Navy likely new black at New York Fashion Week

Wed Feb 8, 2012 12:49pm EST
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By Michelle Nichols

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Navy is likely to replace black on the catwalk when New York Fashion Week starts on Thursday, with experts expecting rich fabrics, waist-defining jackets and some 1920s-inspired styles sparked by movies like The Artist.

Dresses will continue to feature strongly among the 90 or so designers showing fall 2012 collections, experts say, because of the wide appeal to consumers who are more thoughtful and focused on value as the United States emerges from recession.

A dress is seen as more tempting because it allows women to skip the extra, and sometimes more costly, step of having to coordinate skirts or pants with a blouse or T-shirt.

"Dresses perform very well. Women love a dress," said Ken Downing, fashion director of luxury chain Neiman Marcus. "It's such an easy way to look amazing. It's effortlessly chic ... it goes from coffee to cocktails."

"Navy will be the neutral of the season," he said.

Downing said some designers will have drawn inspiration for a "modernized flapper" style from the silent film "The Artist" and Woody Allen's "Midnight in Paris" - both nominated for several Academy Awards - and the pending release of director Baz Luhrmann's remake of "The Great Gatsby."

But he cautions this does not mean an immediate return to the dropped waist dresses that defined the 1920s era.

"Many designers really understand the importance of celebrating a woman's shape and clothes that are reflective of her curves are always the most popular," he said. "Women spend a lot of time at the gym ... they want credit for how they look."   Continued...

<p>Designer Carolina Herrera poses for a portrait as she takes a break from preparing for her upcoming show in New York's Fashion Week at her studio in New York February 2, 2012. REUTERS/Lucas Jackson</p>