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After hundreds of shows, what will work in stores?

Friday - 9/13/2013, 12:17am  ET

The Marc Jacobs Spring 2014 collection is modeled during Fashion Week in New York, Thursday, Sept. 12, 2013. (AP Photo/John Minchillo)

SAMANTHA CRITCHELL
Associated Press

NEW YORK (AP) -- Now that we've seen hundreds, maybe thousands, of outfits on the New York Fashion Week runways, what's going to stay in our collective memory?

And we speak of the big, giant WE. Fashion editors, stylists and retailers fill the seats at shows but the looks are beamed everywhere -- and pretty much instantly. You'll start seeing consumers copying them sooner -- and maybe more inclined to shop, said Sally Singer, creative digital director at Vogue.

But she still thinks spenders like direction from insiders.

"Ultimately, retailers pick trends. They decide what people will buy because it's what they believe in to put into stores," she said. "Things that work at retail are things that might not be from this season's runway."

Hello, cropped tops?

But there are some trends that do work, she said: The great menswear-inspired button-down shirts, for example, from the placket-front nightshirt to the crispest collared shirt, the flashes of sheerness, the fuller skirts and even palazzo pants for evening.

Jay Fielden, editor-in-chief of Town & Country magazine, said he focuses more on muses, or general inspirations, that leave a lasting impression than single items.

"From a man's point of view, there were a few women who came out of the shows: the super-sexy girl showing her goods, the very refined elegant look that's more of a throwback to a real woman, the tomboy, and the girl who has brains and doesn't wear things aimed at a man, although I'm a guy who can like that."

Oscar de la Renta and Carolina Herrera's modern twist on an old-school sophisticate is "the way any man would like his wife to dress -- effortless perfection," Fielden said.

Some designers offered true moments of fashion "direction," said Singer, including Proenza Schouler's show, which featured long pleated metallic skirts. "That's a show that will transcend the week."

Other top picks from Singer included Michael Kors, for "modern pretty clothes," and Narcisco Rodriguez, for a cut that fit like a glove.

There wasn't, however, a huge, groundbreaking swing from aggressive tough girl to a hippie chick, for example -- and don't expect that to happen again soon. You'll notice the evolution of a tight, nipped shoulder to a rounder, softer one, or skinny jeans to wide-leg pants instead, Singer said.

"You realize it has shifted when you feel like you are in the wrong thing," she added.

Don't start the shopping list just yet, though. While the New York previews ended Thursday night with Marc Jacobs, there are still weeks to go in London, Milan and Paris.

___

MARC JACOBS

Jacobs closed eight days of spring previews with a memorable show, for sure. He put on a stifling parade of dripping hot models against a decaying beach backdrop in an armory that felt like a billion degrees.

Catwalkers, including Cara Delevingne, wore high-necked wool and lace numbers decorated with tassels and beads on a boardwalk above black sand strewn with garbage and an abandoned bus.

The lucky models wore Hawaiian print Bermuda shorts and sequin tourist sandals, the flat Velcro-close ones that grandma might wear with socks.

That floral print, though, turned into some fabulous eveningwear that wasn't as exaggerated as some of the opening dresses, but with the same drama. Which front-row celebrities -- Drew Barrymore, Winona Ryder, Julianne Hough or Hailee Steinfeld -- will wear them first?

Jackets with puffy sleeves and wide shoulders seemed most likely to land on the must-have list of Jacobs fans or the coolest marching band player you know.

___

CALVIN KLEIN

The name on the label still reads Calvin Klein, but the women's collection is clearly Francisco Costa's now.

It's been 10 years since Klein picked the Brazilian-born designer as his successor, and Costa presented his anniversary collection this time around.

"I hope it's a little out of the box," Costa said. "It's urban but it's a mix of cultures."

Costa said the mix of looks reflected all the sights and textures of New York when he first arrived here in the 1980s. "I was inspired by a lot of energy," he said.

"Sometimes we forget as we get older what New York is. We think New York isn't the same, but it is the same -- we've changed," he said.

He covered a lot of ground. The opening sand-colored wrap tank top and wrap skirt were signature minimalism, save the flash of pink lining, but over the next 35 outfits Costa offered a luxe, refined snakeskin tank and skirt; twill painter's pants with exaggerated pockets, cuff and rear; and a black woven leather jacket with multicolored thread fringe.

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