New York Fashion Week style report: a mix of beach chic and elegance with an edge

There was a 1970s, Caribbean feel to Tommy Hilfiger’s New York Fashion Week show.
There was a 1970s, Caribbean feel to Tommy Hilfiger’s New York Fashion Week show. Randy Brooke for Tommy Hilfiger

Phew, it’s over. Because New York Fashion Week was quite a fancy workout.

This year, the spring/summer collections from some of the world’s top designers were literally scattered all about the city, wearing down many a stiletto.

For the past five years, the must-attend event for style hounds was anchored at Lincoln Center, and before that the so-called tents at Bryant Park. This time around, there was no official base camp. Shows were held in SoHo as well as in Chelsea and Midtown, making a Metrocard — a fast pass to the gritty yet efficient subway — the handiest accessory.

“I wasn’t really sure what to expect this year because it didn’t have a central hub,” says Miami style blogger Ginger Harris, aka the Electric Blogarella. “I was afraid all the moving around was going to kill some of the spirit. But it wasn’t as chaotic as I expected. It’s still about the clothes.”

Right. Most fashion-crazy attendees would likely have traveled across the Sahara Desert barefoot to see the haute couture womenswear from legendary old-school labels as well as greener, hip-to-the-scene talents.

“If I had to go five places to see them instead of one, I was willing to do it,” adds Harris. “I just chalked it up to changes of scenery being nice.”

And the prizes for such physical strain were great. From the roughly dozen shows we attended, we sussed out some gorgeous highlights and trends you’ll start seeing in a few months in stores.


BCBG Max Azria husband-and-wife team Max and Lubov Azria were reportedly inspired by the state of California, but there’s no reason why South Floridians can’t join in on the festivities. Models strutted out in beach-ready wear, perfect for our eternal summer — flowing dresses, palazzo pants, snuggly ponchos and tie-dye tees that could take you from the chaise lounge to a concert at Bayfront Park.

Over on the Desigual catwalk, Miami-based model Karolina Kurkova sat front row to get a full-on view of the Barcelona designer in all its hippie-chic glory and geometric, almost clashing prints. Sportier Lacoste’s Olympic-inspired runway featured madcap patterns mixed with patriotic stars as well as an inordinate amount of capes.

More for us to relate to: Tommy Hilfiger paid homage to the Caribbean’s island lifestyle with happy tropical hues, laid-back silhouettes, and such retro touches as crochet hats and espadrilles.

“Welcome to paradise,” Hilfiger wrote in his press materials. “It’s all about wanderlust this season. There are no rules, so sit back and relax.”


Karigam’s creative director Karina Gomez kept it simple for the line’s debut. The part-time Miami resident, who also works at her family’s import/export company Airemark Industries LLC, sent out models in clothing that can best be summed up as sophisticated, minimalist and elegant. Think part Robert Palmer video, part sci-fi fantasy: lots of neutrals, slicked back hair, zippers and warped hemlines.

“I was inspired by the melding of the futuristic geometric, technological and asymmetrical references of present-day Manhattan architecture,” says the native Venezuelan, adding that countrywoman Carolina Herrera is an “icon.”

Gomez, who landed Sports Illustrated Swimsuit looker Hilary Rhoda as the face of her first ad campaign, just launched an e-commerce site, It should be up and running later this month.

Already fans: Solange Knowles, Jamie Chung and NeNe Leakes, who were seen first row at the newbie’s show. Fellow attendee Word on the Street blogger Cherie Corso appreciated Karigam’s duster coats: “I’m six feet tall, so the long jackets frame an outfit for me,” she said. “I also liked the mesh and sheer color blocking. It says take a little peek, I have a lot to say but I’m not showing it all.”


Denim is (sort of) back. Gabrielle Union attended Wes Gordon in a sleek, charcoal-belted contraption and seriously owned it. Swim Week staple Mara Hoffman trotted out a gorgeous specimen clothed in a jean jacket similar to ones that are probably in the back of your closet right now. Only Hoffman’s was adorned with hand-painted birds. Tweet! Harris says Hoffman’s Willie Nelson-influenced presentation was one of her favorites: “It had a bluegrass feel, and the prints she used were colorful, fun and something I would happily slip into.”


Betsey Johnson never disappoints. The Dancing with the Stars alum, 73, refuses to follow the fashion flock; her colorfully clownish getups (tutus included) are eternal. So is Johnson. Her quirky-as-always show, “The Curious Case of #BetseyButton,” was a retrospective of her 50 years in the biz.


No big surprise: Colorful flowers bloomed on many a catwalk. Taiwanese designer Malan Breton named his presentation of stunning silk creations “Reflections,” after his country’s largest body of water, Sun Moon Lake. Elaborate tattoos took the places of jewelry. The UK’s Jenny Packham, a hit with the Duchess of Cambridge, was one of the more successful with the floral theme: very feminine, very springy, very afternoon tea party. Say this latter sentence with an English accent and you’ll get the drift.


If you can't afford a whole new wardrobe of haute couture, there are more accessible ways to play dress-up. In her debut NYFW show, former reality star Lauren Conrad stayed true to a girly vibe with animal printed jumpsuits, ethereal dresses and lacy rompers. Did we mention LC Runway is on the racks at Kohls?


If, after reading this article, you’ve decided to stick with the wardrobe you’ve already got, you’re not alone.

“New York Fashion Week is entertainment,” commented Miss Universe Paulina Vega at Fashion Shenzhen, which showcased various Far East styles (among them embellished frocks with Victorian necklines, empire waistlines and ruffly hems). “Some stuff you see is crazy and so out there that you would never wear it, but it’s still fun to look at.”

Madeleine Marr : 305-376-3740, @madeleinemarr

Hip to the Scene

Put these trends on your radar, says lifestyle expert/TV contributor Cherie Corso: Sheer, layered fabrics; uneven hems; a mix of textures and fabrics such as knit with silk and lace; long, thin coats; maxi-dresses; pastel blazers with big buttons, worn as shirts; form-fitting dresses with surprises, like a zipper going across or a piece of mesh over the cleavage area; hair in braids and twists; dramatic makeup such as bright eyeliner and a pop of sheer color on lips. Shoes: foamy sandals with a little platform are where it’s at.