Back To Top

Designers defy matchy-matchy wisdom for the mix

NEW YORK (AP) ― Most people are taught from a young age that they want their outfits to match.

Isn’t that why there are suits? And belts should complement shoes. And try to wear the same shades of black, right?

The biggest group of offenders to the conventional wisdom, however, is probably fashion designers. In the styles they’ve been previewing at New York Fashion Week, which hit its midpoint Sunday, it’s been “juxtaposition” this and “opposite” that.

“It’s all in the mix: feminine with masculine, sexy and slouchy, tailored with sport, chic with street,” according to notes for the DKNY show.

It was OK at Tracy Reese that a raffia lace dance skirt covered with circle patterns was worn with a floral cropped shirt, and a checkered backpack was strapped to a floral top.

Designers can do it well, sometimes, with years of experience mixing colors and patterns ― and having confidence. And times have changed, too.

“There’s more freedom now to express yourself through your clothes than there was 20 years ago, 50 years ago. You can wear that full feminine skirt with the man’s shirt. Go ahead, take your cues from the runway,” Reese said.
Diane von Furstenberg (AP-Yonhap News)
Diane von Furstenberg (AP-Yonhap News)

Tracy Reese (AP-Yonhap News)
Tracy Reese (AP-Yonhap News)

Tracy Reese

If there are maracas involved, it’s got to be a good time, right? Reese threw herself a little Cuba-themed party at New York Fashion Week on Sunday.

She said she was doing a little dance herself backstage ― hip shimmies and all ― as she watched the dresses, which she called “dulce vida dresses,” slouchy trousers and fedoras hit the runway. There was live music and bags of dried plantains were left on the chairs for the audience.

“This collection was so much fun,” she said in an interview “All the girls and the one guy in the office had the best time doing it.”


Twenty-five years in fashion is worth celebrating, and that’s what Donna Karan did Sunday at her DKNY show.

She was all smiles as she did her lap of the runway after her parade of flirty, colorful looks.

Karan wasn’t afraid to pay homage to the late 1980s when this brand ― geared toward a younger woman with a smaller paycheck than her signature collection ― was launched. The soundtrack was courtesy of the Beastie Boys, Run DMC and Aerosmith, and the backdrop was done in graffiti, reminiscent of New York’s grittier time.

“We celebrated the city of life,” she said. “It happens in New York City. They’re clothes that last forever. They’re clothes that have been inspired from nylons to lifestyle to yoga to bathing suits.”
Diane von Furstenberg (AP-Yonhap News)
Diane von Furstenberg (AP-Yonhap News)

Diane von Furstenberg

After four days of runway shows, it takes something special to get the fashion week crowd excited, and apparently Naomi Campbell is it.

Campbell, regarded by fashion insiders as queen of the catwalk, got the often jaded crowd cheering when she wore the finale look: a black, gold and white knit macrame sleeveless shift dress.

It fit into von Furstenberg’s broader theme of “oasis,” which also inspired some retro glam tunic-and-pants sets, ombre prints and a safari animal T-shirt dress worn by a model and von Furstenberg herself when she took her bow.

“What I wanted to do was create in this world that’s a little terrifying and scary, I wanted to create an oasis of peace, of beauty, of color and of harmony,” she said.

Cynthia Rowley

Cynthia Rowley was true to, well, Cynthia Rowley with fun and funky dresses and two-piece sets featuring thick embroidery.

A full, long skirt in rose was paired with the embroidery in yellow, one of the standouts at a presentation she turned into a Mexican fiesta in a cavernous hotel space that was once part of a seminary.

A short-sleeve dress in white with thin horizontal stripes had fans of blue embroidery at the chest and floppy, poppy red flower applique at the shoulders.

“For me, this season, I just wanted to be true to myself and my brand. It’s sporty, it’s pretty, it’s a little sexy, a little bit colorful, but also experimenting with a lot of new techniques,” she said.

Trina Turk

Turk’s show was a road trip and she packed all the necessities: bikini, jean jacket, mesh track pants and ― for date night ― a black-and-white striped cropped top and matching pencil skirt with a floral hemline.

The outfits she presented did have a decidedly West Coast vibe. She’s based in California, after all, but it’s not the first caftan stylists, editors and retailers have seen this season.

Turk, considered a contemporary label, which means youthful and more affordable than some, showed a knack for mixing textures ― a floral-sequin slip dress with a banded leather vest, for example.

“Mixed media and surface interest are key, in jacquards, mesh, washed lamb leather and textured print basecloths,” she said in her notes. “Fluid chambray, crepe and georgette add slouchy nonchalance. Combined patterns or matching total-look sets, we believe in both.”