Fashion world honors Sept. 11 as shows go on

NEW YORK, NY - SEPTEMBER 11: Models walk the runway at the Lela Rose Spring 2012 fashion show during Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week at The Studio at Lincoln Center on September 11, 2011 in New York City. (Photo by Mike Coppola/Getty Images for Payless)
Mike Coppola
Models walk the runway at the Lela Rose Spring 2012 fashion show during Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week on Sept. 11, 2011, in New York.

(CBS/AP) NEW YORK - The fashion world stood still when the World Trade Centers came down in the middle of New York Fashion Week a decade ago, but the shows went on Sunday with moments of reflection and remembrance from the tents at Lincoln Center to venues within distance of ground zero.

In an intimate hall at the New York Public Library, guests at Victoria Beckham's show twice stopped in their tracks on the way to their seats for moments of silence - one for each tower - as scheduled by the designer.

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On the front row at Lela Rose, she described the conflicting mood on the tragedy's anniversary: "Today is a day that is very exciting, but there is also a certain calmness, you know? Everyone can sort of just look at each other today and know exactly what each other is thinking."

Oscar de la Renta said he watched the anniversary unfold on TV in the morning before heading to the tents. "I was in tears. But I say this country is about the rebirth, all over again. It's like the phoenix bird reborn from its ashes."

Designer Tracy Reese had been scheduled for her first New York Fashion Week show on Sept. 11, 2001, and is proud to mark the anniversary at the tents on the same date this year. "At the end of the day, New York is unlike any other city in the world. Everyone worked together to pick ourselves back up."

Several designers said they've made donations to various organizations in memory of the dead, including Derek Lam to the National September 11 Memorial & Museum, and Donna Karan to Action America, an initiative to turn Sept. 11 into a day of positive action and volunteerism.

"We remember that day 10 years ago that changed our city forever," Karan said in her show notes. "We remember the courage, the inspiration, the compassion. How we came together, reaffirming our strength to the world. There truly is no place anywhere like our beloved city, New York. Our inspiration."

Here are some highlights from this weekend's spring previews:

Her crisp, clean and sophisticated collection showed off her skills as a dressmaker.

Beckham added several outerwear pieces to the repertoire - including hooded satin jackets - but she mostly stepped back from the looser silhouette that she experimented with last season. Even the dresses with pleated skirts were built with tight bodices.

The heart and soul of Karan's DKNY brand is New York, and on this anniversary of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, she paid tribute to her hometown using one of its most recognizable symbols as backdrop - the yellow taxi.

Models in loose shirtdresses, sheer sundresses, floppy hats and knee-length board shorts faced a bank of photographers with the doors of the Chelsea studio flung open to display a perfectly positioned taxi.

But New York is only a thread in the nation's larger fabric, Karan said in her notes. She offered several cheerful looks in bold red, white and blue floral print. There were red-and-blue striped outfits, too.

Diane von Furstenberg's spring collection, dubbed "Beginnings," seemed more about renewal.

The looks were fresh and breezy, but not overly frilly or frivolous.

"The light appears and changes everything," she said in notes for guests that included Oscar de la Renta and Valentino.

Lam is dumping a new daytime wardrobe of elegant, unfussy pieces in ladies' laps.

His "California dreamin'" muse could start with brunch in skinny navy trousers with an exaggerated white cuff and silk crepe shirt under a sweater. If it were a lunch date, she could step it up with a kaleidoscope-print shirt, sweater and black, bone and yellow patchwork snake skirt.

Cruising the afternoon away in the convertible, she'd soak up the sunshine in his yellow and caramel leather jacket, long and lean white crocheted T-shirt and matching skirt. And, when it turns a little chilly, there's the bold coral-colored, pebble-leather trench coat.

Come spring, it's still collars up - at least if you're wearing Tommy Hilfiger. Just don't be stuffy about it.

Hilfiger built on themes that have emerged from the Lincoln Center tents as trends for next season, including athleticwear inspirations and mod '60s styles.

But he put his own spin on them in a collection called "Pop Prep." It was a little bit crisper with its Americana sportswear silhouettes and bold color combinations. The finale dress, for example, was a V-neck kaftan in chunks of orange, red and navy.

Strapless and sporty? No problem.

The designer incorporated the athletic trend already tangible during this round of previews. Never mind that she's known mostly as a source of red-carpet gowns.

There were worthwhile design elements to borrow from activewear, she said, including sporty necklines and aerodynamic striping and slashing. Her runway had a cobalt-blue racing stripe down the middle.

She also tapped into the popular optimistic color palette that editors, stylists and retailers are getting used to seeing for next season. "I used a lot of vibrant yellows, as you can see. A lot of blues," Lhuillier said.

Ronson gave her youthful customer a bit of a history lesson.

She drew references from the Victorian era, including a tan suede jacket with an asymmetrical front and high neck; the 1920s, dropped-waist dresses; and the "restless grunge decade" of the '90s - that's where the denim fit in.

She hit some of the season's main themes and successfully tweaked them for her trend-conscious fan. She had the floral halter-neck, button-down top blending tangerine, yellow and black on white, and the cropped crocheted top paired with a maxi skirt.

Key for Stuart: "I wanted this collection to be a dream, a fantasy."

It came against a backdrop of mint green, lipstick pink, tangerine and a brighter shade of citrine gemstone yellow.

Stuart has significantly softened her look in recent seasons, moving away from the Stevie Nicks rocker look that had been her hallmark. The clothes on this runway seemed more appropriate for the next-generation Doris Day.

But there was something sweetly sexy in the drop-waist shifts, culottes and inverted-pleat skirts, too. Even the romper, which looked more like a cute mini shift until you got close to it, worked here. While girlie, they weren't prim or dowdy.

Last year's Council of Fashion Designers of America award winner for emerging talent has lived up to the hype.

If Gurung is part of fashion's future, his modern themes couldn't have been more on target: A violet floral print dress with a dropped waist, plunging back and circle mini skirt seemed tailored for a space-age goddess. Sharp-shouldered jackets with skinny pants - some in a purple paint-dripped lame - also had that futuristic vibe.

A white crepe dress with black side ties and an updated corset made appropriate for daylight offered a dominatrix look. And there's a starlet out there who'd be lucky to wear the black halter gown with razor-sharp tulle pleats down the side.

Wang was full of sporty details. There were technical fabrics, oversized pockets, exposed zippers, mesh and sharp laser-cut details. He also included lots of layers that mixed many textures, but nothing seemed too heavy for the season.

He also included miniskirts and walking shorts, cargo vests and track jackets.

CHRISTIAN SIRIANO<br>Siriano's spring girl is a traveler with attitude in search of unusual finds at the sea dressed in bright, airy coral pink, chartreuse and citrus.

And she was wrapped in miles and miles of crepe, chiffon and sheer organza - with enough ball gowns for multiple parties.

Siriano was going for thrown-together chic in effortless pairings of jersey stripe T-shirts and long, body-hugging skirts that flounced at the floor. Wide-legged crepe pants had easy drawstring waists and cropped beachcombers were matched with crepe blouses that had capes.

No recession runway for Rowley. She's ready for flash - and flowers.

The outfits certainly had spunk; no shrinking violet is going to wear an Asian-inspired "bouquet" tuxedo jacket with second-skin leggings in a zigzag print.

From there, Rowley moved on to a mesh leather T-shirt with tight, tiny trunks, and a metallic sweater with gold shorts adorned with black appliques.

Some looks had more of a balance of boldness and wearability, including a botanical-print dress with a henley-style neckline, and a gray sweatshirt-style top worn with a black skirt that teased the crowd.

Limeade. Lemon. Some of Taylor's colors sound so scrumptious they should be eaten.

The New Zealand-born designer said she was aiming this time for something "modern, ethereal and angelic." The angelic part was evident in filmy dresses - the "moonlight eyelet asymmetrical dress," for example, looked like a vintage nightgown.

Dresses like that and the "moonlight pieced T-shirt dress" looked both comfortable and delicate, but there were pieces with attitude, too, especially a series of garments made of "snake leather" (not the real thing): A dress, an apron top, a bomber jacket, a pair of pants. There was also a digital printed army jacket, paired with a lemon yellow dress.