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Spectacle, celebrity mark New York Fashion Week

As New York Fashion Week passed the midway point, Monday was expected to bring spectacle, celebrity and style.

Carolina Herrera, a doyenne of the design world, showed a collection made new with digital prints and foam embellishments.

And designer Dennis Basso remembered his friend Joan Rivers, whose funeral he'd attended Sunday; the comedian and host of E! network's "Fashion Police" died on Sept. 4.

He kicked off his show with a recorded message -- "I would like to dedicate this collection to Joan Rivers who has brought laughter and happiness to all of us" -- followed by a minute of silence.

A day before, Versus Versace brought a technological twist to a runway show - allowing people to immediately buy runway looks. Edun, the brand founded by Bono and wife Ali Hewson, unveiled a Nigeria-inspired show. And Kendall Jenner, who first walked the runway at New York Fashion Week last spring, reappeared as a model for Diane Von Furstenberg.

A look at the highlights:

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CAROLINA HERRERA

It's not easy being Carolina Herrera after 34 years in fashion.

Coming up with something fresh to please customers while remaining loyal to her house this time around at New York Fashion Week had her turning to digital prints and foam geometric embellishments in colors fit for spring: reds in deep shades and bright neon, soft yellow and neutrals in a light mushroom tan.

This season, she endeavored to decode flowers in different ways. She pixelated a large red one with leaves in foam pieces sewn to the long full gown of one of her final looks, pairing it with a stiff bright white bodice.

Elsewhere, she used splashes of beading. One in deep red covered the front of a loose skirt above the knee with more of the same beading at the collar of a matching, boxy shortsleeved top.

The technical fabrics allowed her to mold some collars high off the neck, including a sporty knit open jacket in neon orange paired with a roomy white jersey top and loose trousers.

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VERSUS VERSACE

Talk about your one-stop shopping.

If you liked the sexy numbers on the Versus Versace runway Sunday night - many of them tight, short, black, and embellished with gold hardware - you could purchase them the moment the show ended. All the outfits were on sale at VersusVersace.com.

Such immediate shopping looks to become a Fashion Week trend - BCBG MaxAzria introduced a similar initiative at its show last week, though not every single look was available. It appears that designers want to capitalize instantaneously on the buzz surrounding their new collections - and not wait for others to knock off their looks before they've had a chance to sell them.

Rihanna was there, as was Nicki Minaj, Jennifer Hudson, supermodel Naomi Campbell, and young TV stars Bella Thorne and Victoria Justice. Donatella Versace, of course, was on hand to welcome everyone.

The new Versus Versace line, less expensive than the company's high-end line, was designed by Anthony Vaccarello, a Belgian of Italian descent. His collection had lots of sleek-fitting numbers in black, featuring gold buttons, lion's head piercings, buckles and breastplates..

The most evocative piece was a tight, one-shoulder black dress that had an entire body-length slit held together with clasps - recalling the famous Versace safety pin dress worn by actress Elizabeth Hurley at the 1994 premiere of "Four Weddings and a Funeral."

There were several men's items as well -- a black leather vest, for example, or white sneakers with more of that gold hardware.

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EDUN

The Africa-facing brand Edun, founded by Bono and his wife, Ali Hewson, printed dots on wide cropped pants in blue and red along with line patterns on bright white looks for its spring collection.

Designer Danielle Sherman said backstage after Sunday's show that the collection was Nigeria-inspired. She included large silver pendants to help represent "balance and unity," which also was expressed in the juxtaposition of perfect digitally-created circles mixed with irregular ones in prints.

Sherman carried the circle motif into large belt buckles. The dot trims popped in flame red against loose black pants and jackets.

Black leather trimmed a white and gray crop top worn with matching judo-inspired pants.

Shoes, including flats, were created to match the clothes, dots included, in another of the brand's collaborations with Manolo Blahnik.

Among the celebrity guests in Edun's front row: Rihanna, dressed elegantly in white, and Laurie Anderson, the widow of Lou Reed.

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DVF

You know that sullen model stare?

Diane von Furstenberg was having none of it at her New York Fashion Week show on Sunday, in which she channeled the theme of the sunny French Riviera in the 1950s. Many of her models smiled as they sauntered down the runway in little gingham numbers or other cheery prints that succeeded in being both sweet and sexy.

Those models included none other than supermodel Naomi Campbell, who closed the show in a short, multicolored chiffon "boudoir dress," delighting attendees like Whoopi Goldberg. Kendall Jenner, the model and half-sister of Kim Kardashian, also walked the runway.

And the designer herself? She broke into song as she acknowledged the crowd at the end, not merely waving from the runway entrance, as most designers do, but taking an entire lap around the runway, shaking hands, kissing friends and even singing a few bars of the 1970s song "Paroles Paroles" (Words, words) along with the soundtrack.

Before the show, von Furstenberg said she was thinking not just of the Riviera sun, but of French actress and sex symbol Brigitte Bardot, and also simply of "happiness," when she designed her collection for spring 2015.

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TIM COPPENS

"When your halo slips for good, you'll have to wear your hood."

So sang British rocker Ian Brown - and so wrote designer Tim Coppens in his notes Sunday for a New York Fashion Week show of brightly colored outerwear and slouchy crew-and-shorts sets in white, gray and black for both men and women.

Coppens began as a womenswear designer but has focused of late on men. Now, he's looking to beef up his offerings for women.

In a backstage interview, he said his inspirations for spring were part Brown, part papery sleeves used to protect vinyl records when they're slipped into album covers - and part Manchester soccer fans who used to wear trench coats.

Known for his use of technical fabrics, this time around there was a more fluid but still structured feel. For women, he used tight flowing pleating that flowed at the back.

As for those trench coats, his bright reds and blues might be a welcome sight in menswear departments.

And he didn't forget the hoods.

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OPENING CEREMONY

A little bit raunchy, a little bit sad and a little bit fashion show, the design house Opening Ceremony spoofed itself and the fashion industry Sunday night in a one-act play directed by Spike Jonze and written by Jonze and Jonah Hill.

During New York Fashion Week in February, the two college buddies who started Opening Ceremony in 2002, Humberto Leon and Carol Lim, treated their fashiony guests to a massive white wall that oozed chocolate.

This time, their new collection of clothes - and the models who wore them - were a backdrop to Elle Fanning as a bubbly new model, a foul-mouthed Catherine Keener as Lim and John Cameron Mitchell as a tightly wound, stressed-out Leon dealing with all the little details of putting on a show for a fashion week.

The clothes themselves came in bright orange, pink and black, featuring perforated neoprene in tops, skirts and trousers and lines in prints.

Opening Ceremony also showed off a smart bracelet collaboration it has with the chip maker Intel.

Called the MICA, for "my intelligent communication accessory," the cuff bracelet in at least two styles will feature a touchscreen worn on the inside of the wrist. It will be able to take in notifications, including texts, calendar reminders and social media updates, when it goes on sale at the holidays at Opening Ceremony stores and Barney's.

The estimated cost? Likely $300 or more.

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TRACY REESE

Tracy Reese had dancers pop out of the audience for a brief performance that opened her New York Fashion Week show Sunday, putting her inspiration for spring - the choreographer Martha Graham - into motion.

Reese divided her clothes into three "acts," along the lines of how Graham lived life: discipline, craft and exuberance, the designer explained backstage.

She built slowly from a series of dark black dresses and skirts in gabardine and stretch crepe to bright yellows, greens, pinks and purples in mixed prints and sparkly embellishments. She paired a wide-necked sweater patterned in a desert landscape with a miniskirt in a bright fuchsia floral. A green strapless maxi dress was printed with cactus flowers and worn with a raffia check jacket in another shade of green closer to kelly.

Her final "act," representing exuberance, included stretch crepe tops, pants and dresses in a hot pink. It was the same shade she used for her final gown, a cloque-patterned strapless maxi dress with a high waist.

Reese said she admired the way Graham lived her life.

"She talked a lot about taking the time to learn your craft and master it before you can go on and be free to fully express it," she said.

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VIVIENNE TAM

At Vivienne Tam's rollout of her spring 2015 collection, even black and white seemed colorful.

Here, there were no beiges, no tans, no pastels.

Inspired by treasures housed in Beijing's Forbidden Palace, pieces popped in cobalt blue, grass green and bright coral. There was embroidery, appliques, even a pearl inlaid dress - a glorious riot of textures, color and patterns.

Mesh dresses almost tricked the eye into believing they weren't quite so see through at all, covered as they were in traditional patters with leaves, flowers and branches. Almost. Among the pieces: bird-and-flower embroidered dresses, knee-length and long, both in mesh; a swingy teal cloisonne short-sleeved mesh shift; a slick red lacquer coated, fitted below-the-knee skirt, paired with a sporty, boyish black knit-color top.

Tam's versions of black and white were emboldened with texture, including a strapless dress with plum cut-out embroidery.

Uzo Aduba, who plays Crazy Eyes in the Netflix series "Orange is the New Black," had a front row seat, as did Carmen Electra.

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