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Sep 11, 2011
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NY fashion week: a bit of 9/11 worry, lots of fun

Sep 11, 2011

NEW YORK, Sept 10, 2011 (AFP) - Fashionistas in New York for the spring 2012 shows may be jittery about a possible terror threat in the city, but the designers who unveiled collections displayed nothing but confident joy.

Jason Wu - SS12 / Photo: Pixel Formula

Organisers of fashion week in the Big Apple said Friday they were taking the threat linked to the 10th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks seriously, and were in constant contact with city authorities and law enforcement.

Security checks were stepped up at fashion central in Manhattan's Lincoln Center, as they have been across the city -- those without the proper badges were turned away. Several police vehicles were parked nearby.

"Normally I am not worried, but I could see people on the subway this morning -- everybody was kind of looking to the sides. I was extra careful," said 25-year-old Canadian photo editor Alex Margary, in town for the shows.

On the catwalks, those fears quickly melted away, thanks to the exuberance of the collections for next spring and summer.

Jason Wu, who skyrocketed to fashion stardom when he was selected to design First Lady Michelle Obama's inaugural ball gown, impressed with lots of black and white prints, infused with bursts of bright yellows and pinks.

Wu deliberately mixed up silhouettes and materials, to "break out from the usual look".

Rebecca Taylor offered silk dresses with plenty of flounces, belts knotted at the waist, and paired them with strappy red or gold sandals -- creating an airy, ultra-feminine look.

Rebecca Taylor - SS12 / Photo: Pixel Formula

And Peter Som dared to be bold with dresses and trousers in huge multi-colored floral prints.

Sportswear king Tommy Hilfiger broke away from the usual venue, staging his men's spring show in the early evening on the High Line, a section of former elevated railway converted into a park not far from the Hudson River.

Impeccably coiffed models strutted in polo shirts and camouflage-patterned cashmere sweaters, wide-striped trousers and yellow leather trench coats -- Hilfiger's latest interpretation of the preppy, sporty student.

The suits were more classic -- in sky blue or with pinstripes, and neatly tailored.

Fashion week continues on Saturday with more than 25 shows on tap from designers including Prabal Gurung, Monique Lhuillier and Felipe Oliveira Baptista, who makes his debut as new artistic director for Lacoste.

The shows in the Big Apple will run through September 15.

New York is the first stop in a month-long style marathon that will take the fashion world's elite to London, Milan and Paris.

Meanwhile, a leading US human rights group hailed a decision by fashion week organizers to cancel a show by the daughter of Uzbek President Islam Karimov because of Uzbekistan's poor human rights record.

Human Rights Watch said it was informed by IMG, organizer of New York Fashion Week, that it was canceling the show of Gulnara Karimova, Uzbekistans permanent representative to the United Nations and ambassador to Spain, who was slated to present her clothing line, "Guli," on Thursday.

"Enslaving children and torturing dissidents is never chic," Steve Swerdlow, an Uzbekistan researcher at Human Rights Watch, said in a statement.

"Were glad Fashion Week will not showcase a designer who represents such a repressive government," he added. "Theyre sending the message that abusers shouldnt be allowed to launder their image at the expense of human rights."

Human Rights Watch said it had documented widespread human rights violations in Uzbekistan under President Islam Karimov, including systematic torture, forced child labor, and the severe repression of civil society.

Numerous journalists and human rights activists have been imprisoned in that Central Asian country, the group said.by Brigitte Dusseau

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