New York Fashion Week Displays Leg Wear

It looks like leg wear is here to stay, at least through fall. Textured tights are the first must-have item to emerge from New York Fashion Week — you need them to wear with all the short, flirty skirts.

On Sunday afternoon, DKNY and Tracy Reese kept the hemline above the knee and then some. But the runway shows previewing fall styles for editors, retailers and stylists continue through Friday, with trendsetters such as Marc Jacobs, Vera Wang and Calvin Klein still to come.

DKNY: Forget separate daytime clothes and evening clothes. Donna Karan seamlessly blended the two in her DKNY collection for fall. There was a hint of sparkle peeking out from under skirt suits with bouncy flip hems, and a playful heart print used on bow blouses softened an outfit of tailored separates.

The knits, many of the them chunky cardigans in black and white, were cozy and inviting but, when paired with tweed wide-leg trousers or a ruffled miniskirt, never looked too slouchy for work or too fitted for play.

The palette was purposefully dark: black and gray with bright spots of berry, violet and "acid" — sort of greenish yellow. A berry-colored cashmere and double-faced wool coat and a matching short skirt were particularly stylish — perfect for the young urbanite who is the target DNKY customer.

These outfits also would look trend-right on a college campus or a hip high-tech office. Some skirts were too short for anyone with three-decade-old legs, but it's likely the lengths will be a little longer when the clothes arrive in stores.

Karan, in her notes, said she was inspired by the "sexy buzz" of a city night when streets are "a blur of dotted lights and neon color." This was the excuse to infuse a few 1980s touches, such as a purple and black scuba dress and silver sequin-covered leggings, but this was the '80s done right, not as the fashion joke that era has become.

Tracy Reese: Over the years, Tracy Reese has built up a solid reputation and following — including Alicia Keys, who sat in the front row — which likely have given her confidence to try new things. For fall, that means breaking out of her pretty and feminine mold and offering more of a bold, even mod, look along with attention-grabbing metallic fabrics.

Many outfits mixed black with bone (a fancy word for off white) with touches of shiny patent leather trim. The most innovative use was as the trim on a pair of cigarette pants worn with a swinging A-line jacket. Mod influences also could be seen on a series of formfitting black dresses with pops of magenta and navy blue.

Reese also knows how to make outerwear a fashion item instead of a wintertime necessity, and this time she freshened up the A-line shape, both in short jackets and longer coats.

There is, however, a question of wearability when you get to Reese's "tux shorts." They're basically skinny Bermuda shorts with a stripe down the leg that she put over cool textured tights. They might make for a great photo, but they're unlikely to top many fall shopping lists.