And They're Off! Fashion Week Starts With a Whirl

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Friday was the official start to New York fashion week. And for this fashion editor, it meant leaving a studio where I was shooting swimsuits for May to sitting and reviewing clothes for fall 2007. An entire season passed by in just two subway stops.

BCBG was in the big tent in Bryant Park. Model-wise, it was a whirl of all the best of the fresh-face girls and some (ever so slightly) seasoned favorites (Jessica Stam, Tanya D., Iekeliene Stange, Han, Patricia Schmid, Irina, Lara Stone, Bruna, Coco, Olya, Behati). The most exciting was seeing Suvi. She'd been anointed "an exclusive" by Prada and Miu Miu last season, so those who don't attend the European shows (alas moi) didn't get to see her walk until today. She really works her unconventional looks, too-cool-to-smile, of course. A real star.

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BCBG showed a mix of layers and textures with knit caps and tights in gray and purple with voluminous clothes carrying sparkly or sometimes even fur, chain-handled bags. The layered, sweet-street-urchin look was complemented by loose done-undone hair, barely-there make-up and lust-worthy, two-tone, menswear-inspired shoes (which we'd seen on runways in spring and warmly welcomed back) It was a myriad of textures and prints with unfinished edges and crochet and appliqué details. Added glam with the occasional feather and maribou trim on posh parkas.

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Later we took the predictably extravagant Baby Phat, designed by former model Kimora Lee Simmons, who went further over the top as they're celebrating their 15th anniversary. With roots in the hip-hop world- Russell Simmons of Def Jam is a founder- the label knows from hype and the lines out front are longer each season (same could be said for the stretch Hummer limos pulling up to the curb). An hour-plus wait, a catfight to get my seat (OK, only kidding! But I was once trampled by paparazzi who were trying to get a shot of Shannen Doherty) In fact, this year, the opposite was true: Haven LLC the Baby Phat PR show made sure most people were able to quietly find their seats. But we STILL waited an hour....for Britney Spears to arrive. She was very brunette, in a little black dress, and accompanied by her agent Larry Rudolph. Anticlimactic? You betcha.

Other celeb cameo appearances included Alicia Keys, Jay Alexander (Miss Jay from ANTM), Nicky Hilton, Ice T and his wife Coco, and Vivica A. Fox. A few surprises on the runway, too, model/handbag designer Alek Wek and Dominican supermodel Omayra, a tough, chic gal, covered in tattoos with short punky hair stomped down the runway to the cheers of the audience, just barely audible over the hip-hop tunes.

Kimora's theme was "To Russia with Love." So there were lots of imperial golds and reds, with black lace, brown tweeds, metallics, and denim thrown in. (Did the czar wear jeans? Well, it's fashion logic). Tons of legs on display-a highlight was a jersey mini wrap-dress accessorized by mile-long legs and over-the-knee, fur-trimmed boots. As always, the Baby Phat woman is over the top and sexy, dripping in furs and gold jewelry, sporting big hair, and form-fitting clothes. Printed in glittery letters on the back of the Phat Farm coats for men was the Baby Phat message in an easy-to-swallow nugget-size: "The American Dream."

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