New York Fashion Week on Tuesday revealed its ultra-feminine side for next winter, from Vera Wang's chic floral silk dresses to an Oscar de la Renta show with a distinct John Galliano flair.
De la Renta's collection was highly anticipated in part because of his recent gesture of bringing the disgraced British designer, once the mastermind at Dior, back into the fold with a three-week stint at his New York studio.
Galliano, convicted in France of anti-Semitism after a series of drunken rants in public, did not appear himself at the show.
However, from the first de la Renta model, who came out wearing a belted turquoise coat dress and a black hat, fashion bloggers declared they could detect the mark of the troubled genius.
"You can see the Galliano influence at Oscar de la Renta even in the way the belts are tied on suits," New York Times fashion writer Eric Wilson said on Twitter.
"Oscar de la Renta with a touch of Galliano... a lovely conversation," commented fellow designer Diane von Furstenberg.
A total of 50 outfits featured in the elegant, romantic show by the Dominican-born designer, many accompanied with flapper hats and colorful accessories.
Wang, whose evening wear and bridal gowns are highly coveted by Hollywood A-listers, played with cut and structure, elongating the sleeves of a little black dress and cropping the hems of asymmetrical short skirts.
Black and beige are the colors of the season, with pops of purple and bronze in floral silks brightening the wintry mood. Long gloves past the elbow or a fox cape added a dash of refinement for late-night Manhattan soirees.
"Different scales, different proportions, different colors -- that mixture was for me sort of a new way of looking, in a much simpler way," Wang said backstage after her show at the Lincoln Center.
The combination of "texture, pattern, color and proportion" helped her create "clothes that embrace sexy, easy glamour," she explained.
Tory Burch, the queen of ballet flats and handbags, unveiled a luxurious, romantic collection for next winter in rich jewel tones, which she said was inspired by the work of Austrian symbolist painter Gustav Klimt.
The 46-year-old American designer offered prim tweed skirt suits, bejeweled cardigans, gauzy dresses in pale pink and bold printed silks. Necklaces featured shiny insect motifs. Mary Janes are the must-have shoe for next fall.
"It was a bit Art Nouveau, and Gustav Klimt and Rene Lalique, and some of the elements of his beautiful crystal and dragon flies," Burch told AFP backstage.
"I wanted to have special pieces that take you from day to evening. Women are busy, so the idea of having (something) that will work during the day but also that you can go out in makes it simple."
On how her clothes appeal to women of all ages, Burch said: "Younger women are making it a little edgier and older women can wear it in their own way."
Kate and Laura Mulleavy of Rodarte had a more West Coast rock-and-roll take on winter wear. After last season's medieval punk, the California sisters showed long fluid dresses in bold tie-dyed and acid-washed fabrics.
"There's definitely a reference to the Grateful Dead, but that's part of a culture" fueled by beach life in northern California, said Laura Mulleavy. "If you have tie dye, you have acid, you have roses, you have barbed wire."
Jackets were heavy, while shorts were long and hanging from the slender hips of the pale-skinned models, their eyes rimmed with kohl.
At J. Crew, one of First Lady Michelle Obama's favored labels, the emphasis was on the accessories -- bold costume jewelry, clutches and sparkly shoes.
Womenswear designer Tom Mora explained that Morocco had inspired him to create clothes for women in bright colors, with an array of textures and patterns.
New York Fashion Week, which wraps up on Thursday, features more than 300 shows and presentations of autumn-winter collections for 2013-14.
It is the start of a month-long style marathon, with shows in London, Milan and Paris to follow.