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New York welcomes Fashion Week with slush in the streets and boots on the runways

NEW YORK, N.Y. - New York welcomed Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Thursday amid icy sidewalks, crosswalks piled high with slush and temperatures in the 20s.

Even dedicated fashionistas mostly wore boots to attend the shows rather than stiletto pumps. And since designers were showing their fall-winter collections in the tents at Lincoln Center and other venues around town, it made sense that boots and inviting outerwear — from bathrobe coats at Richard Chai to purses that looked like fur muffs at BCBG Max Azria — were in abundance on the runways.

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ORANGE IS THE NEW — WELL, YOU KNOW

The strapless jumpsuit actress Samira Wiley wore Thursday to the BCBG Max Azria runway show was quite different from the one she might wear as Poussey Washington, her character on the Netflix prison-themed series "Orange is the New Black." But the colour was no accident: "Of course it's orange!" she said. (Though the design house called it red.)

Wiley also wore stylish pumps, which she acknowledged gave her some trouble on the icy streets, but most other attendees bundled up in wool sweaters and boots. Designers Max and Lubov Azria dressed their runway models in relatively sensible — relatively, we stress — knee-high black leather boots rather than the usual strappy sky-high stilettos.

There was lots of fur, too — in a fox-fur scarf, for example, or a fur motorcycle jacket, or a ginger-hued coat with a raccoon collar, or a shearling tunic in the appetizingly named colour of "soy chai." Shearling leather capes looked warm, as did purses that looked like big fur muffs — called "hand-warmer clutches."

The city is still digging out from a snowstorm earlier this week, with another expected in a few days. But Azria said it was no big deal. "I think the weather is beautiful," he said.

—Jocelyn Noveck, http://twitter.com/JocelynNoveckAP

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HIGH HEELS AND SLUSH DON'T MIX: RICHARD CHAI'S MODELS IN SENSIBLE SHOES

Thank you, Richard Chai, for the sound winter footwear and bathrobe coats on your wintry runway.

Snowy weather outside and streets covered in slush had many fashionistas attending New York Fashion Week in no-slip, sensible footwear. Chai did the same for his model men in snow boots and ski caps.

No doubt the ladies showing off Chai's Love collection for women also appreciated their low-heeled mules and ankle boots to go with all that bedroom hair and the slouchy, wide-belted bathrobe coats in plaid and sage green.

Fall jackets and trousers in black and toffee: noted, along with a touch of dazzle in disco sequins.

—Leanne Italie, http://twitter.com/litalie

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FOR A GOOD CAUSE: WALKING THE RED DRESS SHOW RUNWAY

It's become a traditional kickoff to New York Fashion Week: The Red Dress Collection, where celebrities, many of them not professional models — walk the runway in red dresses to draw awareness to heart disease.

The first Red Dress show was held in 2001 at the beginning of the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute's campaign to reach out specifically to women. Models over the years have included Christie Brinkley, Heidi Klum, Liza Minnelli and Kim Kardashian.

This year, there's a special emphasis in Thursday evening's show on getting the word out to younger women that they, too, need to take care of their hearts. And so, a number of celebrities in their 20s and even younger are joining in.

Like 16-year-old actress Bella Thorne, best known as an aspiring young dancer on the Disney Channel series "Shake It Up."

In a phone interview before arriving in New York, Thorne acknowledged a bit of nerves, noting that even though she has childhood modeling experience, she wondered how it would be to walk down the runway in "really tall gold heels," accompanying her Badgley Mischka dress.

"I might fall over," she said. "I'll just keep smiling, I guess."

—Jocelyn Noveck, http://twitter.com/JocelynNoveckAP

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JUST THE THING FOR A WINTER'S DAY: MOHAIR WRAP COAT

It seemed that everyone was talking about the weather on Thursday, or at least thinking about it.

Asked in a backstage interview to define the overall mood of their new collection, the designers of the Creatures of the Wind label, Shane Gabier and Christopher Peters, came up with the words "enveloping and warm."

The two opened their show Thursday with something that indeed fit the bill on a very cold day: a black-and-ecru mohair wrap coat.

Shoes were the one thing that could have used more warmth: They were open-toed.

"Well, not everybody lives in New York," quipped Gabier.

—Jocelyn Noveck, http://twitter.com/JocelynNoveckAP

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SPANISH BRAND DELPOZO: GEOMETRIC INSPIRATION, A-LIST VINDICATION

The Spanish brand DelPozo is back for its third New York Fashion Week show, offering a fall-winter collection in which geometric shapes play an important role, along with light blue, brown and beige colours, and wool and organza fabric.

DelPozo showed for the first time last year at New York Fashion Weeks in February and September. The shows attracted an A-list crowd, which is unusual for first-timers. Kiernan Shipka, who plays young Sally on "Mad Men," wore a DelPozo design to the 2013 Emmys and landed on several best-dressed lists. And Sarah Jessica Parker posed in a DelPozo floral dress for February's InStyle magazine.

The brand's creative director Josep Font took over after its founder, Spanish designer Jesus del Pozo, died in 2011. Font's 2014 collection is inspired by the futuristic novel "Logan's Run" and Italian painter Duilio Barnabe, known for his geometric post-cubist works.

DelPozo has a store in Madrid and recently opened another in Miami, with designs sold in 17 cities, including Hong Kong and Dubai.

—Claudia Torrens, http://twitter.com/ClaudiaTorrens

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SKINNY MODELS WEARING SPANX — NOT THAT THEY NEED SPANX

Fashion Week events began taking place around Manhattan several days before the official kickoff Thursday at the tents.

On Tuesday evening, Spanx sent skinny models down a runway in teensy boy shorts, Wonderbras and the stretchy shapewear that helped make Spanx inventor Sara Blakely a very wealthy woman.

Victoria's Secret Angel Miranda Kerr was on hand for the lingerie walk.

Compared to Wonderbra, founded in 1935, Spanx is the new kid. Blakely launched her brand in 2000 and added Manx (Spanx for men) in 2010.

—Leanne Italie on Twitter, http://twitter.com/litalie

The Canadian Press


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