Given that Saturday was the ninth anniversary of the September 11 attacks in 2001, the general mood in New York was understandably somewhat sombre. But beyond the throngs of firemen and police officers commemorating their fallen brethren and the solemn sounds of bagpipe memorials throughout the city, New York's famously indomitable soul was evident throughout the bustling crowds and creative ventures.
In keeping with that, the day's catwalk shows were filled with confident displays, most of which were marked by a tone of optimism best illustrated through the use of bright whites and bold colours. Lacoste, a label that's launching a line of bold "fashion jewellery" for spring/summer 2011, freed its models from classic catwalk heels with sensible street shoes that punctuated the label's laissez faire approach. The show began with easy white, functional sportswear items, such as netting cover-ups and a sedate tennis dress that neither of the Williams sisters is likely to have any interest in wearing.
There were also loose, off-the-shoulder tops and separates in varying shades of warm tangerine, as well as a series of cotton outerwear that would serve as appropriate holiday gear for anywhere from Corsica to Croatia. While Lacoste did not veer too much from the powerful path that it has carved for itself, Ohne Titel's assured, faintly Japanese collection expanded the label's highly technical flair for avant-garde construction. There were jackets with high armholes, trousers with panels and experimental pieces made from white and navy silks, along with a daring use of scuba neoprene, but the knit dresses with pleated skirts and fierce, ultra-modern, colour-blocked separates were the seductive focus of the influential fans peppering the front row.
The Nepal-born, New York-based designer Prabal Gurung, meanwhile, is arguably the city's designer du moment. The advocate of local trade showed his love for New York in chromatically compelling ways: there was a long white dress with sky blue slits of colour, utterly covetable knits with geometric blocking in delicious hues, and back cut-outs framing delicate models' beautifully broad latissimus dorsi muscles.
Thanks to a collaboration with Nicholas Kirkwood, the shoes were also unforgettably chic - yet another superlative for a stunning collection. Edition Georges Chakra, which showed on Saturday, was inspired, incidentally, by the Absolute Towers in Canada - "nicknamed Marilyn Monroe for its S shape", according to Rasha Kouri, the woman behind Dia-Boutique. Chakra, who is not shy with colours, mixed turquoise, coral, violet and neutrals to a glamorous and winning effect. While he had no particular theme, the show was a "celebration of the female form", as Kouri put it.
Saturday's bright and enthusiastic colours show that New York knows how to retain a sense of hope.