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Diane von Furstenberg, Victoria Beckham, and More: New York Fashion Week Honors 9/11 (Photos)

Diane von Furstenberg hands out U.S. flags, Mayor Bloomberg drops by, and more New York Fashion Week highlights. See Photos.

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It was a somber day on Sunday as the fashion world paused to observe the 10th anniversary of the Sept. 11 attacks. Diane von Furstenberg passed out flags on her trip down the runway, Victoria Beckham observed a moment of silence before her show—and even Mayor Bloomberg made an appearance. See highlights from the fourth day of New York Fashion Week, spring 2012.

Robin Givhan, Jacob Bernstein, Isabel Wilkinson, Rebecca Dana, and Lizzie Crocker contributed to this report.

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Diane Von Furstenberg's New "Beginning"

The theme of Diane von Furstenberg's spring show was "Beginnings," and the collection evoked just that: rebirth, renewal, and fresh light. The 49 pieces that came down von Furstenberg's runway included many of the designer's strong signature prints, this time in pastels such as coral, cilantro, mint, and aqua. For evening, there were mesmerizing tops and embroidered sequined halter dresses in lime and light gray. As von Furstenberg described her girl for next season: "There is a lightness in her step, to her touch, and on her face. Dawn has broken. She is brand new." After the last model left the stage, Nina Simone's classic song "Feeling Good" began to play, its lyrics declaring: "It's a new dawn, it's a new day, it's a new life for me," just as von Furstenberg and her creative director, Yvan Mispelaere, began their lap down the runway. Von Furstenberg handed out flags, to commemorate the 10th anniversary of 9/11, to friends in the front row.  Backstage, the designer had scrawled a sign to her models that read: "Beginnings: Be Strong, Be Beautiful, Be You!"

Gary Gershoff, WireImage / Getty Images

DVF

Design talent wasn't just on the runway at Diane von Furstenberg's show—it was sitting front row, too. Valentino Garavani—fresh off his karaoke turn singing "Unforgettable" at Carine Roitfeld's party on Saturday night—sat in the front row (at far right) not far from the designer's husband, Barry Diller (chairman of IAC, an owner of The Newsweek/Daily Beast Company), actress Susan Sarandon, and designer Oscar de la Renta, who will present his own womenswear collection this week. The notable front row rushed backstage after the show—where they surrounded the designer and offered congratulations. As Sarandon told us backstage, "Diane makes things you can actually have breasts and wear." For Sarandon, though, the mood of the day was a sad one, as she remembered 9/11. "The flags [von Furstenberg gave out at the end of the show] were a good way of remembering this day," she said. "It was a way to dedicate to living a full life." Later that night, a couple hundred of the designer's nearest and dearest, among them Sarandon, Italian Vogue editor Franca Sozzani, photographer Ellen von Unwerth, and artist Anh Duong headed to Indochine for a dinner celebrating the collection. Mayor Bloomberg also was in the house, and gave a toast to von Furstenberg—in which he praised her for her work at the CFDA (an office she continues to hold "because no one else wants it"), joked about the pronunciation of her name ("Diane? Dion?"), and said, "I have never worn one of her iconic wrap dresses, and if I had, I wouldn't tell you about it." From there, von Furstenberg took to the microphone and paid tribute to the mayor ("he listens; he talks a lot, but he listens"), and explained why she hadn't changed the date of her show this year. "I've always had my show on Sunday of Fashion Week, so every seven years we have it on September 11, and as the president of the CFDA I felt it wouldn't be fair to change it and f--k it up for everybody else." How's that for candor?

Bend It Like Victoria Beckham

Before the start of Victoria Beckham's spring 2012 show at the New York Public Library, the audience stopped its chatter and buzzing twice for a moment of silence in remembrance of the terrorist attacks 10 years ago. When the show began, it was a more formal affair than it has been in seasons past. This time the models strode down a narrow but ornate corridor of the library instead of through the parlors of an Upper East Side townhouse. Beckham, in a navy dress and perilously high heels, sat with the audience but did not offer any commentary on the clothes themselves. She didn't need to. They were an articulate and succinct story of structure, volume, and feminine curves. Slim-fitting dresses in navy with stripes of bright orange traced the outline of the body. Bubblelike jackets with generous hoods topped trim miniskirts, and evening gowns with knife-pleated skirts and industrial-style straps were colored in pale blush, ivory, and sleek black. It was, as always, a grownup collection from Beckham—this one with a few more flourishes such as pleats and a few tricky straps. But it remained a sophisticated acknowledgement of how style doesn't have to speak loudly or in complicated terms.

Karly Domb Sadof / AP Photo

Thakoon: Pink Hair and Gold Brocade

Belying the grandiose Plaza ballroom setting, Thakoon Panichgul showed a collection full of wild Western–inspired carnival wear on Sunday, pairing mismatched mikado jackets and shirtdresses with Bermuda shorts, miniskirts, and gold-striped pants. His palette was straight from the Gold Coast, bursting with turquoise, saffron, marigold, and jade. The models wore floppy cowboy hats on top of cotton candy–colored hair. The collection was a riot of color but was modulated enough to be commercial, seemingly designed to go from Ibiza to Burning Man with just a change of shoes. Thakoon, a favorite of Anna Wintour, threw in just enough elegant pieces, including several shimmering embroidered sundresses sure to land on a few red carpets as well.

Dan Balilty / AP Photo

Derek Lam's California Dreaming

Derek Lam's collection on Sunday brought the usual dose of California sun. There were structured leather blazers and dresses; color-blocked coats in black and tan, a snakeskin skirt, kaleidoscope-print shirt, and crochet polo shirts. His inspiration this season was his home state of Southern California, and specifically the mid-century modern architect Richard Neutra and his homes in Palm Springs. "I always think of California," Lam told us after the show, "and revel in the culture I grew up in. I'm responding to the nature and the spirit of it." Indeed he was. "Somewhere," wrote Lam in his program notes, "there is Frank Sinatra and the Rat Pack crooning by the pain and Angie Dickinson lounging by a crystal-blue pool."

Diane Bondareff / AP Photo

Zac Posen's Old Hollywood

Zac Posen debuted an elegant collection on Sunday that was ripe for the red carpet. It brimmed with evening gowns that evoked Old Hollywood glamour—corseted dresses that swept the floor, intricate lacework, mermaid tails, and heaps of tulle. And colors, too, were just as rich: in bright green, navy, and crimson and pale pink.

Frazer Harrison / Getty Images for Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week

L.A.M.B. Without Gwen Stefani

Given the tight security and hordes of people at L.A.M.B., it was hard to believe the line's designer, Gwen Stefani, wasn’t hiding backstage. Despite all the fuss, the rock star was indeed M.I.A.—a departure from usual seasons, in which she stages an elaborate show and walks the runway with her son. But she was there in spirit: maxi-dresses came in high-voltage colors, along with jailbird jumpsuits, punkish jewelry, and girly knee socks worn with platform sandals spoke to her signature aesthetic. “It’s all about Gwen,” said nOir jewelry designer Leeora Catalan, whose pyramid pendants and studs were featured throughout the collection, along with elaborate, India-inspired gold collar necklaces. Stylist Paula Bradley worked with Gwen to infuse the collection with Rajasthani culture— specifically the tribal dress that characterized the region in the early ‘80s (neon saris and mismatched socks in bright greens and pinks). Mixed with Stefani’s tomboy look, Bradley said, the collection was designed to convey a fantasy: “What Gwen would bring back from India after traveling the country with the Rat Pack.” Models wore their hair in topknots—another Stefani signature—with black extensions woven in as a nod to dark-haired Indian beauties. But it wouldn’t be a L.A.M.B. show without Rasta flair, of which there was plenty, from the reggae-meets-hip-hop soundtrack to pops of color against a predominantly black-and-white palette.

Stephen Chernin / AP Photo

Tommy Hilfiger's Classic Americana

Tommy Hilfiger's show was as American as apple pie, with plaid bathing suits, long T-shirt dresses, denim jackets, and camouflage ponchos. There was a smattering of VIPs and celebrities in the front row as well, with Russell Simmons sitting near Malin Ackerman, one of the many starlets who have been all over the place this fashion week. "This is my last one," Ackerman said. "I was a guest judge on Project Runway, which was so much fun; I went to Honor, which was a beautiful show, Rag and Bone was beautiful." Is coming to all this actually fun, we asked, as the photographers descended en masse. "This part's work," she said, pointing to the reporter interrogating her. "Once the show starts, it's fun." What are you wearing, we asked. "Tommy, of course." Of course!

Neil Rasmus / BFAnyc.com

A Weekend Highlight: "Wangapalooza"

One of the weekend's biggest events was the raucous after-party for Alexander Wang's show—which was held in a giant parking lot under the High Line in Chelsea. This year, the Wangapalooza carnival had an unusual theme: frat house. There were helmets strapped with beer, drinking games, water guns, bumper cars, and carousel rides. The crowd, of course, was anything but fratty: after a performance from Tyler the Creator, model Agyness Deyn lead the pack to get up on stage to dance the night away. As Nymag.com's Amy Odell wrote of the party, "We suppose we can forgive the Wang team for not renting a petting zoo."