in it… I thought it was really appealing right now, clothing that is so utterly feminine and sophisticated and confidant and sexy,” said Wu.

The designer, who made his ready-to-wear collection debut in 2007, said he was inspired by sporty shapes but that he wanted to make his clothes luxurious.

He also explained how he had used different textures for something “a bit romantic” about his collection.

“Mohair, cashmere, embroideries, mink, you name it, but in a very subtle way,” he told AFP.

Over at Som, a one-time designer at American fashion house Bill Blass, the designer told AFP that his woman of 2014 was “sexy, she’s confident and she is having fun”.

He showed off military overcoats in navy blue or patterned wool and camel wool jackets layered over a leopard goatskin dress or a corset chiffon dress with bright orange ostrich feathers.

His inspiration, he said, was a “60s-70s mash-up. So kind of 60s London meets 70s Paris, Jane Birkin.”

Down in Chelsea, Spanish designer Carmen March also showcased a masculine exterior and sweetness in her collection for del Hierro, presenting in New York for only its second season.

For her, however, the inspiration was the 1940s, a decade marked by war, loss, the need to stay alive and eventually rebirth: feelings that echo in today’s recession-hit Spain, she said.

“The trousers of the 1940s were a little too short, the overcoats heavy. Everyone dressed in clothes a little damaged, a little too grand, a little bizarre,” she said.

“Underneath you find lots of softness, feminity,” she said.

Her woman of 2014 is “strong and independent,” with “aplomb and an unknown energy, and revival” after the crisis, she said in reference to the economic turbulence in Spain in recent years.

New York is the first to unveil the industry’s fall/winter 2014 collections, with 300 catwalk presentations from February 6 to 13, before the shows head onto London, Paris and Milan.

Dominated by big US designers led by Marc Jacobs, emerging talent from Europe, Asia and Australia will snip at the sidelines hoping for their big break.

Saturday’s highlight will be Alexander Wang, who has sent the high priestesses of Manhattan kicking and screaming in becoming the first big name to decamp to Brooklyn.

The American creative director of Balenciaga unveils his hotly anticipated collection at Duggal Greenhouse, also chosen by Lady Gaga for her recent album launch, at the Naval Yard.

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