Designers on inspirations for New York Fashion Week

New York Fashion Week kicks off Thursday, which means hundreds of women will trot about the city in weather-inappropriate shoes, and fashion soothsayers will scrutinize every stitch on the catwalks to make their trend predictions. We queried designers about the inspirations behind their Fall/Winter 2014-2015 collections and heard everything from the esoteric (Elie Tahari: “Ray of light”) to the slightly more grounded (Pamella DeVos of Pamella Roland: “The exuberance of New York City’s architecture as captured by T.J. Wilcox’s “In The Air” exhibition at the Whitney Museum”). Here’s a sample of what’s coming.

Tracy Reese

  • “The collection takes an intimate look at self-expression, intermixing utility pieces with unique elements that provide pops of personality and spirit. Collection highlights include menswear-inspired silhouettes, oversized embroidered sweaters, fringe detailing, gold and gunmetal beading, and lamé and heathered tweed knits, anchored by a palette of playful colors that are tempered by neutral, muted tones.”

Kenneth Cole

  • “The mood is casual and relaxed, with tailoring mixed with street- and sports-style pieces; luxury sweatpants, detachable zip-out hoods, and winter shorts stand out, while warm outerwear (parkas and wool overcoats in particular) forms the basis of many outfits.”

Monique Lhuillier

  • “Fall 2014 is inspired by graphic architectural detail and Old World French Parisian couture techniques while also incorporating a dark romantic side.”

Joie (as explained by Serge Azria, creative director and CEO)

  • “We imagined the Joie girl roaming through Paris on a long fall afternoon, exploring hidden alleyways and local flea markets. Her look, characterized as perfectly undone with moody undertones, is complemented by her laissez faire approach to life as she strolls down city streets, sipping wine at a cafe and taking in the city’s charms.”

Mara Hoffman

  • “For my fall 2014 collection, I drew inspiration from northern Africa and all of the textiles, jewelry, and elements of nature picked up along the way.”

Rebecca Taylor

  • “There are references to Parisian street artist Philippe Baudelocque and the use of dimensional layering of textures and patterns. The idea of fragile work in an urban environment plays on the rare complexity of unexpected pairings of colors, techniques, and fabrics. Rounded coats layered with sheer cut-work dresses, boxy jackets and lofty sweaters, paired with tailored cropped pants, create an interesting balance between soft and angular. Matelassé organza applied over technical mesh experiments with dimension, while metallic glazed jacquards and chain-sequence detailing create a sense of edge in a modern and controlled way.”

Bibhu Mohapatra

  • “Purity in spirituality.”

Betsey Johnson

  • “Hot.”

Rachel Zoe

  • “Mod Parisien.”

Suno (as explained by Max Osterweis and Erin Beatty)

  • “We started looking at a series of photos taken by Jeremy Sutton-Hibbert capturing the lives of the Roma of Sinesti gypsies. He returned twice to the Calderari Roma camp near Bucharest, first in early 1990s and again in 2006. What’s most fascinating about the photographs is the obvious growth in wealth over the years, fortunes amassed through scrap-metal dealing. We became interested in the way they expressed this new wealth — the arabesque murals on the walls of mermaids, lush curtains and wall coverings, unused computers and rooms — yet continued to cling to their past. To capture this essence, we played with traditional prints, paisleys, and lotus flowers, mixing them with modern blocks and stripes.”

Todd Snyder

  • “A mood of rebellion vs. tradition.”

Christopher Muther can be reached at Follow him on Twitter @Chris_Muther.
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