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New York Fashion Week: Day One: There's a sense of restless change

The feeling of transition is palpable as autumn approaches and designers toy with new ideas.

Perhaps it's the feeling of change that the autumn season typically brings, or maybe it's the relocation of the fashion week venue, but whatever it is, the feeling of transition is palpable in New York. What a difference a year makes. At Bryant Park last year, if you didn't have your physical invitations or credentials, getting into a show could be very difficult. But with a new system at the event's more spacious digs in Lincoln Center, one that allows you to check in electronically, entry to shows is a much more pleasant and breezy affair.

Fashion's Night Out, the global initiative to spur consumer spending, was a hit last year. But judging from the packed streets and stores bursting at the seams with people, this year it's a huge success. Meanwhile, on the catwalks, designers who have showed so far have felt that it is the season to experiment - out with the old and in with the new. Bensoni, the label by Sonia Yoon and Benjamin Clyburn, gave its prim outings of the past a colourful makeover by mixing prints and stripes, while Rachel Comey, who typically has a penchant for prints, took a minimal route to cater to her artsy clientèle. Vena Cava's collection was less about patterns and more to do with colour blocking and geometric shapes.

Fiona Cibani, who took over from her sister Tia as the creative head of Ports 1961, made her debut collection one that didn't stray too far from the brand's ethos. A strategy that the quirky menswear label Duckie Brown, which presented elongated silhouettes in neutral hues, understands, given its specific and stable customer base. Peter Som, who showed eyepopping neons assembled in flirty American Sportswear separates, proved that working with what you know can be just as effective as experimenting. Unlike Som, Michael Angel wanted to change things up a bit this season. While pieces were reminiscent of his sexy, hypercolour wares of the past, there were latex materials and sequins that lay over shirts. The silhouettes gave a whiff of minimalism.

BCBG, however, felt that a new aesthetic direction was the way to make its fashion statement. The label, which has been known for using copious amounts of jersey in the past, opted for more delicate materials such as silk, chiffon, gauze and crêpes. Naturally, there were dreamy and diaphanous dresses. This season, the outing was mostly beige and white, but there were refreshing pops of black and salmon, resulting in a winning show that was decidedly cleaner than in seasons past.

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