Updated at: 09/11/2013 2:05 PM
By SAMANTHA CRITCHELL
(AP) NEW YORK - Is it ever OK to _ gasp! _ step away from a trend? Absolutely, say some of the stylists, editors and designers gathered for New York Fashion Week.
After all, not everybody can or wants to pull on skimpy bra and cropped tops, a couple of styles popping up with some frequency by Tuesday, the sixth day of fashion week.
So who can skip a trend? Brad Goreski of Bravo’s "It’s a Brad, Brad World," said anybody can, if they know themselves well enough.
"Know your personal style. It all comes down to this," he told The Associated Press. "You want to challenge yourself to try different things." That, he said, means risking those "fashion fails," which is just fine, Goreski said.
Katie Holmes, while shopping the collection she showed as half of Holmes & Yang, agreed. Just maybe not so much for herself and a bra top she and Jeanne Yang created.
"I wonder if I could rock the bra top. I don’t know where I think I’m wearing it to rock the bra top, but it’s good to try. Maybe I’ll wear it to Starbucks," Holmes said with a laugh.
Avril Graham of Harper’s Bazaar said the prevalence of cutouts and bare midriffs on the runways certainly requires "a will, a swagger, some confidence." But she added:
"The wonderful thing is that there are plenty of other ideas on the runway that can work for the rest of the population."
And tricks if you can’t step away from trends, Goreski said. For example, he suggested, wear a high-waist skirt or jeans with a cropped shirt for just a sliver of skin.
Adam Glassman, creative director of O The Oprah magazine, said knowing when to let a trend go is key.
"I don’t think we all have to wear every trend. Some do wear the trends _ especially young people _ but you don’t have to. You have to be able to say, `That’s not for me.’ You have to be honest to yourself, honest to your lifestyle, honest to your body type. And it helps if you have honest friends," he said.
A sporty vibe during this round of spring previews is back _ and more forgiving than short tops that require more than a visit or two to the gym.
"It comes around every few years but it looks good, and there’s a way for a lot of people to wear it," Glassman said of sport-influenced fashion.
Like the beaded floral track pants with a knit top and heels at J. Crew, or an anorak or windbreaker with a pencil skirt.
And Graham said even the young and trendy should be careful when it comes to showing off skin: "Camera angles can be very unforgiving."
OSCAR DE LA RENTA
There’s nothing stuffy about the new Oscar de la Renta lady. Make that Lady, with a capital L. She likes to be dressed _ and dressed up _ because she knows it looks good.
Her navy-and-white checkered dress and cropped cape, and her white laser-cut dress make her feel like a million bucks. (No guessing on the price tag.)
The show was held Tuesday night for a small crowd. De la Renta chopped his guest list in half, saying he didn’t want a side show full of people with no legitimate reason to be there.
He offered several of his signature embellishment and embroideries _ anything else would have disappointed this crowd of loyalists. He used a very light touch, though, and the clothes exuded a happy, relaxed vibe. There were off-the-shoulder peasant tops, one in white lace and another in black sheer tulle, and a fancy embroidered tunic T-shirt.
The two finale gowns were worn by Karlie Kloss and Joan Smalls, an ivory strapless column gown with tiers of pearl and sequin embroidery, and a citron-yellow strapless gown with an overlay of black threadwork and sequins, respectively.
With the models flanking him on each side _ and each giving him a kiss on the cheek _ de la Renta took his bow.
Wang aimed for all As on her runway: artful, architectural and athletic.
She made the grade with silk gauze baseball jackets, chiffon gowns with mesh panels and often-beaded, racer-style backs and a stretch-mesh hoodie paired with a net bustier and stretch jersey skirt.
Many of her looks were black, which made the flashes of cobalt blue, geranium red and citron yellow more impactful. She used a painter’s brush-stroke print on camisole slips and chiffon gowns to make another visual statement, and delicate fabric petals decorated the back of slim-cut sheaths.
"My inspiration was sort of artsy, but also quite clean and a lot of collaging and athleticism ... athletic details to the very central, romantic dresses. It’s very much based on sport and the body and movement," she said.
Model Chrissy Teigen and fiance John Legend were in the front row. Both said they were fans of Wang.
"I think I have pretty good taste," Legend said. "I don’t like obsess over it, but I care how I look, so and I care how she looks, too," he said of Teigen. "She has great style."
The design duo turned out pearls, beads and tweeds. After all, you need a lot of options if you’re a Jazz Age heiress who fantasizes jumping off the yacht _ anchored in the French Riviera _ and turning into a beautiful mermaid in the moonlight.
That’s the elaborate scenario Mark Badgley and James Mischka dreamed up for their spring collection muse. It was a lot of moving parts, and that’s how they wanted it, literally and figuratively. It’s what keeps things interesting, they said.
"We wanted a lot of movement," Mischka said.
The crowd certainly got that when models came out wearing wide-leg pleated palazzo pants (some with belly-baring tops), a slinky draped red gown and an all-over beaded skirt with metallic fringe.
A seafoam-green gown with slivers of silver floated on the runway, seemingly light as the air _ or the sea.
Burch was inspired by the French Riviera in the `60s, where women would wear cute trapeze dresses to show off their legs and could turn a swim shirt and mini into an outfit worthy of a prime spot at a seaside cafe.
When the sun goes down, there were halter dresses to show off their tans on their shoulders, and other cocktail looks with jeweled collars and cuffs to add sparkle. Burch took the scarves these ladies surely would have had around their necks and turned them into a button-down shirt and a cotton sundress.
She paired a lattice cutout leather jacket with a lattice lace skirt. A block-print anorak _ collar up _ was worn with a matching-print dress.
"I love the easy elegance of the movie `La Piscine’ and Romy Schneider’s character," she said.
Their fall collection was inspired by Northern California, where they grew up, and so the Mulleavy sisters of Rodarte decided that for spring, they needed to head south _ to Los Angeles, where they live now.
"I always knew it would be a two-part story," said Laura Mulleavy, who designs with her sister, Kate. "We had to do LA next, to create a balance."
For those who have followed the Mulleavys, this collection was a far cry from the ethereal, soft clothes they created, for example, two years ago when their inspiration was Vincent Van Gogh. The current collection was heavy on urban edge, attitude and a strong street vibe.
Many of the ensembles were surprisingly flashy, such as beaded bra tops shimmering with Swarovski crystal elements. One of these came in leopard, adding to the nightclub effect. Sometimes these tops were paired with much more toned-down accompaniments _ for example, a nice tweed jacket.
There was lots and lots of fringe: On faux leather skirts, for example, and on silk shorts _ or, for a fancier look, on a white silk jacquard and silk satin dress. Speaking of shorts, they were often so short, it sometimes looked like the models had nothing on underneath their jackets.
The calendar hasn’t even flipped to fall yet, but so many collections at New York Fashion Week are already trained on next summer’s vacation _ J. Crew included.
Technically, these previews are for spring, but an ivory floral neoprene skirt, Hawaiian-flower jumpsuit and knit T that says "Out Mon Cherie" are headed straight to the beach.
The white eyelet and black organza dresses are for a more luxurious European holiday, one with the trappings of luxury from a century ago.
The mint-colored iridescent lace skirt with an aloha crew-neck shirt brought those two worlds together. There was one outfit with blue stripes on a white-based sailor shirt, paired with a snakeskin jacket in the reverse color scheme.
"The key inspiration is duality of each life: The California coast ... tied in with beach life of the Italian coast," said Tom Mora, head of women’s design for the brand, in a pre-show interview. "There are delicate pieces with bold, surf-inspired pieces that have kind of a Malibu style."
VICTORIA, VICTORIA BECKHAM
Fresh from presenting her signature collection, Beckham showed her contemporary line by appointment.
She said she also likes to meet with customers. "I do a lot of in-store events, and this is the shape women want," Beckham said of a burnt-orange T-shirt dress.
Beckham wore the most daring silhouette: a quilted, pouffy sky blue dress with a black grosgrain-ribbon hemline and crinoline underneath. It was an unexpected look for a woman who is typically photographed in clean, lean looks.
"There are two sides of my wardrobe, for both sides of my suitcase, one is collection and one is this," she said.
AP writers Jocelyn Noveck and Nicole Evatt contributed to this report.
(Copyright 2013 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)