J.Crew serves up dressy beach attire for next spring
A model wears fashions by designer Tory Burch during the Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Spring 2014 collection on September 10, 2013 in New York.
Chief women's wear designer Tom Mora gave casual wear an infusion of old-world sophistication for spring-summer 2014 at New York Fashion Week, which is winding down with only two days to go.
He layered a blue blazer with white piping over a floral jumpsuit, and paired a billowing white skirt -- modestly falling to the calf -- with a fitted black sweater.
Paint-spattered pants in military green met a smart white shirt with navy blue stripes on the sleeves, while a shimmering mint knee-length skirt contrasted with a large "Aloha" t-shirt.
"It's easy to do beach-inspired, it has been done. I wanted something a little more complex," Mora told AFP at the presentation of the line.
"I was thinking about the duality of beach culture," from surfing in California to the "contrast of the Lido lifestyle on the Venetian coast at the turn of the century, where you have proper dress with lace eyelet, nautical stripes, tailored blazers."
Neon pink and orange flowers gave a punch of color to a belted, calf-length dress with a plunging neckline. A bright orange shift dress and luminous yellow jacket offered more flashy chic.
The high-end meets low-end fashion looks take a leaf out of the first lady's style book.
Obama is famous for her knack for pairing cheap accessories with a couture ensemble to create her own signature brand of chic. When she wears pieces from J.Crew, they often sell out.
"You couldn't ask for better advertising -- not only is she the first lady but she also has really independent style, she knows what she likes and isn't afraid to step out," said Mora.
"To be a part of her journey in the White House has been an amazing thing."
He however insisted that having Obama as a fan had not influenced his designs, as he likes being surprised when she chooses them.
'We don't design into it. I like it much better when we just see it happen," he said.
Dutch-born Frank Muytjens, the brand's menswear designer, said he was inspired by America's natural parks for a more "rounded, earthy, crafty" look for men next spring.
"Nature is genuine and never bores," he said.
One jacket was the color of yellowing leaves, adorned with a hand-sprayed botanical print.
American designer Tory Burch, the billionaire queen of ballet flats and handbags, drew inspiration from the glamour of the French Riviera in the late 1960s for her spring collection.
The runway at Lincoln Center resembled the swirling turquoise depths of a swimming pool as models showcased dresses, tunics, swimsuits and maxi-dresses in fresh green, white and coral with botanical prints.
Vera Wang, whose evening wear and bridal gowns are highly coveted by Hollywood A-listers, unveiled a series of flowing, layered dresses mixing black and cobalt blue, yellow and red.
Fashion week ends in New York on Thursday before the style parade moves over to London, Milan and Paris.