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NY Fashion Week Opens With New Fall Trend: Freedom

By SAMANTHA CRITCHELL

NEW YORK (AP) â¿¿ From delicate purple skirts to thigh-high boots in lizard, New York Fashion Week opened Thursday with an anything goes vibe for fall.

"The trend is freedom," said Max Azria, who sent embroidered tunics, fur outerwear and delicate lingerie-style underpinnings down his runway on the first of eight days of previews.

Richard Chai focused on women's metallic military jackets and slim, ladylike purple skirt suits with man-tailored shirts underneath. Men shared the runway dressed in plaid suits and lean overcoats.

In addition to seasonal greens, berry tones and regal blues popped up on catwalks set up at Lincoln Center and around the city.

Tadashi Shoji was moved by an ice princess just right for a messy weather forecast of blizzard-like snow as Fashion Week headed into the weekend.

Shoji's muse was based on the notion of "exiled mobility" in looks that moved through the Russian Empire and the eventual fall of imperial rule. In shades of white and navy, she traveled from St. Petersburg in long, loose dresses with cascading backs and to Siberia and more peasant styles, including pouffy sleeves and pleated skirts.

For the Chicago-based designers behind Creatures of the Wind, there was a less intricate and more masculine look from seasons past with big, boxy jackets and a palette of black, brown, gray, navy and ivory. A splash of bright orange added color and a pattern of "broken geometry" a bit more interest.

Models on the runway of Kenneth Cole Productions were likely hoping to go home with his shearling coats, quilted puffer jackets and hearty boots. The show marked his return to the runway after a seven-year hiatus.

It's early in the designer previews for editors, stylists, retailers and bloggers, but there seems to be a utilitarian vibe emerging â¿¿ maybe a commentary that shoppers want clothes that offer function combined with fashion.

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