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New York Fashion Week Autumn 09

Amid rumours of slashed guest lists, reduced collection sizes and smaller catwalk venues, New York’s designers reacted to the threatening fiscal breakdown with varying approaches.

As some showed defiance through their collections, opting to focus on luxe fabrics to prove that fashion could rise above economics, others preferred to concentrate on wearable takes on signature looks and brand handwriting to keep customers happy.

Donna Karen made the biggest anti-financial crisis statement with her fur heavy show. From simple tailored blazers and silk roll neck tops through to three-quarter length wool coats and subtley draped sheath dresses, everything was adorned with wrist to elbow fur gloves, fixed in place with opulent pearl and jewel studded cuffs.

Designers Jack McCollough and Lazaro Hernandez over at Proenza Schouler also focused on fabrics, opting for shiny satins, plush velvet and intricate devore in paneled and cutaway styles to create sleek, shape-significant silhouettes.

Sticking to personality-driven looks to pull in the punters, Diane Von Furstenburg may have shunned her iconic wrap dress the past two seasons, but her well-travelled customer is still in the forefront of her mind as she pulled out an exuberant selection of ethnic and animal prints, beading and tassels, Mexican style ponchos and dip dyed floral embroidery.

Also keeping on doing what he does best, boho aficionado Matthew Williamson decided to tone down the clashing brights of last season and focused more on sophisticated cuts for autumn 09, but his sequinned capelets, beaded necklines and Nordic knit oversized twinsets let his design persona shine through.

There will always be some designers where whatever, the monetary weather, more will always mean more, so it was up to them to throw caution to the wind with plenty of dramatic colour, directional shapes and elaborate prints. Marc Jacobs delivered a melange of sparkly, shiny fabrics, cosy outerwear in pops of vivid, neon colour and shapes which veered from exaggerated top heavy triangles through to wide hooped circular skirts and hip heavy pegged trousers.

Ralph Lauren’s heavenly collection turned out mannish suits in liquid satins, ballerina skirts with jewelled bodies and ethereal floor length gowns with enough old gold embroidery to lighten up even the those with the heaviest weights of the world on their shoulders.

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