NEW YORK – Layering is mostly just how we dress, a way to extend what's in our closets and, bonus, stay warm and dry.
Next fall, it may be more about how we feel.
Sequins on sheers have surfaced OVER wool and New York Fashion Week runways are filled with mashups of soft bulk, rich color, vibrant prints and a variety of textures done in fresh ways.
Eclectic layers were on Rachel Roy's mind, on her catwalk and off.
"When it's freezing outside, I ask, `What can I put on?' ... I want the knit coats with prints on them that I can layer with cardigans, print dresses with tights, socks and bootie heels,'" she told The Associated Press.
The goal? "I'm trying to show a woman for fall-winter to work with different pieces that I'm suggesting or what's already in her closet," Roy said.
On Tuesday, the sixth day of previews, Rodarte's Kate and Laura Mulleavy sent coats down the runway with strategic cutouts that allow for more than a passing glimpse of what's underneath.
The most delicate layers were at Sophie Theallet, a thin cardigan worn over a sheer on top of a metallic corset cocktail dress.
Layering is practical. It's versatile. Building it in rather than piling it on can draw attention to every piece.
Previews run through Thursday night before moving on to London, Paris and Milan, Italy.
The Badgley muse is the type who replaces her trench with an anthracite shearling coat or a cropped ebony-colored shearling and wool bomber.
But against a beamed backdrop of a fog-filled cityscape, models wore gowns with beaded shoulders and in crushed velvet for straight-up glam.
There were gala gowns, including a magenta one-shoulder, all-over beaded one. Oscar gowns, a strapless black taffeta and tulle version with a black bow, and another in amethyst would give the flashbulbs a workout.
Rumer Willis, the new star of Badgley's ad campaign, and Kelly Osborne sat in the front row.
Fashion insiders talk a lot about seasonless dressing. It's how people really wear their clothes and it's how they shop, too.
Reese decided to use her "fall" collection to address the modern lifestyle, saying she wanted "glimpses of summer to shine through fall." She bridged the gap with rich toffee and charcoal shades on capes and cocktail dresses, while tossing in the occasional raspberry jumbo-floral T-shirt dress.
In her notes, Reese said she was looking to update romantic silhouettes "creating visions of amber sunsets and autumn botanical gardens."
Reese hit on one of the big trends to emerge from these previews: She used a mixture of tonal textures to create interest instead of relying on anything too gimmicky. Sequins and sweaters? No problem. And a leather skirt seems to be one of the must-have items.
Ronson's hunter joined the Army.
Her show was filled with green and brown in wool and tweed, dark as a forest with some black foil print to glitter things up.
Ronson's hemlines were all or nothing: short or to the floor in wide-leg pants and mini skirts, shorts and dresses. She added a red floral print for a lift, and a black pullover and double-breasted vest in waffle knit for depth.
Ronson went with layers on layers and turned the clock back with some slashed green leggings. She also brought back the '90s with a black corduroy blazer paired with a gold tank and black corduroy biker pants.
She sent out from behind an oversized wrought-iron gate the modern version of the free-spirited American heiress who enchanted the Brits back in the 1930s.
She still wears a long, loose shape — and likes her luxuries — but her wardrobe trunk would now be filled with chiffon racer-back tanks, box-pleat skirts and tiered V-neck dresses.
This woman doesn't need T-shirts and jeans, she needs a closet full of proper tea attire, cocktail dresses and full-length, black-tie gowns.
She covers it all with very contemporary outerwear, possibly a quilted satin coat with a fox harness and leather frame, or a leather jacket with a fox collar and mesh panel on the back.
Pleating, done with precision but also a softness, was a major theme. The best looks were the chemise dresses with dropped waists and accordion pleats, or the mustard-colored, high-neck cocktail number with sheer, slashed sleeves.
Wang said in her notes that she was aiming for "grace, romance and effortless style."
MARC BY MARC JACOBS
Get ready to spend autumn on safari.
The Marc by Marc Jacobs collection, a more affordable line by one of fashion's most influential designers, relied heavily on animal prints and super-shiny velvet.
Jacobs set impalas against backdrops of red and gold in skirts and pants. He used a red leopard print for a sweater and brown spots on a dress. Skirt and shorts suits in blue were patterned in a design he dubbed "panthera."
A silk dress in dragon green was high at the neck with a tie and buttons down to a belted waist during the fall debut Tuesday at New York Fashion Week.
CHADO RALPH RUCCI
By the time the bright red satin pagoda jacket and gown came down the runway, an explosion of color and drama to end the show, Rucci's fans couldn't contain themselves. They jumped up into a sustained standing ovation.
All of his hallmarks were in evidence: Glamour, intricate handiwork, and a whole lotta luxury.
Just the brief descriptions of Rucci's items tell the story: A ski parka in red sable. A puffer coat with a chinchilla vest. A silver feathered fox cardigan — full-length, no less. A paisley and Mongolian lamb kimono.
But it's the small details that had fans bursting into applause: The intricate cutouts in a black jacket. The confetti effect on the otherwise sheer top of a dress.
"The View" co-host Whoopi Goldberg sat next to Vogue's editor-at-large, Andre Leon Talley.
Max Azria blinged out the bandage dress for fall.
The silhouette was adorned with gold and silver rectangles and circles, some to connect cutouts and others as overlay.
The line "bonds its signature couture techniques to leather and metal hardware, crafting an inimitable suit of armor," according to the show's notes.
The palette was neutral: beige, cream, black, brown, white and tan, with an added subtle houndstooth print.
Alexa Ray Joel was in the front row. She said Herver Leger is "sexy, sleek."
Sexy '70s chic arrived in a melon, high-necked gown dripping in sequins with a slit from neck to navel in the front and no back.
The same sexy slit showed up on a halter jumpsuit in olive.
"Ultra Electric," the show's notes began. "Fabrics move fluidly, caress the body. An evanescent aura of chiffon settles over weighty jewels."
The collection was largely done in sleek ivory, black and olive but there were splashes of color in a purple asymmetric gown with a high neck and an emerald hooded chiffon one-shouldered dress.
She cocooned her models in beaver, fox and mink on collars and cuffs of coats with draping that enveloped from behind.
Roland's inspiration was traditional East blended with the cityscapes of the West in day and evening looks created in jewel green, red and purple.
She took a turn toward menswear in a black stretch wool gabardine tuxedo jacket with a satin tie lapel that was loosely tied and flowed down the front. It was paired with a satin halter jumpsuit in the same fabric.
Brian Wolk and Claude Morais looked to the history of menswear to please Ruffian's ideal woman in her search for "unkempt elegance."
The "Tuxedo Park" fall collection that included a short black patent leather skirt paired with a white silk blouse and black bow tie with tailed jacket.
The designers used silk, satin, velvet and lace to showcase the special occasion wear that included blouses, skirts, vests and pants Friday at the Mercedes-Benz Lincoln Center tents.
Loose-fitting Liverpool trousers were paired with a Priscilla blouse in ivory lace under a short jacket in merlot silk.