Easy, fluid style rules NY Fashion Week

NEW YORK (AP) - If there was a single message to take away from New York Fashion Week, it was this: Take it easy, fashionistas. Languid, fluid styles were dominant in the eight days of spring previews that wrapped up on Thursday.

Silhouettes were long and loose, sometimes billowy, in chiffon, tulle and silk. It was a far cry from the warrior look that has dominated the runways in recent seasons, and it reflected a new optimism that also came through in the use of white and sheer fabrics.

The hot ticket on the final day of Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week is Thursday night's return of Gwen Stefani and her LAMB collection to the runway at fashion's new home in Lincoln Center. But heavyweights Ralph Lauren, Calvin Klein and Oscar de la Renta also had their chance to put their stamp on this round of previews before fashion insiders take off to London, Milan and Paris.

RALPH LAUREN Ralph Lauren's romance with the American West continues. The twists on this runway were the silver sparkle, the ultra-luxe deerskin and sheer fabrics turning up in unexpected places.

Lauren employed traditional touches, such as leather fringe and oversized belt buckles, but there was a freshness and femininity to the clothes, especially the lace pieces.

A beautiful tulle embroidered blouse with a high neck, worn with an off-white leather fringed jacket and off-white linen shorts with crochet stripes down the side, kicked off the show and set the mood. Lauren's days at the ranch are far more glamorous than your typical cowboy - there might be a need for a deerskin, beaded vest or fringed pants.

For evening, there was a honey-colored beaded, fringed long skirt with an embroidered blouse with hand crochet details, and a blush-pink georgette gown with gentle ruffles and unfinished edges around the V-neck.

ISAAC MIZRAHI Isaac Mizrahi couldn't be bothered with little details - bows, buttons, pockets and the like - for his spring styles?

Mizrahi called his collection "IM Xerox," and most of the embellishment, save the sequins, were printed onto the fabric.

The opening look had those scan-effect pockets and buttons, another outfit had a faux corsage. A fashion-forward celebrity could wear the black strapless column gown with the illusion bow around the bust and generate some headlines.

Mizrahi then substituted collars and cuffs with jewelry. It was typical playful, inventive Mizrahi.

Then there were the styles that largely fit into this season, the sheer blush-colored coat over a ladylike strapless dress, the pajama pants-and-tunic combination in a pink floral print and the tuxedo, his done with a short jacket and polka-dot pants.

PROENZA SCHOULER From day to the dark of night, Proenza Schouler has its girls covered. The spring collection presented Wednesday night by designers Jack McCollough and Lazaro Hernandez moved almost seamlessly from tweed suits to bra tops, only skipping a few beats with a loose dress or two with some misplaced ruffles around the middle.

The skirt suits stayed youthful thanks to strategic flashes of neon brights and mix-and-match textures, while the lingerie looks were always above board because they were romantic - even suggestive - but not bawdy. A languid trouser was paired with a black-and-white tweed chiffon jacket, and some blouson dresses featured an ink-blot print.

The duo hit many of the must-haves to come out of these spring previews: the pants of the season, the mismatched textures, a hint of the boudoir, said Kristina O'Neill, Harper Bazaar's executive editor, "but they nailed the trends in a very Proenza way."