New York's Fashion Week -- We review what the designers sent down the runway this year

New York’s Fashion Week

Two types of celebrities attend the shows — clothes-conscious insiders and Gucci-challenged outsiders — and both groups took front row at New York’s fall fashion parade, March 28 through April 4.

Natch, the insiders, who included Minnie Driver, Elizabeth Hurley, and Mira Sorvino, spent the week sounding like they were auditioning for a job at Vogue. At Giorgio Armani’s new Emporio line, Sorvino observed: ”The use of green was fantastic…although [see-through metallic shifts] might be too sheer for real life.”

Reality, of course, is what outsiders find lacking. ”Fashion people are a bit too fabulous,” said Christina Ricci at Betsey Johnson. Others find label consciousness silly. When a reporter at Donatella Versace’s dinner asked Gwen Stefani who she was wearing, she laughingly realized her skirt was label-less.

So why show up? ”Donatella says, come have a luxury trip,” says Stefani. And like ex-outsider Courtney Love, Stefani sounds like she may cross over: ”I’m starting to accept the designer thing.”

Isaac Mizrahi

Think: The Wizard of Oz

Playing songs from the 1939 movie, Mizrahi staged a Technicolor spectacle that included hip-hop-style wide blue satin pants, fuchsia cardigans, and a ”Lullaby League” lilac dress. Plus there was a real munchkin: One model, in a red satin gown, carried a baby in a matching quilted carrier.

Celeb wattage: Martha Stewart and Jennifer Lopez, who liked that the models all smiled
Perfect for: Drew Barrymore, who’s developing Surrender Dorothy, a remake of Oz

Marc Jacobs

Think: Christmas in Connecticut

Jacobs’ collection of super-ply cashmere sweaters and long boiled-wool skirts — as sophisticated as Barbara Stanwyck’s wardrobe — will look cozy come winter.

Celeb wattage: Rita Wilson, who pitied models buried in double wool on the unseasonably warm day
Perfect for: Preppy Tea Leoni — just add a string of pearls

Betsy Johnson

Think: Puff Daddy chic

Johnson’s show, heavy on the T&A, was an homage to rapper style complete with gold quilted oversize coats, blond wigs on black models, and skimpy lame bikinis. But can coats over underwear really work for anyone who’s not getting jiggy with it?

Celeb wattage: Vivica A. Fox, Lenny Kravitz, Shoshanna Lonstein
Perfect for: Rap vixens Lil’ Kim and Foxy Brown

Badgley Mischka

Think: New York’s Chrysler building

There were gasps and applause — usually reserved for the end of a show — when these purveyors of swank gowns revealed an Art Deco dress that looked as tall as a skyscraper. ”Their dresses are like magical pieces of art,” says Saks’ women’s fashion director Nicole Fischelis.

Celeb wattage: Lopez and Miss USA Shawnae Jebbia coveted the same fur-trimmed dress
Perfect for: Longtime fan Cameron Diaz. Her Chloe Oscar outfit was a glamour washout.

Ralph Lauren

Think: Ralph Lauren

”He did what you expect from him: luxurious American sportswear,” says Saks’ Fischelis. But the clothes — a mix of loden green, winter white and regulation black — were softer and more sumptuous than usual, thanks to the heavy use of cashmere. Even in evening wear.

Celeb wattage: Diane Sawyer
Perfect for: Sigourney Weaver, who could stand a little traditionalism. Remember the Oscars?

Vivienne Tam

Think: Gidget goes to China

Tam’s fun, young take on all things Asian included gold dresses inspired by Chinese burning paper and beaded silver skirts that shimmered like fireworks.

Celeb wattage: Julia Roberts. Oops, she and the designer wore identical blue-and-green tops.
Perfect for: Mark Wahlberg’s gal China Chow, for the premiere of their film, The Big Hit

Calvin Klein

Think: Turning Japanese

Seemingly inspired by designer Rei Kawakubo, Calvin presented dresses wrapped with obi-like sashes and sweaters tucked into high-waisted skirts. ”It’s like origami,” says stylist Phillip Bloch. But don’t expect many of these looks on the racks. ”The stores buy the classic suits.”

Celeb wattage:NYU undergrad Christy Turlington, Bond girl Famke Janssen, and Tea Leoni
Perfect for: Nagano pixie Tara Lipinski, now that she’s got designs on fame outside the rink