Fashionistas climbed over snow banks and girded themselves with their purses against brutal wind and sleet as a winter storm blanketed New York City on Thursday, the final day of Fashion Week.
But neither wind nor sleet nor snow stopped most fashion fans from their appointed rounds — i.e., the high-profile shows that traditionally close out the week. Actress Lupita Nyong'o was among those seen Thursday, sitting in a front row with Vogue editor Anna Wintour and actress Naomi Watts at a Calvin Klein show.
Outside the Ralph Lauren show in Greenwich Village, a few women could even be seen in stiletto heels navigating the snowy entrance. Most, though, sacrificed fashionable feet for practical waterproof boots. Employees shoveled walkways around the tents at Lincoln Center, and the tents' main sponsor, Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week, said in an email that "we plan to move forward with all shows as scheduled."
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Stephanie Comfort of Lakeville, Conn., drove into New York City for Lauren's show. "It was worth every effort," she said afterward. The trip in, which usually takes her 90 minutes, took 2½ hours. She didn't care. "We'll remember this forever," she said. She planned to have lunch and do some shopping, then drive home.
Ashley Kozel, from Sarasota, Fla., flew up in her private plane just to attend the Lauren show. She wore purple suede high-heeled pumps by Christian Louboutin and a purple suede dress with a cropped leopard print jacket, both by Lauren of course.
"It's fashion over function," said Kozel, who had actually hitched a ride on her boyfriend's back for a few yards to avoid stepping in the ice and snow.
Sitting in the front row at the show was Terry Lundgren, CEO and chairman of Macy's Inc., wearing a pinstriped gray suit. "Fortunately, I have a four-wheel drive. We took our time," he said, adding that Macy's has been selling a lot of coats.
At the Lincoln Center tents, Daiki Nagai, 20, of Tokyo, stood shivering under an awning. The university student and two of his friends had the plaza, usually crowded with fashionistas and industry folk during the shows, pretty much to themselves as clumps of wet snow swirled around them.
"I'm waiting for models," said the math major. "But I haven't seen any."
LUPITA NYONG'O ATTENDS HER FIRST FASHION WEEK SHOW: CALVIN KLEIN
Oscar-nominated actress Lupita Nyong'o is a breakout fashion star as much as she's a breakout movie star. If anyone didn't know that already, they knew it after she made her first appearance at New York Fashion Week on Thursday.
Arriving at the Calvin Klein runway show, dressed in pale pink, she was pursued by a crush of photographers, and she looked as stunning as she has all awards season.
The "12 Years a Slave" actress has established a strong relationship with Calvin Klein, said the label's designer, Francisco Costa, adding he was thrilled that she wore one of his dresses to accept her Critics' Choice award.
"We were very, very thrilled that she wore that amazing dress," he said. "Seeing that picture with her award it was just magnificent, because she is a very urban woman. She's very intelligent, extremely talented and very cool, very today. And I think that dress made a very iconic moment for us."
On the runway, Costa presented a series of minimalist but inviting outfits, mostly knits. When a soft, fuzzy coat in ivory mohair came out, you could almost hear the crowd sigh, so perfect was it for the day's wintry weather. (Come to think of it, though, perhaps not for the huge puddles of brown slush that surrounded the entire block of the downtown venue.)
Costa said his collection was inspired by the idea of "downtown meets uptown in a sense, you know where the sensibility is really expensive, luxurious, very Calvin, but also with a fun, of coziness of... (wanting) to stay at home. And the whole exploration of sewing techniques. I would say 80 percent of the collection was knitwear-based."
RALPH LAUREN IN TEAM USA BOOTS
Ralph Lauren's runway show happened to come around the height of Thursday's winter snowstorm, with a fierce wind whipping down the snowy Greenwich Village streets near his showroom. Pity — or admire? — those who still felt they should arrive in fashionable heels.
Most people made the more practical choice, wearing chunky snow boots or at least rubber rain boots. While Lauren's runway show didn't include any of the U.S. Olympic team uniforms he designed, he did come out at the end wearing his Team USA boots.
On the runway, he first showed his new, casual Polo collection. Then came his more glamorous Women's Collection.
In casual clothes, Lauren featured sweaters in bright colors — bright orange or neon green, for example — with short leather skirts. An orange quilted parka seemed warm enough to wear out into the storm. A tan leather fringe jacket was more autumn-like. A black motorcycle jacket bore whimsical patches like one for Penzoil.
Shoes included clog sandals, hiking boots, and black patent Mary Janes.
Then came the more formal collection: Flannel suits, cashmere coats and jackets in colors like pale pink and cream, a shearling cape, a "Mongolian lamb" wrap. The shorter dresses were paired with tight-fitting, over-the-knee boots.
A series of evening dresses were strikingly simple, focusing on the quality of form and fabric: They came in lavender crepe, pearl gray flannel, silk in pale pink or in a gorgeous gray shade.
Actress Kim Basinger was effusive afterward, even teary. "I was invited by the Lauren family, and I am just so thrilled, I mean ... I've loved him for so many years... I've loved everything he's done from vintage to, my God, this show. It took my breath away."
LIL' KIM'S BABY BUMP, FIRST SEEN DURING FASHION WEEK
Lil' Kim is pregnant with her first child.
The rapper's publicist C.J. Carter confirmed the news Thursday, a day after pictures of Kim's baby bump began to circulate via social media following her appearance at New York Fashion Week.
The "Lady Marmalade" singer's assistant Noel Perez says the 37-year-old is about five months along and due in May. No other details were available.
Lil' Kim, whose real name is Kim Jones, debuted her baby bump in a tight dress at The Blonds fashion show.
J. MENDEL DESIGNER: NOTHING MORE BEAUTIFUL THAN A BUNDLED-UP WOMAN
Some might disagree, but the man behind the J. Mendel label says he loves to see women all bundled up.
"There's nothing more beautiful than a woman covering herself with layers of clothes," said Gilles Mendel, J. Mendel's designer and CEO, whose Russian-French family began the company as furriers in the 19th century.
"This is my kind of weather," added Mendel, a smartly dressed bespectacled man with a thick French accent. "Snow is beautiful. New York has never been so more beautiful all covered with snow. New Yorkers are resilient. They're gonna be here and come and look at my beautiful show. Furs galore."
And furs they got in luscious dyed jewel tones of red on sable and mink, deep hunter green on Mongolian lamb and other types of fur in blue and a soft pearl. One-shoulder goddess gowns flowed as the finale in similar colors.
Mendel created geometric patterns in fur as an ode to the Ballet Russes, an itinerant dance company based in Paris that performed throughout Europe and the Americas in the early 1900s.
Meanwhile, in the front row, one of the guests watched the show wearing gloves, a scarf and ski goggles perched atop her head.
PROENZA SCHOULER: INVENTIVE DESIGNS, ENERGETIC DESIGNERS
Proenza Schouler designers Lazaro Hernandez and Jack McCollough are nothing if not energetic.
In fact, "the boys," as the popular designing duo is known in the fashion world, practically bounded out onto the runway to take their wave to the crowd after their show Wednesday night in a downtown art gallery.
Hernandez was still bouncing backstage minutes later. "It's all about energy and humor," he said of the latest collection.
Proenza is known both for inventive designs and inventive ways of engineering fabric, and this collection was no exception. Their multicolored prints looked something like really nice building insulation; in fact, their invitations to the show were thick creations that seemed to contain a layer of insulation inside.
The shapes, too, were inventive: jackets and coats with very wide sleeves, round shoulders, and cinched hourglass waists, for example, were both unusual and flattering. Two things that don't always go together.
Asked about their design process for the collection, Hernandez allowed that it had been "intense. It's always intense." But, he added, "It's fun. We're putting the fun in fashion again!"
THE END OF FASHION WEEK: MARC JACOBS AND PUFFY CLOUDS
The Marc Jacobs show is the traditional end to New York Fashion Week, and the superstar designer always makes the most of it, putting on a production that will stick in a fashionista's mind at the end of eight long days of runway shows.
On Thursday evening, he held true to his tradition, filling the enormous Lexington Avenue Armory with puffy clouds — actually cloud-shaped pillows hanging from the ceiling — and serenading the crowd with the message that "Happy Days Are Here Again."
Oh, and he had a Kardashian on the runway, or almost: Kendall Jenner, the model daughter of Kris and Bruce Jenner, and half-sister of Kim. She turned heads by walking in a completely sheer V-neck top.
The clothes started with dresses in neutral colors — cream, gray, brown — and moved on to tops and pants, and then to knit separates, and some of those sheer long tops. Then came a series of sequined tops and dresses, including a particularly lovely long-sleeved, multicolored sequin dress, and some big boxy jackets. The show ended with a series of clothes adorned with tiered ruffles.
Shoes included boots of various heights, the best being some great over-the-knee boots — way too nice to take outside, where increasingly deep puddles of melted slush awaited everyone as they headed away from the clouds and out into to the cold and rainy Manhattan night.