New York's Fashion Week kicks off month of global presentations

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Top designers, A-list stars and thousands of fashionistas will converge on New York this week for the annual week-long preview of Spring fashion, which officially kicks off on Thursday following a Wednesday evening show of creations by luxury brand maven Tom Ford.

Designer Ralph Lauren acknowledges attendees after presenting his Spring/Summer 2018 collection in a show that was presented in Lauren's private garage for New York Fashion Week in Manhattan, New York, U.S., September 12, 2017. REUTERS/Andrew Kelly

With well over 100 runway shows and presentations plus countless parties at venues around the city - including from top names such as Calvin Klein, Marc Jacobs and Ralph Lauren, which is marking its 50th anniversary on Friday with a Central Park gala - buyers, media and fashion cognoscenti will be hard-pressed to fit in smaller, lesser-known houses.

New York Fashion Week: The Shows returns to its full-week length after last year’s curtailed six-day schedule ahead of London, Milan and Paris Fashion Weeks brought an even-more frenetic pace.

The social media revolution has brought an immediacy and lighter touch to fashion, experts say, with many designers harking back this season to the free-wheeling 1980s for inspiration.

The “80s are a big trend,” said Julee Wilson, Essence magazine’s fashion and beauty director. “Not only in the fall, but I think it will continue into the spring.”

Fashion Bible Vogue concurred, calling the 80s and 90s “the most-referenced decades in fashion at the moment.”

“We’re getting nostalgic,” Wilson said, “kind of crazy with the fashion” and “going back to having a lot of fun,” she reflected, citing concepts like pairing socks with heels, sandals or sneakers.

An 80s staple she sees coming back is the power suit -- not “boring power suits ... but bold, in-your-face,” Wilson said. “You’re going to stand out and make statement.”

In keeping with the decade’s flash, metallics will feature heavily for spring.

But Fashion Week will have both poignant and pointed notes as well, notably the first show by top handbag brand Kate Spade since its founder and namesake committed suicide in June.

Similarly, Marchesa’s Georgina Chapman, the estranged wife of disgraced movie producer Harvey Weinstein who is facing criminal rape and sexual assault charges, is returning after canceling her February presentation. But the show is “by appointment only.”

Pop superstar Rihanna will help close the week on a decidedly lighter note with a glitzy party featuring her Savage x Fenty lingerie line, much of it available online immediately after the show, unlike in the old days when shoppers would have to wait for the latest looks to hit store racks.

Editing by Chris Michaud