New York fashion week frenzy kicks off
Models present creations by David Tlale during the Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Spring 2014 collections on September 5, 2013 in New York.
As the days begin to shorten in the Big Apple, the city can bask a little longer in the warmth of around 350 spring-summer 2014 collections before the style parade moves over to London, Milan and Paris.
On Thursday, Spanish brand Desigual makes its debut on the New York runways, unveiling a more chic and subtle version of its trademark look: intense prints, vibrant colors and flamboyant graffiti art.
"Even if we keep Desigual's DNA, which is very strong colors, graphics... we will keep with the trends," CEO Manel Jadraque told AFP before the show.
The Barcelona-based brand -- which has just opened a store on storied Fifth Avenue -- is increasingly marked by its collaboration with French designer Christian Lacroix, who joined the team in 2011.
Ahead of that much-anticipated show, brother-sister duo Nicholas K offered up an earthy collection with a Native American feel to officially kick off fashion week.
To the beat of drums and Apache calls, models with fishtail braids over mussed hair -- often with a feather sticking out -- took spectators on what the designers called a spiritual journey.
A subdued palette of alabaster, granite, onyx and rich brown reflected the New York-based designers' origins in Arizona.
Knee-high and ankle boots accompanied loose, draping dresses, long light jackets, translucent tops and loose-fitting shorts.
Christopher Kunz, the female half of the duo, said the clothes were "very medicine man -- they had a surreal look to them."
She said the collection targeted "a strong, spiritual woman."
"Life is now about being responsible, enlightened, a positive person," she told AFP.
David Tlale, who last year became the first ever South African designer to secure a stand-alone spot at New York Fashion Week, was back again with his latest collection, "The A-lister".
Showcasing craftsmanship in his homeland, where all the pieces were made, Tlale mixed different textures, beads, bits of leather, silk organza and chiffon for a "punk fusion" collection he said was a clash of the 50s and 80s.
Several dresses had daring see-through bodices, and he mixed leather pants, shorts and dresses with a geometric print.
The Tlale woman "doesn't want anything but to be the best -- she loves texture and drama and isn't willing to settle for less," he said.
Celebrities and fashionistas have flocked to the city for the event, which runs through September 12. More than 100,000 people are expected to attend shows and parties throughout the week.
Of course, most are awaiting shows from the top designers: Ralph Lauren, Calvin Klein, Marc Jacobs, Tommy Hilfiger, Proenza Schouler, Jason Wu, Alexander Wang and Victoria Beckham, to name a few.
The official Lincoln Center venue will host about 100 shows, including those by red carpet darling Monique Lhuillier, Michelle Obama favorite Tracy Reese and fashion royalty Carolina Herrera.
Long-time New York veterans Vera Wang, Diane Von Furstenberg and Michael Kors will also show there.
But alongside the power players, there are several newcomers such as New York designer Eden Miller who will become the first to present a collection for plus-sized women during Fashion Week.
Two-thirds of the week's events have spilled outside of the official location, with runways springing up elsewhere in the city.
It will be easier than ever for ardent fashionistas to follow the goings-on at Lincoln Center, with shows streamed live on the website mbfashionweek.com, Facebook and YouTube.