New York Fashion Week runway rundown

Story highlights

  • Designers launched spring 2014 collections over the last 7 days in New York
  • Trends favored comfortable, wispy, feminine and monochromatic looks
  • Amid ladylike pieces, crop-tops and cut-outs boost sex appeal

New York Fashion Week concluded yesterday, and the trendy, well-heeled set can finally rest their aching feet -- at least for the flight across the pond to London, Paris and Milan to wash, rinse and repeat it all over again.

With the debut of more than 100 spring 2014 collections over the course of seven days, it's ambitious to declare a definitive motif, but there were certainly a number of recurring looks that achieved majority rule.

Comfortable, wispy, feminine and monochromatic are just a few ways to describe the spring 2014 collections that were showcased at events in Lincoln Center and throughout the city. CNN was on the ground to document the looks that will put a spring in your step come next year.

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Participating designers ran the gamut, from the powerhouses that showed on the final day like Ralph Lauren, Calvin Klein and Marc Jacobs to up-and-comers Creatures of the Wind and Alon Livne. Also making a splash were street-style favorites like Sachin + Babi, Sass & Bide, Proenza Schouler and The Row, started by Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen.

Prior to the shows, we caught up with fashion forecaster WGSN and Elle Magazine's fashion news director Anne Slowey to place their bets on what consumers will see in stores in six months -- and their predictions were, collectively, on the button.

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"I suspect we will see a continuation of resort (wear) -- big florals, art-inspired prints, offbeat pastel combinations and architecturally minded separates and sportswear-inspired ideas," Slowey said, prior to the whirlwind week.

Sheila Aimette of fashion forecaster WGSN agreed that we should keep an eye out for bold prints and patterns -- florals, plaids, etc. -- meanwhile the silhouettes would remain sleek and architectural.

Designers also favored the bare midriffs -- crop top until you drop, if you will -- as well as cut-outs and sheer fabrics to reveal some skin amid more ladylike pieces, like below-the-knee hemlines.

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Slowey's resort-wear prediction proved prescient: Tommy Hilfiger took attendees to Southern California; he even experimented with neoprene and constructed waistbands in some of his skirts and shirts, which looked like peeled down wetsuits.

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The getaway theme also resonated in the Capri-inspired, lemon grove patterns of Kate Spade and tropical flower-print dresses and straw fedoras of Tracy Reese's Havana nights-themed collection.

Also well-represented: Short suits; slip dresses and culottes. Think classic Daisy Buchanan with a little boudoir flare.

Making an unlikely and comfortable comeback is the Birkenstock sandal, offering a bit of 1990s nostalgia for the collections of Trina Turk and Rachel Zoe, as well as a new collaboration between the shoemaker and J. Crew.

Yet, among all this, a mod black-and-white palette reigned supreme. Ralph Lauren opened up with a monochromatic color scheme before transitioning into bright Kelly green, blue, orange and yellow gowns; Rag & Bone, Victoria Beckham, Cushnie et Ochs and Altuzarra also stayed minimalist in hue for most of their collections.

As for the hair, it was matted down and sleek in most shows, while the makeup was understated and shimmering -- orange lipstick added a common pop of color at many shows.

What wasn't understated was the showmanship: From the rose-scented room of Prabal Gurung to the models at Opening Ceremony who showed off clothes amid luxury cars. At Desigual, models cheekily walked and danced down the runway with smiles and peace sign gestures; and at Jen Kao, several models were even joined down the runway by similarly-coiffed Afghan hounds. Meanwhile, Thom Browne went full-on "Bride of Frankenstein" with corseted couture pieces paired with smeared red lipstick and teased out gray wigs.

See all of CNN Living's New York Fashion Week coverage. And catch up with us come spring for a look at the fall and winter collections.

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