By SAMANTHA CRITCHELL
AP Fashion Writer
NEW YORK (AP) - The starlets lining the front rows of New York Fashion Week on Friday would be right at home in the refined yet youthful styles parading before them.
The look on the second day of more than 100 previews for retailers, editors and stylists balanced a ladylike elegance with a youthful flair. Light colors and lace details were offset by cutouts or even leather harnesses.
Allison Williams of HBO's "Girls" and Hailee Steinfeld of "True Grit" watched the muted florals on denim and midriff-baring cutouts at Peter Som. Emily Mortimer was on hand for Jason Wu, who said his collection aimed to balance beautiful refinement with something provocative and sexy.
"I love the idea of those two coming together _ a softness and a hardness coming together and I wanted to make a collection that sort of balanced, just teetered on that line of sexy but still sophisticated," he said.
Kate Bosworth looked the part of the modern sophisticate at Cushnie et Ochs, where the styles were sleek and chic. "The idea of youthful elegance is perfect for this show," she said. "I do think there's a movement toward a classic shape, a classic look, even if it's in a really loud print."
Meanwhile, the drama of "Project Runway" took center stage for the 10th anniversary season of a show that designer and judge Michael Kors said thrives because "fashion people by nature are a little high-strung, a little dramatic."
"Quite frankly, fashion people are interesting," he said. "Nothing against accountants but we are not a group of accountants, that's for sure."
Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week previews for retailers, editors and stylists continue for eight days, before the fashion crowd heads for London, Milan and Paris.
For Som's refined and youthful look, muted floral prints were shown on denim (part of Som's partnership with Earnest Sewn) and midriff-baring cutouts were carved into ladylike sheath dresses that fell below the knee. A pink orchid-print bustier dress was dotted with a bit of more demure lace.
Standard button-down shirts and a lace T-shirt were jazzed up with jeweled collars.
Olympic gold-medal runner Sanya Richards Ross was there, fully decked out in one of Som's lace numbers. "I love fashion. It's in my genes. If you saw my grandmother going to the grocery store, you'd think she was having lunch with the Obamas. We're always dressed up," she said.
Som is known to play with texture, and he created a colorful patchwork of snakeskin chevrons. The best version was the shift that was mostly a mix of pinks and purples on top, and chartreuse below the dropped waist.
There wasn't a lot of room for error on the Jason Wu runway. But he didn't need it.
From Carolyn Murphy's opening crocodile-like leather sheath to the navy silk tulle harness gown with embroidery that closed the show, the look was slim and sophisticated. Lace insets, bra tops, sheer fabrics and sharp tuxedos turned into shorts kept lively what were really refined, classic silhouettes.
Wu, in a backstage interview, said he was inspired by two photographers with differing styles _ Helmut Newton and Lillian Basman. It was the second show in the early going to make specific reference to Newton, which could explain the dominance of black and white. It was also the second to put leather harnesses on the models to give them a little bit of edge. They topped a white-lace embroidered shirt worn with black croc shorts, and over a pink lace sheath that also got a little bounce from a peplum.
One would imagine that first lady Michelle Obama, who helped propel Wu to hot-ticket status after she wore his gown to the 2008 inauguration, would wear her black-and-white "ghost print" satin sheath with organza insets sans leather hardware.
RAG & BONE
The layers were lovely in the preview of next spring's Rag & Bone collection. They weren't "too much" _ though the models in heaps of leather and lace in a steamy, raw space might have disagreed.
You wouldn't have known it to look at them, though, especially finale model Karlie Kloss, who had on a coral ripstop poncho.
Each look oozed the cool vibe that designers David Neville and Marcus Wainwright have mastered.
Tough leather, sometimes quilted motocross style, mixed seamlessly with both the ladylike peeks of lace and the menswear-inspired shirts. Confirming a few trends in the first two days of seasonal previews, Rag & Bone flashed some skin with strategic cutouts, did the hoodie thing and played with the proportion of the trenchcoat. Once they're on this runway, they're likely here to stay.
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