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White is the new black at NY Fashion Week
by Paola Messana

White and minimalist visions are dominating the spring-summer 2011 pret-a-porter collections at New York Fashion Week, where Tommy Hilfiger just celebrated his label's 25th year.

"I'm ready for the next 25," Hilfiger, 59, declared.

His company was bought in March for three billion dollars by Phillips-Van Heusen, the holding company also owning the Calvin Klein label since 2002.

The veteran designer still retains the role of artistic director and has no intention of letting go.

"If Giorgio (Armani), Karl (Lagerfeld) and Ralph (Lauren) can keep going, so can I," he said at an invitation-only party Sunday after his show in a hall at the Metropolitan Opera, part of Fashion Week's new digs at the Lincoln Center in midtown Manhattan.

Hilfiger's collection bore his trademark youthful look, with pleated mini-skirts, candy-colored shorts and pipe-lined blazers.

Before Hilfiger, Diane von Furstenberg and her new artistic director, Frenchman Yvan Mispelaere, sent DVF's latest creations down the runway.

Mispelaere, coming from Gucci and with experience at Lanvin, Valentino and Louis Feraud, breathed fresh life into the work of von Furstenberg, who is also head of the Council of Fashion Designers of America.

At DVF, von Furstenberg's lines are usually known for prints, but Mispelaere's inspiration brought a whole new look with puzzle-style patterns and curly arabesques mixing camel, white and black, bronze or jade.

Models stepped out in pant suits of shimmering silk, skirt suits with three-quarter-length jackets and short shirt-dresses with big shoulder bags in a collection dubbed "Goddess" in reference to Isadora Duncan, the American dancer who died in a car accident in Nice in 1927, strangled by her long silk scarf.

Scarves made a big splash at DKNY where designer Donna Karan showed highly refined silk outfits mainly in caramel, Black and white, and big square silks covering the neck or decollete.

White and plainness are the big themes on the runways this fashion week, with fashion savants calling on white as the new black as the fall-back color in any self-respecting wardrobe.

Alexander Wang and Thakoon Panichgul were the kings of minimalism with collections playing on femininity and transparence.

Not that Yohji Yamamoto was playing by that rule book.

The Japanese maestro stuck with black and asymmetrical cuts. Y-3, the line Yamamoto created for Adidas, sported black trousers and salopettes with bustiers in the same color. For chilly air, there was the eternal short leather perfecto - with or without sleeves.

Late Monday, Marc Jacobs, the artistic director at Louis Vuitton, was due to unveil his much-awaited collection.

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