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Showers at NY Fashion Week, spring in their steps


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She is aiming for "timeless, elegant dresses that are always capturing the season," Stuart said backstage, but that could really be worn anytime. "I want to wear the black lace dress that’s opening the show right now, tonight." (She has a dinner date with her daughter.)

REBECCA TAYLOR

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Rebecca Taylor’s muse for the spring season is the city girl — normally quite content where she is — who allows herself to dream of that tropical vacation from time to time.

On the runway, Taylor transported her to Hawaii. Of course, this urban dweller doesn’t have board shorts. She packs a coral-colored hibiscus print T-shirt dress with sexy cutouts.

The collection also included soft, washed denim pieces contrasted with silk ones studded with jewels. When this girl touches back home and is ready to return to work, Taylor offered her a textured turquoise leather jacket, black dotted bra top and flirty black knit skirt.

"I think sexy is changing. Strong is a good way for a woman to feel sexy — not overtly feminine, but not the power shoulder of the ‘80s and ‘90s," Taylor said before the show. "I’m not quite going there."

CHRISTIAN SIRIANO

Some of his fashionista fans and "Project Runway" followers may not know this, but Christian Siriano danced ballet when he was younger, as did his sister.

And so, when the designer was seeking inspiration for his latest collection, he found it in ballet, specifically in American Ballet Theatre’s production of "The Dream," which evokes a sumptuous fairy-tale world filled with pastel-colored tulle. "I was feeling very romantic," he said in a backstage interview.

Siriano, who won the fourth season of "Project Runway" and has done more with that launching pad than any other winner, thrilled his audience with a series of graceful, delicate and sometimes dramatic designs, in colors like ballet pink, sea foam, mint, ivory, champagne and watercolor (that last color looked exactly like it had been mixed at Monet’s easel.)


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He saved the most dramatic gesture for the end: There was an audible gasp when not one but three models came out to show the final look, striding three across with one slightly in front, as if in a ballet sequence. They wore flowing tulle applique dresses, one in watercolor, one in pink and one in sea foam.

BILLY REID

The town met the country when designer Billy Reid infused his men’s and women’s collections with some of his Alabama charm.

Ascots, pelican prints and fishing shirts took over a very urban space Friday night sandwiched between art galleries in Chelsea. He offered a coated cotton utility jacket paired with high-waisted trousers and a gold linen shirtdress with exaggerated pockets for women, and a leather peak-lapel jacket, worn with a linen mock turtleneck and sharkskin-texture trouser for men.

When Reid’s two worlds come together, the audience sees charm, good taste and a bit of wit. Perhaps more importantly, though, there’s a sense of reality here: There are stylish linen sportcoats, luxe — and on-trend — leather looks, and well-tailored suits, including chic, slim pantsuits for women, that one could imagine being worn by the finicky fashion crowd and everyone else.

The warning should come that while the styles have broad appeal, the price tags might not. Reid seems to favor rich fabrics and materials, especially suedes, lambskin and leather in beige, bone and tobacco.

CUSHNIE ET OCHS

The Cushnie et Ochs spring collection was full of chic, sharp lines, but designers Carly Cushnie and Michelle Ochs didn’t use a razor’s edge to get them.

It was clean without the mean on this runway at the downtown Milk Studios at New York Fashion Week on Friday.

A group of white dresses — one a slinky jersey, one with butterfly sleeves and another with skin-baring slits on the bodice and seemingly held together at the bustline by a metal triangle — set the tone of relaxed elegance, while a parade of black dresses, dressier in silk faille and satin that emphasized sheath shapes and high waists, sealed the no-nonsense deal.

Sandwiched in between the black and white were the shades of ocean blue that have proved popular along with black and white at these seasonal previews.

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