NEW YORK - A little gold goes a long way. Same goes for silver and bronze.
No, this isn't an Olympic event - it's New York Fashion Week, where metallic fabrics shone on the runways.
"A little sparkle adds a lot to your wardrobe," Tracy Reese said backstage before her show on Monday. "You can wear it with jeans, and then for something dressier, it can be more formal."
Metallics were prominent in the collections of Zac Posen, Carolina Herrera, Rachel Roy, Luca Luca and Diane von Furstenberg, among others. Some added tarnish to the look, in keeping with the dark palette that has dominated in the week's previews of fall styles.
"Like my mother always said, all girls like a little dazzle," Reese said.
For a while, it seemed Carolina Herrera was trying to court a more hipster customer, but she showed Monday that she is firmly committed to the rarefied world in which she lives and works.
There was luxury like a Prussian-blue, mosaic-print jacket with fur lining and a mink collar, worn with camel-coloured suede pants, and a sky-and-steel blue gown with beaded leaves and a swath of tulle around the neck.
There was a hint of a Russian influence to the overall look of the show, in her colour choices, fur and style of embroidery. The daywear models also wore full-brim hats.
The Herrera lady - "woman" doesn't sound quite right - is a day-and-night dresser, not a day-to-night one. Look for her in a deep red wool sheath with asymmetrical vertical pleats for day, and a distinctly different black-and-metallic embossed organza gown with a hint of red framing the face in the evening.
It's the real world and now Zac Posen is living in it. The first model on his runway Monday morning wore a fully wearable, thoroughly sophisticated, portrait-neck cape in camel-coloured felt, smart trousers and a creamy silk blouse.
In fact, the former flashy showman, who has recently chronicled in the press his struggles to lead a viable business, turned out a mostly understated, chic collection. It might not be full of head-turners, but the clothes aren't as polarizing as, say, his tornado-inspired gowns a few seasons ago.
As wild as it got here were some copper metallics, pink-dot prints and magenta-coloured fur - a refreshing break from the largely neutral palette that has been dominating this round of previews for stylists, editors and retailers.
Posen partnered with violinist Miri Ben-Ari to provide a live, serene soundtrack. He also seemed to stick to a recent commitment to seek out older models - by industry standards that means 18, maybe 16 - to avoid those who are too thin. And he seemed to stick by it, hiring veterans Alek Wek, Hana Soukupova, Sessilee Lopez and Coco Rocha.
Rachel Roy's outfits that demanded the most attention featured slightly tarnished metallics, including a gold, crochet-style dress and jacket, a black sheath decorated with gold, almost-serpentine beads, and a high-shine patchwork gold skirt worn with a gold-lace tank.
But daywear is the base of her collection that has steadily gained a following in recent seasons, spawning a secondary, more affordable line with Macy's.
Stylish professional clothes included an open, pleated cashmere cardigan and cropped trousers (and a sheer jersey bodysuit for extra attention), a slouchy brick-red wrap coat, and a delicate black lace blouse with high-waisted navy wool trousers. You'd need a blazer - of which there were several - on top of that last outfit for the office.
A silver taffeta trench coat and a reversible grey one made partially of lacquered cotton are two nice bookends to the Luca Luca story for next season.
Designer Raul Melgoza said he wanted to offer a collection of fall clothes at New York Fashion Week that paid homage to "the diverse roles of women in society."
The front row included the label's founding designer Luca Orlandi and his wife, model Oluchi. The handoff of creative duties happened in 2008.
Melgoza honoured the house's signature cocktail dresses with a light, fluttery dress made of grey silk lame and wool, and a liquid-like silver lame gown with a deep cowl neck and open back.
Runway reality came in the form of more office-friendly styles, such as a blue wool sheath with pleated silk insets, and an old-school, ivory-coloured georgette blouse paired with a black leather skirt that was neither too tight nor too short.
Is the fashion crowd going to cheer for Thakoon Panichgul's pompoms?
The designer, whose label is known as just Thakoon, traded the colourful prints he's used in recent seasons for texture, including fur, velvet, leather and those pompoms, which dangled from the hems of dresses and decorated a jacket worn over a knit, pompom and ruffle skirt.
Panichgul emphasized the mixed-fabric, layered look at his show on Sunday in a downtown studio space. It's a trend that has emerged halfway through the fashion previews for the fall.
Fur also has had a strong presence, but, so far, no one but Panichgul coloured it like tiger stripes.
Overall, this collection was somewhat uneven. Panichgul was seemingly torn between the "young designer" status he's now had for so long, the name recognition he enjoys having dressed Michelle Obama on many occasions, and the need to evolve into a more established craftsman who can cater to the fashion-forward and luxury market crowds.
Rebecca Taylor's vision for fall 2010 means a healthy dose of masculinity.
The New Zealand native delivered a collection Sunday that tempered her girly look with touches of menswear.
The clothes, in navy, grey, olive and black, combined tweed with silk, mohair with chiffon, and feathery fringe with wool. Cosy brown cable sweaters, reminiscent of those worn by grandfathers of another era, were reimagined in shorter lengths with braided collar trims and backward V-necks.
The masculine feel was emphasized by oversized tuxedo blouses and skinny wool trousers that were paired with faux-fur jackets in animal prints. An oatmeal sweater, covered with layers of knit ruffles, was shown with a silk blouse that the designer called "granddad." And more than a few models, their bombshell cat eyes emphasized by heavy liner, contrasted the look with black wool bowler hats and structured handbags in faded colours of nubuck.
Front-row admirers Carmen Electra, Kristen Bell, Michelle Trachtenberg, Mena Suvari and Sophia Bush, who applauded enthusiastically as Taylor took her finale bow.
Doo.Ri Chung for fall is a study in contrast. Very sparkly, wearable contrast.
The designer took her favourite flowing jersey to an edgier place Friday in a collection of jackets, tops, down-to-the-floor skirts and a variety of dresses that were shirt-style, sheath and slouchy.
Fox fur and bold, plastic sequins - and a touch of leather - trimmed up a runway dominated by dark and steely blues, camel, greys and graphite, some shown over skinny, military-style pants and crystal leggings paired with heavy black and handpainted shoes.
Chung also offered some fitted looks in sporty, asymmetrical blazers, with a few stunning pieces in colour: A belted, red alpaca lapel coat over a silk pleated dress high on the list. Pleats, at the back of long skirts, in a geranium V-neck blouse and on suede jersey pants, loomed as large as the glittery lips on her models and her newfound aggression in trims.
Custo Barcelona has gone hairy.
The loud, colourful Spanish label showed a collection inspired by "hairy metal." It was a mishmash of shaggy fur and patterns delivered in extremes: ultra-short minis, leather hotpants, extra-shaggy fur and cropped jackets with knuckle-grazing sleeves.
The brand, which landed in the fashion world with its graphic T-shirt interpretations of California surfer-wear, has wandered far from its roots. Save for the brightly patterned leggings, everything else for this autumn was mired in just how many ways shaggy fur can be weaved into an outfit.
The result was a line that seemed to reference the movie "Where the Wild Things Are," but only if Max had dreamed in swirls and metallics.
Associated Press writers Leanne Italie and Amanda Kwan contributed to this report.