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Galliano courts controversy, Kors brings color

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(Globalpost/GlobalPost)

Disgraced designer John Galliano's clothes made news Wednesday even as he tried to keep out of the public eye, while Michael Kors lit up New York Fashion Week with flamboyant colors and humor.

Galliano has been almost entirely hidden away since he was sacked by Dior in 2011 after yelling anti-Semitic insults in a Paris cafe.

There were hints of his return Tuesday in the collection of Oscar de la Renta, who recently invited Galliano to spend three weeks in his workshop and was seen as adding a few Galliano-esque flourishes to his designs.

Then, on Wednesday, the New York Post caused a stir by publishing a photo of Galliano in what appeared to be a very trendy version of the ultra-orthodox Hasidic Jewish garb under the screaming headline: "SHMUCK!"

The Post story suggested that Galliano was trying to insult Jews, but others quickly interpreted the get-up as a fashionista's way of paying homage.

The Anti-Defamation League, which is always on the look-out for anti-Semitism, declared the story entirely concocted.

"There is no truth to their accusation that John Galliano was dressed in Hasidic garb, and anyone familiar with the dress of traditional Orthodox Jews should not mistake what Galliano is wearing in the photograph as 'Hasidic garb.'"

At least there was no confusion about what Michael Kors models were wearing on the penultimate day of fashion week in the Big Apple.

In eye-popping hues like bright orange, cobalt blue and New York taxi yellow, his 63 outfits for autumn-winter 2013-14 were made to reflect New York.

"Bright lights, fast city," he said, adding that the formula he was looking for was "urban athleticism meets uptown polish."

That meant black camo mink coats with black merino leggings, rubberized houndstooth skirts, black crepe/silver quilted lame strapless sheaths, and other ensembles described as embodying "speed, endurance and glamor."

The American designer, who launched his first label in 1981, had other reasons to see bright colors: his company's share price has tripled since entering the market in 2011 and was up another eight percent Tuesday.

Wednesday also saw the unveiling of new creations by Reed Krakoff, whose designs were worn by First Lady Michelle Obama during her husband's inauguration to a second term last month.

With mostly classic dark hues such as navy and charcoal, as well as white, Krakoff's collection appeared almost uniform-like.

"For us it was the idea of a uniform, the idea of a man's uniform, utilitarian clothing, sport clothing... and then combining it with the idea of femininity, fluidity, and of sensuality," Krakoff told AFP in an interview.

Proenza Schouler's collection included black and white coats with rounded, masculine shoulders, while Marchesa's collection of opulent gowns was inspired by the works of 19th century Spanish romantic painter Francisco Goya.

"We feel quite decadent at the moment," British designer Georgina Chapman told AFP about the collection, which featured half-laced corsets and wide-sleeved gowns in fuchsia and black satin.

"It was Goya, from the 'Portrait of Maria Teresa de Vallabriga on Horseback,' and it was very much taking the equestrian field and deconstructing it," she said.

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.

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http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/afp/130214/galliano-courts-controversy-kors-brings-color