Metallics Shine at New York Fashion Week

Skinny pants, and clothes that are either shiny or slightly shabby, were among the early trends for fall at New York Fashion Week.

Metallic fabrics replaced the beading that has been popular for several seasons, while distressed leathers, especially in military-inspired garments, looked modern and worn-in at the same time.

Kimora Lee Simmons' Baby Phat show was packed to the rafters Friday night, and still more editors, retail buyers and stylists were expected to arrive this weekend as Fashion Week kicks into high gear with Donna Karan, Carolina Herrera, Oscar de la Renta and Marc Jacobs presenting their fall previews early in the week.

Baby Phat: For Kimora Lee Simmons, fall will be a season of restraint, which for Simmons, wife of hip-hop mogul Russell Simmons, means clothes that don't get an X rating.

Among the looks she sent down the runway: a double-breasted rose tweed coat and a winter white dress with brown trim that seemed inspired by a flight attendant's uniform — down to the matching hat.

Dresses were the strongest part of her collection, including a flowing pink empire-waist gown with a red pleated satin bust and red ribbon threaded underneath.

Skirts were mostly short and some tops, including a nice cream-colored blouse with a ruffled neck, flounced sleeves and bottom, and a belt around the waist, were sheer. The model wore that top with slim leather pants.

Several outfits featured metallic tweed fabrics.

But Simmons couldn't resist a few tarty touches, such as a bodysuit worn with nothing but a fur vest and long leather driving gloves, and supershort shorts that looked like bubble bloomers paired with a draped top in shiny pink jersey.

Nicole Miller: Miller's mantra was stand up — and out — and be noticed. She used several stiff metallic fabrics that came away from the body. To emphasize her point, a few garments had oversized bows. Sometimes this worked, on a metal jacquard blouse, for example, but on a strapless embroidered dress, it looked more like holiday gift wrap than a party dress.

The other bold statement was her use of big, graphic Byzantine mosaic prints, mostly in an autumnal palette of brown, olive and orange with gold accents. Miller picked up on the emerging trend of skinny pants, and a pair of distressed leather ones were especially nice, though some seemed too tight for the models — not a good sign for the rest of us.

Some of her best looks were a high-neck asymmetrical coat in the Byzantine print with two jewels as fasteners, a lace-trimmed silk blouse and a stretch tissue metallic skirt, and an iridescent metallic coat that looked alternately burgundy and silver, which was worn over a blouson top in soft velvet and cigarette pants.

John Varvatos: Varvatos designs for tough guys. They wear military coats or distressed leather jackets, flight pants and rugby shirts. On the runway, they wear their three-button suits with combat boots.

Apparently, though, Varvatos isn't afraid to embrace a man's softer side. He borrowed a few details that have been popular with women lately, including a poncho, an asymmetrical coat and, in an item that's already becoming ubiquitous for fall, a stiff metallic scarf.

The question is: Will regular Joes wear such things?

Either way, they'll surely like the brown crocodile-embossed leather commander's jacket.