New York Fashion Week stars include Drew Barrymore and an Italian greyhound

Tika the Iggy, a canine social media star, took the front row at Christian Siriano's presentation

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A coronavirus-affected New York Fashion Week opened on Friday with autumn/winter shows by Proenza Schouler and Christian Cowan.

Despite pandemic restrictions and the Omicron variant upsetting preparations, several brands have opted for in-person shows, including Michael Kors, Altuzarra, Tory Burch, Brandon Maxwell and Telfar.

A notable absentee is Tom Ford, chairman of the Council of Fashion Designers of America or CFDA that organises the event.

He was due to close the week next Wednesday but cancelled at the end of January owing to a surge of Covid-19 cases among his team.

"We have tried everything possible to avoid cancelling our New York show but ultimately, are faced with the sad fact that we will simply not have a completed collection in time," he said.

Still, the show, which ends on Wednesday, went on ...

Proenza Schouler opens New York Fashion Week

Proenza Schouler kicked off proceedings, with a collection inspired by the Surrealist aesthetic of Swiss artist Meret Oppenheim.

A series of eclectic silhouettes and flowing designs were displayed at a downtown Manhattan art centre on Friday afternoon.

As violinists played, the runway show, staged at The Brant Foundation, began with sculpted knitwear and combined bold colours – yellow, purple, bright red – with black and white ensembles. Typical of the designers’ work was a theme of deconstructed garments. “Construction is eliminated, letting the yarn itself do all the shaping,” the designers explained.

There was a focus on peplums, or strips of fabric attached to the waist of dresses or skirts or tops, in various forms – short and ruffled, or longer, on a voluminous skirt or layered over an oversized trench.

Christian Cowan brings party glam

Meanwhile, British wunderkind Christian Cowan held a show 102 floors up the One World Trade Centre on hallowed 9/11 ground, with a screeching party soundtrack, a riot of sequins, feathers and little T-shirts of love to the city he now calls home.

It’s about maximalism. More is more
Christian Cowan, designer

The designer, aged 25, who first put clothes on Lady Gaga’s back while still a teenager in fashion school, married Hollywood with Gen Z TikTok culture – and the vibes of Lower East Side club kids with Upper East Side ladies who lunch. He set out this time around to honour New York as the city wakes up amid a pandemic with loosened restrictions and the hope of a brighter future.

Cowan rolled out a variety of evening sparklers, day looks and minis done in Valentine’s Day red. There was a slinky show of black and a silvery party mini adorned with flat sequins of varying sizes. He went with a deep purple for several creations and lavender for others worthy of a night out, including an embellished body hugger with one bulbous shoulder.

Feathers in pink adorned sleeves and bandeau tops, and trains trailed behind some of his models as they camped it up for the cameras.

“It’s about maximalism,” he told The Associated Press. “More is more.”

Tika the Iggy attends Christian Siriano's front row

On Saturday, Christian Siriano’s runway on Saturday was part space-age, part centuries gone by and part in the moment with a special guest: social media’s star Italian greyhound Tika the Iggy.

In the bowels of the Empire State Building, on a bare concrete floor, Siriano rolled out his huge, signature ball gowns in a variety of colours and textures, including one in grey tweed with a huge hood and another in shiny, steel blue with sleeves that formed spikes worthy of the Jetsons. Before that came a range of looks in the experimental collection he calls Victorian Matrix.

The Project Runway mentor and host who launched his eponymous womenswear brand in 2008 included a series of looks in a bold black and taupe check. There was a belled trouser outfit with a flouncy strapless top that would require a bold fashion confidence. He sent one model out in a mini-dress version of the checks, with a huge round statement head topper that’s as conspicuous as fashion gets.

His latest ball gown offerings also came in the check, one with a full skirt paired with a long-sleeve, midriff-baring top with a cutout back.

Some of his guests cheered on his models as the show progressed. Hannah Waddingham of Ted Lasso fame, Susan Sarandon and Siriano mainstays Danielle Brooks (who wore him at her recent wedding) and Alicia Silverstone sat on his front row with Drew Barrymore and Candace Bushnell.

Waddingham and Barrymore posed for photos holding the tiny TikTok and Instagram star Tika the Iggy, a huge smile on their faces.

- AFP and AP contributed to this report

Updated: October 13, 2022, 11:20 AM