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Desigual offers colorful start to NY fashion week

A model walks the runway at the Desigual Spring 2014 fashion show at The Theatre at Lincoln Center on September 5, 2013
A model walks the runway at the Desigual Spring 2014 fashion show at The Theatre at Lincoln Center on September 5, 2013 in New York City.

Spanish brand Desigual took the New York fashion crowd to the Mediterranean on Thursday, offering up a colorful spring collection that clearly bore the stamp of collaborator Christian Lacroix.

The lively catwalk show came on the first day of fashion week in the Big Apple -- a frenetic seven days of presentations for spring-summer 2014 before the style parade moves over to London, Milan and Paris.

Lacroix, who made his couture comeback in July in Paris with a one-off collection for the revived house of Schiaparelli, has worked with Desigual since 2011, and his Mediterranean roots were clearly on display.

The fast-growing Spanish brand offered up a more chic and subtle version of its trademark look: intense prints, vibrant colors and flamboyant graffiti art.

Typically stony-faced models pranced, laughed and at one point even skipped down the runway to upbeat music in the brand's debut show.

A model at the Desigual Spring 2014 show at The Theatre at Lincoln Center on September 5, 2013 in New York City.
A model walks the runway at the Desigual Spring 2014 fashion show at The Theatre at Lincoln Center on September 5, 2013 in New York City.

Desigual CEO Manel Jadraque said the collection was "more quiet, more sophisticated" than usual, but there was still plenty of color on the catwalk.

Jadraque said the collection was "practically Lacroix," highlighting the designer's key role for the label.

Seated in the front row, Italian actress and model Isabella Rossellini smiled broadly throughout what she told AFP was a "very cheerful" show, saying she particularly liked a series of geometrical black and white dresses.

Harem pants were paired with a bomber jacket, jacquard shorts and a t-shirt with a hypnotizing motif, jungle prints with florals.

One model wore a cropped top with a long striped skirt embellished with flowers on the side, while several maxi-dresses were also on show.

Earlier in the day, brother-sister duo Nicholas K offered up an earthy collection with a Native American feel.

To the beat of drums and Apache calls, models with fishtail braids over mussed hair -- often with a feather sticking out -- took spectators on what the designers called a spiritual journey.

Models show the Nicholas K Spring/Summer 2014 collection at the Lincoln Center on September 5, 2013
Models show the Nicholas K Spring/Summer 2014 collection at the Lincoln Center on September 5, 2013 in New York City.

A subdued palette of alabaster, granite, onyx and rich brown reflected the New York-based designers' origins in Arizona.

Knee-high and ankle boots accompanied loose, draping dresses, long light jackets, translucent tops and loose-fitting shorts.

Christopher Kunz, the female half of the duo, said the clothes were "very medicine man -- they had a surreal look to them."

She said the collection targeted "a strong, spiritual woman."

David Tlale, who last year became the first ever South African designer to secure a stand-alone spot at New York Fashion Week, was back again with his latest collection, "The A-lister".

Showcasing craftsmanship in his homeland, where all the pieces were made, Tlale mixed different textures, beads, bits of leather, silk organza and chiffon for a "punk fusion" collection he said was a clash of the 50s and 80s.

Several dresses had daring see-through bodices, and he mixed leather pants, shorts and dresses with a geometric print.

Models pose at the David Tlale Spring 2014 fashion presentation at The Box at Lincoln Center on September 5, 2013
Models pose at the David Tlale Spring 2014 fashion presentation during Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week at The Box at Lincoln Center on September 5, 2013 in New York City.

Celebrities and fashionistas have flocked to the city for the event, which runs through September 12. More than 100,000 people are expected to attend shows and parties throughout the week.

Of course, most are awaiting shows from the top designers: Ralph Lauren, Calvin Klein, Marc Jacobs, Tommy Hilfiger, Proenza Schouler, Jason Wu, Alexander Wang and Victoria Beckham, to name a few.

The official Lincoln Center venue will host about 100 shows, including those by red carpet darling Monique Lhuillier, Michelle Obama favorite Tracy Reese and fashion royalty Carolina Herrera.

Long-time New York veterans Vera Wang, Diane Von Furstenberg and Michael Kors will also show there.

But alongside the power players, there are several newcomers such as New York designer Eden Miller, who will become the first to present a collection for plus-sized women during Fashion Week.

Two-thirds of the week's events have spilled outside of the official location, with runways springing up elsewhere in the city.

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