NEW YORK (Reuters) - Soft, flowing dresses with mid-calf hemlines in pastel shades of blue, sea foam and grays dominated the runway on Monday as designer Carolina Herrera showed her Spring 2013 collection at New York Fashion Week.
The look was feminine, subtle and light as models seemed to float down the runway in wool-crepe long dresses, twill blouses matched with crepe flounce shorts and elegant color-blocked silk gowns with tulle overlays.
“It is a flirtatious collection with a focus on the essentials and proportions including long fluid skirts and shorts,” was how the Venezuelan-born, New York-based designer described her creations.
Shoulders were narrow, and Herrera hiked the waist toward the bustline with long, full skirts for an elongated silhouette that she paired with simple short-sleeved tops.
The designer who is known for her elegance and intricacy and is a favorite on the red carpet with her glamorous designs did not disappoint.
An ivory pleated silk gown included floral embroidery and an oyster snakeskin skinny belt. Another fully embroidered icy-white column gown featured a black tulle overlay.
Like the lace-backed Twilight wedding dress that Herrera designed for actress Kristen Stewart for the film “Breaking Dawn Part 1,” the collection had a timeless appeal.
Herrera’s love of prints was evident in a motif in pastel shades that she used in various dresses, blouses and skirts that gave a cohesion to the entire collection
“Every dress was stunning,” gushed a member of the audience that included activist and former rock star wife Bianca Jagger, actress Julianne Hough, tennis great Boris Becker and “Vanity Fair” editor Graydon Carter.
While Herrera opted for flirtation and romance, Norisol Ferrari, another Venezuelan-born designer, had Old Hollywood and actresses Marilyn Monroe, Rita Hayworth and Rita Moreno in mind when she designed her spring collection, which featured strong lines, bold colors and plenty of sex appeal.
She described the actresses as “all strong, confident women who command attention, desire and respect,” which could also be said of her designs.
With figure-hugging trousers, capris and shorts, fitted, tailored jackets cinched at the waist and pleated in the back and cropped tops, Ferrari celebrated the female form and emphasized all of its curves.
Each of the 33 designs had a suggestive title ranging from A Woman in Love and Girl’s Night Out to The Last Tango and An Affair to Remember.
Unlike other shows that feature young, waif-like models, many of Ferrari’s designs were modeled by women of a certain age, including one-time supermodel 51-year-old Carol Alt, who drew applause in a flowing, belted black and cream gown.
She was followed by Carmen Dell’Orefice, who turned 71 this year, and wowed the audience in a long-sleeve, fitted 30s style beige gown that was simply titled It’s Carmen.
The collection, which featured plenty of black, white, cream colors, had a La Dolce Vita glamour with column gowns, below-the-knee and tapered hemlines and sleek and waisted dresses with button details.
New York-based designer Zac Posen featured a similar look with his collection of gown and cocktail dresses, hourglass silhouettes and floor-dusting trains.
Naomi Campbell opened his show modeling a silk twill and chiffon day dress with a Rorschach-like pink hibiscus print, one of two floral designs that recurred throughout the collection.
Several gowns curved tightly through the waist and legs before billowing into clouds of silk, although he occasionally deviated from the hourglass silhouette with wide frilly flourishes at the waist. Posen also showed jumpsuits with wide-width pants.
The semi-annual Mercedes-Benz Fashion week attracts about 116,000 models, designers, buyers and wealthy customers to New York.
Additional reporting by Jonathan Allen; Editing by Ellen Wulfhorst and Richard Chang