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NY Fashion Week Opens With New Fall Trend: Freedom

More than 100 shows are planned through Feb. 14 at Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week drawing editors, retailers, stylists and bloggers. The hordes shift to London, Milan and Paris after that.

BCBG MAX AZRIA

Azria and his design partner, wife Lubov Azria, were inspired by Istanbul's architecture and the Gypsies of southern Europe.

Printed boxy shift dresses were worn over fluid lingerie-like underpinnings. Long vests â¿¿ both fur and cashmere â¿¿ topped cozy crewnecks. There were more layers, with leather leggings or lizard thigh-high boots that appeared to peek out from the hemlines of dresses and sweaters.

"It sounds a little crazy, but it's also a little bit hippie. It's different than what we've been doing," Max Azria said backstage.

Why the change for fall from more structured styles the two went with for spring?

"My wife likes it all. She likes the colors, the prints, the textures. She likes to see a melange," he said.

RICHARD CHAI

Chai put on a little edge, but he kept his collection neat and trim.

He is among a few designers to include men and women on the same runway. Though they walked one by one, the crowd surely could envision couples: She in a metallic, military jacket and pencil skirt, he in a plaid suit.

Chai used emerald and the dustier, more botanical Linden greens that Pantone Inc., which provides color services to most of the fashion industry, put on its Top 10 list of the season.

The designer featured a lovely shade of light purple â¿¿ a little unusual for fall â¿¿ on a textured jacquard with a lacelike effect for a pencil skirt and matching peplum top. A man-tailored shirt underneath added a modernity and utility that Chai is developing as signatures.

Christina Ricci watched in an embellished blue top by Chai paired with black pants.

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