Philipp Plein hits town, Oscar de la Renta, Monse team up

NEW YORK (AP) — Philipp Plein promised something different for his first turn at New York Fashion Week and delivered with a huge crowd packed into the monolithic main branch of the public library, live music courtesy of Nas and The Kills — and Madonna turning up last minute on his front row.

Dynamic designing duo Laura Kim and Fernando Garcia, meanwhile, performed a high-wire act, presenting not one but both of their fashion lines — Oscar de la Renta and Monse — simultaneously. Carolina Herrera called her show her "white shirt" moment, a celebration of her favorite garment. And Proenza Schouler said adieu to New York for now as it prepares to show in Paris.

Some of Monday's highlights:

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THE PLEIN CIRCUS IN TOWN

Plein, reveling in his disruptor status and usually a mainstay in Milan, didn't disappoint. Social media viral sensation Jeremy Meeks, the "hot felon," was on his runway alongside rappers and an army of people dressed as Statues of Liberty entertained his guests, along with Times Square's Naked Cowboy.

The German designer promised and delivered something different, with a hashtag rallying cry of his very own launched days in advance on Instagram: "Let's Make NYFW Great Again."

Did his giant black and silver puffer coats and luxe sportwear deliver? It was a tad hard to see the clothes from the cheap seats, but Plein the businessman is making a retail push into the U.S. market, coveting consumers here as his discerning next step.

"This dream came true for me tonight," Plein said, making the unusual move of addressing the crowd before the show after Nas performed to help get everyone all warmed up. "Even my girlfriend is here and she didn't have a seat."

The point?

"It's all about having fun," the affable Plein told the horde.

And you know what? It kinda was.

Madonna was accompanied by photographer Steven Klein and joined in the crowd by Kylie Jenner, Tiffany Trump (Secret Service in tow) and Paris Hilton. The handsome, blue-eyed California con Meeks, with the teardrop tattoo on his face, was joined on the meandering runway by rapper Desiigner and graffiti artist Alec Monopoly, who goes anonymous by covering his face with a bandanna.

So why New York?

"I killed Milan. I did the biggest shows ever in Milan. There was nobody who could really compete with us anymore, so the next step was to come over to New York. America is one of the biggest economies in the world. We're coming to America, and the people that ask all these questions tonight, 'Who the (bleep) is Philipp Plein?' You know, I'm here to answer the question," Plein said in an interview backstage before the show. "It will take a while before they get to know us, but that's why we're here."

Meeks' searing blue eyes and perfect cheekbones lit up the runway after doing the same on the internet in 2014, after his arrest for gun possession in a gang sweep in Stockton, California. Police there posted his mugshot on Facebook and women went wild. He had a record for auto theft and has served time in both state and federal prisons, so why put him in a fashion show?

"We're all bad boys," Plein said. "I'm a bad boy."

—Leanne Italie

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SEEING DOUBLE, AT OSCAR DE LA RENTA

It was a highly unique fashion show, born of highly unique circumstances.

In September, Laura Kim and Fernando Garcia were named co-creative directors at Oscar de la Renta, replacing Peter Copping at the venerable luxury label. It was a return to the company where they'd both begun their careers. In the meantime, they'd launched their own fledgling label, Monse, which fast became a celebrity favorite (and Kim had worked briefly at Carolina Herrera).

On Monday evening, they pulled off the feat of showing their two, quite different lines together in one big show. It did not go entirely as planned: A huge silver curtain, meant to pull back dramatically for the de la Renta section, got stuck and stayed stubbornly put on one side.

But the clothes themselves definitely impressed. The first item down the runway for Monse was a ruffled white shirt with oversized, cascading sleeves and bared shoulders. Exposed shoulders were a theme; dresses or sweaters, as in a roomy black turtleneck, often had one shoulder covered and one not.

Casual tops and dresses led to fancier outfits, in velvet or satin — or covered in sequins, as in a red-and-blue sequined tunic worn over black velvet cargo pants, and paired with red sequin pumps.

The Monse vibe was decidedly younger and edgier than the classic de la Renta ethos, but those clothes, too, seemed to have taken on a new vibe. An example: a pale pink pantsuit revealed a huge silver sequined corset underneath. A classically shaped strapless cocktail dress was cleverly modernized with colorful "abstract brushstroke" embroidery, and with black suede thigh-high boots underneath, rather than strappy heels.

Similarly, an elegant black velvet cocktail dress was freshened with a "one-shoulder" look — only one strap — and especially by the striking, crystal-embroidered black thigh-high boots underneath.

Bella Hadid closed out the show in a sleek, strapless black gown with a bejeweled border. Among those watching from the sidelines as the two sets of models converged: Paris and Nicky Hilton.

— Jocelyn Noveck

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PROENZA SCHOULER SENDS A GOODBYE KISS TO NEW YORK

Asked by someone backstage to define their collection in three words, designers Lazaro Hernandez and Jack McCollough of Proenza Schouler had an easy answer: New York City.

The duo is moving to Paris next season — not moving their company or home, but showing at Paris Fashion Week rather than New York. So they were in the mood to say a nice goodbye. Especially with the energy — political energy, that is — that they've been feeling.

"It's really our idea of New York," Hernandez explained. "The energy of the last few weeks really has been inspiring to us. Everyone getting together and standing up for what they believe in. For us, it's not a time for sitting at home in a bathrobe and slippers and being comfortable, it's a time to put on a flat shoe and a leather jacket and you go out there and you stand for what you believe in and you fight for the things you want."

Besides, he added, "We're going to Paris next season, and so it for us was a celebration of everything we love about New York."

McCollough explained that the label wants to show their collection earlier — starting during Paris couture season in July— to give it more time to "live" on store shelves. "Now it lives on racks for six weeks," he said. "This is what we pour our heart and soul into, so why not do it earlier and have it last longer in stores?"

The show began with roomy menswear-style coats, with the label's logo represented on straps. There were dresses in a shiny leather, but coated with a plastic finish, "so it's sort of a trashbag feeling," McCollough said. "Asymmetry was a big thing for us this time," he said. "Also lots of sheer knits, a mix of opaque and sheer knitwear."

"We wanted everything to feel off to one side," added Hernandez. "All the cutting came from the idea of a brushstroke."

A standout was a striking fire-engine red-and-black knit dress with one shoulder entirely exposed and a diagonal swath of midriff showing.

—Jocelyn Noveck

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CAROLINA HERRERA: LOVING THE WHITE SHIRT

Few women rock a white blouse like Carolina Herrera — it's her personal signature garment. But there are lots of ways to make a white blouse, and the veteran designer presented a variety of those, in a collection she called "my white shirt moment."

Her aim, she said backstage, was "to show the white shirt and how to wear it, and also it's all about calm elegance. Very calm, uncomplicated silhouettes and effortless looks."

This Herrera collection seemed to have a more relaxed vibe, with a number of models wearing flat granny boots, for example, as they strolled the runway.

"I think it's a very feminine collection, but not complicated at all," Herrera said. "I call it uncomplicated because they're simple lines but they all have sort of an extravagant detail that's unique."

Herrera was in the news lately for designing Ivanka Trump's inaugural gown — a sparkling, long-sleeved, blush pink number.

"Well I know Ivanka since she was a little one," Herrera noted. "She has been a friend always, and she is very loyal to the house of Herrera. She always comes to me, and I think she looked fabulous because she's a beautiful girl."

Herrera's white shirts were all crisp, of course, but they came in different styles, and many of them sported bows: at the collar, around the waist, or on the puffs of sleeves. As the show transitioned away from shirts, the bows reappeared everywhere: at the pockets of a coat or on filmy gowns, at the shoulders or around the neck, on the back or at the front.

Standouts were a stunning sleeveless teal gown with a V-neck and a black strip around the waist; a burgundy crocheted dress; and a gown with a black bodice and a tiered, black-and-white skirt.

—Nicole Evatt and Jocelyn Noveck

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