Fashion Week Begins with a Conservative Touch

There is only one way to approach the start of the fall 2013 fashion season in New York, with a month of runway shows and an endless parade of clothes to follow. That is to dive right in and enjoy the scenery.So everyone was in Lincoln Center this morning to see Richard Chai's collection for men and women, but before the show could get started, there were celebrities to seat. Christina Ricci and Maggie Grace stepped onto the nightclub-dark-at-11 a.m. runway together, and were immediately walled in by the paps.Eric Wilson's posts on the runway shows.Handlers took away their coats and bags and coffee cups so the paps could see their outfits. Then the duo posed, only the petite one, Ms. Ricci, wearing flats, had to stand on her tippy toes so as not to appear in photos as Ms. Grace's little sister. This wasn't working. So Ms. Grace and Ms. Ricci posed separately.The music started up and sounded approximately like a dance remix of spooky theme songs from Alfred Hitchcock movies as if they were being peppily performed by the cast of "Glee." And most of the male models looked like Robert Pattinson, which suggested that Mr. Chai was going for a younger demographic this season with his mix of inky dark jacquards and quasi-grunge classics, like an oatmeal boyfriend coat worn over a slip dress of pale silk. Except that many of the clothes looked unusually office-appropriate, even a bit polished. A gray skirt suit was made up of a charcoal plaid jacket and a huggy skirt with front and back panels of purple and silver sequins.Also hewing to convention this season, at least more than in the past, was the Creatures of the Wind show that immediately followed. The designers of this cerebral insider label, Shane Gabier and Chris Peters, have previously given us collections somehow connected to 17th-century woodland creatures and Japanese movie monsters, so it was a mental relief that this one came with the title "Candy."The clothes were not exactly sweet, but there were a lot of flavors to be sampled in the C.O.T.W. store, including several tailored chesterfield coats and cute tunic dresses with rugby collars all made of patchworks of different materials (leather, wool, cotton). It was their version of color blocking.Vanessa Friedman writes about fashion-related news, from the latest runway shows and trends to an inside look into the design process. Contributors include Alexandra Jacobs, Matthew Schneier, John Koblin and Ruth La Ferla.On the Runway's daily features can now be found at the blog's topics page, as well as at the Styles home page.Readmore...The designer of the new Whitney Museum and the fashion house have created a handbag.Readmore...They reviewed their supply chains before other fashion sectors, use techno fabrics and know that their target customer cares about the environment. All that adds up to high rankings on sustainability indexes.Readmore...The Pantone company creates a new shade linked to the summer's "Despicable Me" spinoff, and all ready for the new royal baby. Readmore...He is the only creative director on Time magazine's "100 Most Influential People" list.Readmore...FollowAdvertisement

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