Rachel Roy was at Vera Wang's New York Fashion Week show Tuesday, in a choice seat next to John Legend. Tory Burch regularly attends the shows of Narciso Rodriguez and Proenza Schouler. Diane von Furstenberg always makes room for Oscar de la Renta, and Tommy Hilfiger took in Belstaff.
Fashion has a reputation for being cutthroat, but there are friendships and mentorships as well that don't always get their due.
"I'm a big believer in supporting others," Burch said in a backstage interview.
Models are part of the glue here, too. Jessica Stam made it to the Chelsea space where Thom Browne was showing and Coco Rocha made a quick change from von Furstenberg's front row to Zac Posen's backstage.
Karlie Kloss was on the red carpet for the Grammy Awards, hosting coverage for MTV. She took an overnight flight from Los Angeles to New York to walk in Carolina Herrera's morning show Monday.
"These are my friends. That's why I got back in time. It's a family reunion at Fashion Week," Kloss said. "It's a common misconception that we don't get along but its not really true. ... To have a long career, you have to get along."
Roy decided to take her show digital this year, which meant an earlier deadline for her looks. She found the newfound freedom had at least one unexpected perk: "I can go to more of my friends' shows!"
John Galliano, who is on a three-week guest stint at de la Renta's studio, did not make a front-of-the-house appearance at the designer's show Tuesday, Day 6 of fall previews that wrap up Feb. 14. Shows follow in London, Milan and Paris.
OSCAR DE LA RENTA
De la Renta did have company on the runway for his bow: models Karlie Kloss and Magdalena Frackowiak. He also had famous fashion designers -- friends Diane von Furstenberg and Valentino -- in the front row.
Nowhere to be seen, however, was John Galliano, who is in the middle of a three-week stint working in de la Renta's studio. The question on guests' minds was if Galliano, fired from Christian Dior two years ago after an anti-Semitic rant was caught on video, would stay at de la Renta's house longer.
They were left to continue the rumor mill, but for the 15 minutes of show, they were fully engrossed in the show.
There seemed distinct segments of the collection: the uptown lady who wears a belted shawl-collar jacket; the artsy jetsetter who wears her black-and-ivory, Toile-print quilted skirt suit with panache; and the young socialite who can rock a shocking-pink ballgown with gold embroidery.
A delicate nude gown with black-bead embroidery likely is headed straight for the red carpet on a top Hollywood star.
Mark Badgley and James Mischka are big movie buffs, and it shows in their clothes as they always seem attracted to silver-screen femme fatales.
Their fall collection had a film-noir vibe that always does well for them on the modern Hollywood red carpet. This time, the inspiration was Alfred Hitchcock movies - their favorite being "Vertigo."
Kim Novak as a muse makes so much sense, Badgley said. "She's confident with a little bit of a dark, sexy side."
She also wears polished silhouettes like pencil skirts, fur stoles, halter-top gowns and tops with peplums very well, which fits the Badgley Mischka aesthetic perfectly.
This customer, though, also likes her shine. For fall, she gets a black-and-oyster lame dress, a metallic tweed suit and a jet-black silk and wool gown with a beaded back, cutout bodice and mermaid hemline.
All the pretty young things who wear Packham's gowns on the red carpet are about to get a lesson in old-world glamour.
Think farther back than Hollywood's golden age, farther back than Art Deco -- even farther back than the Edwardian era. Packham's fall collection was based on noble 17th-century Parisians, the women who would gather in their salons to discuss literature, politics and art.
"These women were educated, wealthy and influential -- they even liked politics. They were like early feminist groups," joked Packham backstage.
It seems they got to do quite a bit of lounging, and that came through in some of Packham's dressing gowns, robe-style silhouettes and powder-colored satins. They also knew how to ramp it up without ever being inappropriate. Packham played with that by showing some body-hugging looks that had high necks and keyhole slashes.
She also put a twist on the beaded gown, covering the whole thing in an extra layer of tulle, which added dimension and a little bit of mystery.
Burch has a confession she shared on the runwy: "I love bugs -- at least from a design standpoint."
She decorated a chiffon button-down shirt with scarabs and used jeweled ones on a silk skirt. Embellished dragonflies were subtly placed on some of the shoes - remember Burch's roots are in accessories - making them an instant, must-have status symbol.
But Burch didn't go looking in dark corners for inspiration. She tried to envelop metallic fabrics, the textures of Gustav Klimt's portraits and a free-spirited mood all into the overarching theme of Art Nouveau.
She found inspiration in many weekend outings to The Neue Galerie. "I was an art history major. ... I just like to go to see the Klimts. I love his attention to color, detail and texture."
Design sisters Laura and Kate Mulleavy grew up in sunny Santa Cruz, Calif., and evoked their seaside hometown in their fall collection.
But perhaps only to them. "It's really our own version of it," Laura Mulleavy said backstage.
The beachy feel came across most strongly in prints -- especially a tie-dye motif in silk satin, which appeared in a host of flowing gowns in pink, blue, red and black.
There were even some Grateful Dead references in the mix -- with the iconic Northern California band appearing via brilliant red-rose embroidery on the fanciest dresses, along with Swarovski crystals.
In the collection's most unusual element, many of the tie-dye gowns were embellished with large, futuristic-looking collars and other attached pieces made of what the sisters call 3-D double-faced foam.
John Legend and fiance model Chrissy Teigen, Jada Pinkett Smith and Christine Baranski were on the front row to see ready-to-wear collection of Vera Wang.
Wang has embraced a high level of artistry for her bridal and red-carpet customers, but it was new for her ready to wear. "It was time for us to raise the bar," she said.
"It's going to be all about the collaging of different fabrics, different scales, different textures and different embroideries," she explained.
The first look out was a refined black wool sleeveless coat with an exaggerated arm and capelike collar that was paired with a racer-neckline shift dress. Wang folded fabric like origami to create wool-silk tops, and then topped them over the chest with a silk band.
For eveningwear, if anyone could start the trend for trousers on the red carpet, it's Wang. Her finale rose-printed gray jacquard chiffon blouse and delicate evening robe worn with gray rose-printed pants would be a strong contender.
VICTORIA, VICTORIA BECKHAM
Fresh off the positive feedback for her high-end label, Beckham offered "zip-and-go" dressing for her more affordable line.
More affordable -- but to a point, as Beckham herself acknowledged. "It's still expensive," she noted, "but a little less, and maybe something more women can buy."
Beckham said she focused the collection on the concept of easy, quick dressing. "You don't have to think about it - you just get inside and go," she said.
As an example, she cited her very first item at Tuesday's presentation: A sleeveless gray wool jumper with a low V-neck and white button-down shirt attached inside.
MARC BY MARC JACOBS
The younger, trendier line of Marc Jacobs was a polished and quiet throwback to the 1960s.
He stuck mostly with pant suits, wool shift or trapeze dresses and coats in solids, accented with a sprinkling of white-and-black stripes and large leaf prints in autumnal red, orange-red, green, purple and a rich deep blue.
The female models, with fluffy curled hair and bright red lips, looked like they were ready to get on an airline flight to mix a little business with pleasure, while the men in plaid wool blazers could have been running off to a campus club meeting.
Trousers for both genders provided an updated look to the mod-style dresses and coats.
The designer was looking at a photo album not long ago and happened on a snapshot of her mother, back in France decades ago, in apres-ski attire.
It inspired her current collection. "I just wanted to recreate that easy elegance that she had in that photo, that sophistication but also practicality," Theallet said.
She began her show with a couple of elegant wool coats - not oversized or boxy or futuristic, as many designers have shown this season, but sleek and tailored.
Theallet moved into silky skirts and dresses, including an eye-catching, one-shouldered gray frock with a colorful print peeking out from a slit in the front. Some had a print of petals or leaves, either alone or covered by a sheer layer.
Especially appealing were her sleeveless sweaters - paired with soft, flouncy, feminine skirts - and a series of long and flowing dresses, a few of them backless with pretty and unusual strap details.
Turk focused her presentation on "elevating the sophistication level of what we do. More layered looks, textures and rich colors."
Those rich, fall-like colors were readily visible: Plums, as in a crepe jumpsuit with a silk georgette blouse and long leather plum gloves. Wines, as in a lush lamb and rabbit coat. Purples, as in a bright toggle coat. Or saffron, as in a pair of patchwork trousers.
There was also a wildly colorful column dress in what Turk calls an "Embarcadero" print. And there were shorts, albeit in fall and winter fabrics, like houndstooth.