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More Coincidence Than Conspiracy At Fashion Week

By SAMANTHA CRITCHELL

NEW YORK (AP) â¿¿ During every season of designer previews at New York Fashion Week a few key, quirky items seem to pop up on different runways. They're not quite trends since one has to think they're partly for runway effect not retail orders, but they're part of the style zeitgeist nonetheless.

This time there were fur mittens â¿¿ oversized like boxer mitts â¿¿ at Alexander Wang and Altuzarra. What were the odds? And how does the ball start rolling on items such as oversized fur mittens, harnesses or sleeveless coats?

It's safe to say designers don't take a meeting together to decide what direction to go in.

"The honest answer is some of it is plain and simple coincidence," said Cindi Leive, editor in chief of Glamour magazine. "These designers are creating hundreds of looks over the course of a season. It would be more unusual if there were no overlap."

Still, she said, there also are fashion cycles and sociological factors to consider as catwalk collections are prepared.

Take fur â¿¿ both real and fake. Leive said Sunday it has been on every runway so far on this fourth of eight days of fashion week.

After the recession, no one was touching fur, she said, but it has slowly made a comeback as people feel a little more comfortable about spending money. The interpretation this go-around has been impactful, with an emphasis on oversized unexpected fur touches such as hoods, handbags and boots, but they're not as expensive as a full-length coat.

It's important for fashion insiders to be aware of what's happening in other parts of culture, including politics and art, said Marie Claire executive editor Nina Garcia earlier in the week as she prepared to judge aspiring designers at "Project Runway."

"Successful designers soak it all in," she said.

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