Pleats, plaid and color at New York Fashion Week

Thu Feb 17, 2011 11:18am EST
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By Michelle Nichols

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Pleats and plaid, rich colors, longer hemlines, wide-leg trousers and luxurious outerwear are some of the key trends to emerge from New York Fashion Week for fall and winter 2011, buyers and experts say.

Many designers showed looser silhouettes, which experts say have a broader appeal because they are easier to wear, and there was an emphasis on separates, allowing wary consumers to add to their wardrobe instead of having to buy a whole new outfit.

Designers have drawn inspiration from decades past -- from the 1930s for Vera Wang's collection to the 1990s for Tibi -- and even the engagement of Britain's Prince William to Kate Middleton, says Neiman Marcus Fashion Director Ken Downing.

"There's a real nod to England, Kate Middleton is definitely in the air," Downing said. "This idea of 'Town and Country' dressing where there's a lot of tweeds, we're seeing a lot of plaids."

"Pleated skirts are a home run ... because they're figure-flattering, they're feminine, they're romantic, be it to the knee or to the floor, it's going to speak to many women," he said, adding, "I see Lurex knits as being the new sequin."

Almost 90 designers officially showed at the biannual New York Fashion Week, which ends on Thursday and is followed by events in London, Paris and Milan. In New York, many other fashions shows were held on the fringes of the main event.

Designers and retailers are more conscious that consumers want value for money amid a tepid U.S. economy, experts said.

"Designers were and are still designing for the consumer that was in a spending cocoon," said Marshal Cohen, chief analyst for NPD Group. "Look for bright colors to compliment the wardrobe. Look for items rather than only outfits."   Continued...

<p>A model presents a creation from the Anna Sui Fall/Winter 2011 collection during New York Fashion Week February 16, 2011. REUTERS/Lucas Jackson</p>