London Olympics inspires relaxed chic at New York Fashion Week

Thu Sep 6, 2012 2:12pm EDT
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By Michelle Nichols

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Pajama styles, track pants and bomber jackets are the trends that top U.S. department store buyers expect to see on the runways at New York's Fashion Week that started on Thursday - a relaxed chic they say was inspired by the London Olympics.

More than 80 designers will show collections for the spring/summer 2013 season as part of the semi-annual event. Many of the shows take place at Manhattan's Lincoln Center as part of the official Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week, while dozens more labels will parade their collections elsewhere in the city.

Dresses are likely to feature strongly on the runway, but buyers say this season will be all about sporty separates.

"The Olympics were probably on many designers' minds when they were designing these collections ... so we will see sporty jackets and track pants and some athletic inspirations," said Colleen Sherin, senior fashion director at Saks Fifth Avenue.

The excitement generated by the summer Olympics inspired designers to focus on comfort and ease, but while the athletes in London donned Spandex and cotton, designers will instead use luxurious materials such as leather and silk.

"It's hard to deny that everyone has been paying attention to the Olympics. We've been looking at these fit and healthy individuals and all these interesting sporty silhouettes," said Ken Downing, fashion director of Neiman Marcus.

"But it's not the idea of wearing casual clothes in casual fabrics. It's often this movement about doing something with a relaxed sensibility, with less structure, but often doing it in a very luxe fabric," said Downing, dubbing it "relaxed chic."

Sporty bomber and motorcycle jackets are expected to feature in a variety of fabrics and prints. "It's a jacket moment," Downing said.   Continued...