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Fashion Week cozies up to fall

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Story highlights

  • Designers launched fall 2014 collections over the past seven days in New York
  • Trends favored cozy sweaters, heritage fabrics and menswear-inspired shoes
  • Von Furstenberg, Tahari and Karan all celebrated anniversaries in the business

Pelt-wearing New York Fashion Week attendees were pelted with the elements Thursday as runway shows by influential brands Ralph Lauren, Calvin Klein, J. Mendel and Marc Jacobs closed out the weeklong affair.

CNN spoke with WGSN fashion forecaster Sheila Aimette before the 90-plus shows and presentations about what trends would make an autumnal appearance in 2014. Among her predictions were "Americana and wild, wild West inspiration," heritage fabrics and menswear-inspired pieces.

The predicted trends largely fell into place, with designers mixing and matching inspirations.

The Western-wear movement didn't translate into full shotgun-and-chaps ensembles; rather, pastoral elements roamed through many of the collections. Michael Kors debuted an all-leather fringe skirt, Rebecca Minkoff had tasseled booties, Rag & Bone featured a buffalo-check mohair coat, and Derek Lam showed a patchwork skirt of green, black and brown leather squares.

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Meanwhile, leather goods company Coach revealed its first ready-to-wear collection under the direction of the company's new executive creative director, Stuart Vevers, with leather, shearling and wool outerwear, along with fringe-flapped and leather cross-body bags to accessorize.

Cushnie et Ochs, by Carly Cushnie and Michelle Ochs, paired many of its plunging silhouettes with black cowboy hats.

    "A New York girl packing for Texas," Michelle Ochs said of the line's inspiration after the show during a Q&A at the American Express VIP Card Member Lounge at Milk Studios.

    Australian Dion Lee explored his roots with crocodile hide and snakeskin detailing and convict-uniform-inspired gray pieces.

    In addition to fringe benefits, fall will come equipped with cozy knits and comfortable layers. Variations on the poncho coat were shown by Nanette Lepore, Thakoon and Tommy Hilfiger, among others. The Row, by Mary Kate and Ashley Olsen, cocooned models in cashmere capes and funnel-neck sweaters.

    As predicted, women's wear looked toward the menswear sector: pristine tailoring in suit jackets and trousers, sensible oxfords and glittering loafers (as seen in Tracy Reese's show). The message: Snug can be sexy, but less skin is more in fall 2014.

    But, of course, there's always room for old-world glamor: Pamella Roland, Reem Acra, Badgley Mischka and Carolina Herrera played with boldly sequined and patterned evening dresses. Zac Posen's grand ballgowns in teal, black, periwinkle, orange and red barely fit down the runway.

    Why you're still wearing those ladylike fashions

    Erin Fetherston based her collection on the mid-century glamor of Grace Kelly and Edith Bouvier Beale, pairing brocade and ball skirts with delicate, pearl-lined tulle gloves designed by Hardly Alice.

    Meanwhile, Rebecca Taylor, Phillip Lim, Tibi and Marc Jacobs played with spring pastels in powder blues and purples -- with Jacobs showing his eponymous collection amid a backdrop of hanging clouds.

    The Rodarte collection was invaded by dresses printed with images of Luke Skywalker, Yoda, C-3PO, R2-D2 and the Death Star. Jeremy Scott went sporty with full-length furry jersey dresses, tube socks and Madballs prints: a freaky, popular toy from the '80s.

    There was also the return of the supermodel to the runway: Coco Rocha walked for Zac Posen, and Victoria's Secret angels strutted, too: Karolina Kurkova for Cushnie et Ochs, Adriana Lima for Jason Wu and Candice Swanepoel for Desigual.

    Of course, we can't talk about Fashion Week without a few spectacles: A streaker at Prabal Gurung was tackled on the runway, a wall dripped with melted chocolate at Opening Ceremony (just in time for Valentine's Day), and a stage rotated with models in Brooklyn for Alexander Wang.

    Diane Von Furstenberg celebrated 40 years in the business, as did Elie Tahari; Donna Karan celebrated 30. We expect these mainstays to come on strong come fall at the spring and summer shows. Visit CNN Living for more New York Fashion Week coverage until then.

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