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Jason Wu showed strong but feminine pieces. Stan Honda / AFP
Jason Wu showed strong but feminine pieces. Stan Honda / AFP
Richard Chaii's collection featured a lovely shade of light purple. Peter Foley / EPA
Richard Chaii's collection featured a lovely shade of light purple. Peter Foley / EPA

Best of New York Fashion Week: our favourite collections

We count down our six favourite collections: Richard Chai, Jason Wu, Monique Lhuillier, Rag & Bone, Joseph Altuzarra and Alexander Wang.

Richard Chai

Chai put on a little edge, but kept his collection neat and trim. Men and women walked on the same runway and the crowd surely envisioned couples: she in a metallic, military jacket and pencil skirt, he in a plaid suit. In addition to seasonal greens, Chai featured a lovely shade of light purple - a little unusual for fall - on a textured jacquard with a lacelike effect for a pencil skirt and matching peplum top. A man-tailored shirt underneath added a modernity and utility that Chai is developing as signatures.

Jason Wu

"I wanted to bring back the woman to the runway," said Wu - and his clothes were full of strength, with exaggerated shoulders and some military touches, but chiffon pleats also floated down the runway. Two outfits were floor-length - pleated, peplum tops over tuxedo trousers, the perfect yin and yang. Also present were chic capes and pleated silk dresses. Red offset the mostly black-and-white combinations. Use of the colour both here and on Michelle Obama's recent inaugural gown was not a coincidence. "Certainly red was on my mind. I felt it was right for right now," Wu said.

Monique Lhuillier

Opulent touches and intense tones of malachite green, oxblood red and amethyst were Lhuillier's red carpet calling cards. With the Oscars around the corner, the drama on Lhuillier's runway was wrapped in beads on lace and punctuated by malachite, with illusion effects, plunging backs and strapless glamour. She used a digital feather print on crepe for a sheath dress. A burnished brocade was printed on a tweed, notched-collar coat paired with black trousers. Another print was an abstract of butterflies. "I wanted to be darker, more sensual, and a little stronger and more confident," said Lhuillier.

Rag & Bone

The designers Marcus Wainwright and David Neville were interested in pops of bright colour and in a more overtly masculine style. "We referenced men's silhouettes," Wainwright said. The collection was full of quilted miniskirts, too, giving it a feminine accent along with the structured jackets and coats. A grape-coloured crochet mini was a typically fun look, as was an orange bomber skirt paired with a long coat, also in grape. One of the most appealing looks was an oversized peacoat in a lovely chartreuse, paired with a wrap skirt in royal blue.

Joseph Altuzarra

Altuzarra's urban, confident customer wears graphic black-and-white leather - layers it on, in fact. She's not shy about drawing attention in fur mittens, shiny grommet embellishment and strategically placed zippers. She wears her high-waisted trousers with a low-slung belt. His fall-winter collection also includes optic white trousers and a khaki cotton sleeveless trench worn with a khaki four-button tailored skirt. "The design and construction emphasise the nip of the waist and exaggerate the hip, while shrunk proportions mixed with a bolder shoulder volume sharpen the classic silhouette," said Altuzarra.

Alexander Wang

With buzz building for his debut collection for Balenciaga, Wang used his show to make the statement that his signature line is still very much on his mind. The collection of finely tailored pieces and lush textured fabrics seemed elevated from the more funky styles he's turned out the past seasons, although there was the sportswear twist he's best known for woven into every look. It was a sophisticated turn - and trick - to pull off. Models emerged wearing fur boxing gloves and hoods. Sweatshirt-style tops were made of mohair with a touch of metallic.

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