Early in the day, one of fashion's own (albeit a sharp-tongued one) was remembered at Joan Rivers' funeral. Among the guests: designers Carolina Herrera and Michael Kors, and E! network "Fashion Police" co-hosts Giuliana Rancic and Kelly Osbourne.
Victoria Beckham took a conservative approach to spring 2015; Joseph Altuzarra went for girly naivete inspired by Roman Polanski and Stanley Kubrick. And Public School went coed. Nanette Lepore was inspired by the beaches of California and the south of France.
Among the highlights:
The DNA of DKNY has always been about New York. But Donna Karan paid homage to the city's different cultures and neighborhoods through an explosion of bright patterns of reds, blues and yellows and a heavy dose of textures from mesh to viscose wool for her spring 2015 runway show on Sunday.
In an interview after her show, Karan said that her spring collection is about "the streets of New York. The people of New York. The art of New York. The energy of New York. The modernity of New York."
"It's really the collective," Karan said. "Thinking of high energy, what is tomorrow and celebrating the people ... from all different cultures and walks of life. And giving them a freedom to have fun."
The result? The DKNY runway collection, which is more casual and less expensive than her signature line, featured oversized wool sweaters in red and ink blue geometric patterns paired with pleated striped skirts, and red and blue nylon T-shirt dresses. There was also a black and white capsule of striped strapless tops paired with full skirts in black mesh. Some gold looks shimmered down the runway too, like gold-plated nylon quilted cropped bomber jackets paired with a black viscose stretch short tube skirt or a gold-plated nylon quilted full skirt.
The show opened with a one-minute film featuring young New Yorkers talking about why they like the city.
Actress Victoria Justice, best known for starring in the Nickelodeon TV series "Victorious" and a devotee of the brand, was in the audience.
"I love DKNY so much. I am such a huge fan," said Justice, who says she believes this is her third DKNY show. "It's just like classic New York street chic and it's edgy and it's totally my vibe."
Justice acknowledges there's lots of pressure to look your best during Fashion Week, but she's having fun too. "At the end of the day it's just about feeling good in the clothes and having fun and doing different things with your hair and makeup and taking risks and just being a girl and loving every second of it," she added.
Dao-Yi Chow and Maxwell Osborne, whose catchily named, heavily street-influenced menswear brand has had a meteoric rise the last few years, stepped wholeheartedly into womenswear Sunday with a spring 2015 collection divided equally between the genders.
"It was actually even a little more women's than men's, which is obviously different for us," Osborne noted with a smile after the show.
The designers, who capped off a whirlwind few years by winning, in June, the Council of Fashion Designers of America menswear award over more established colleagues, noted that expanding into women's clothes had opened up an exciting new range of ideas.
"I think we have a wonderful opportunity to do something with our womenswear collection," Chow said. "Playing with shapes and colors — you know, those things that sort of make womenswear fun to do."
The color palette included black, but also white and a bold electric blue. Shapes went from large and boxy, as in oversized jackets, shirts and vests, often paired with loose-falling shorts, to sleek, as in a striking black sleeveless dress with side cutout detail, worn over an electric blue shirt dress that peeked out underneath.
Also striking: A long-sleeved women's pullover sweater with "open sleeves," leaving bare arms hanging freely in front, with the sweater sleeves almost like a train, and a silky electric blue blouse that fell almost to the knee.
Shirt tails hung out defiantly. Hats were unisex; in a somewhat odd touch, both men and women wore what resembled military caps. "We had a lot of ideas so that was sort of the difficult part, trying to sort through it all," Chow said afterward. "We really wanted to turn it up a bit, in terms of shape and silhouette."
There were lots of stripes, muted colors and sleek looks as Victoria Beckham presented her spring/summer collection, which she says is a redefinition of her line.
Beckham had her show in a cathedral-like hall off of Wall Street — an apropos setting for her clothes, which looked like they were designed for a stockbroker looking for something that was glamorous, sexy — but still workplace appropriate.
In general, she would do well with Beckham's collection, which, save for a few pink floral outfits including a shirt dress, had a bit of a conservative tone. In a palette that mostly ranged from tan to taupe and black, with accents of white or an occasional maroon, there were sleek solid coats of varying lengths, boxy dresses, and pantsuits. But of course, being Beckham's line, they were not exactly traditional; there was a long coatdress with a red belt, a white accent stripe at the bottom and an asymmetrical design that made for a clever, one-breasted panel. One black dress had cut-out, exposed shoulders, and other coats and dresses had cutouts that showed off sharp shoulder blades and minuscule waists. There were also sweater dresses and long layered skirts.
Notables in the audience: husband David Beckham and Anna Wintour.
In describing her line, Beckham said the launch of her new retail space in London had made her redefine her clothes with "the idea of creating an eclectic uniform in the form of an exact, yet wearable wardrobe that embodies the evolution of the collection."
Nanette Lepore, known for her youthful feminine fashions, sent embroidered caftans and colorful dresses with halter tops and cut-out backs down the runway on Sunday as a way to escape to warm, sunny places.
Lepore invoked the coasts of Calfornia and France during an interview backstage before her show.
"It's about beautiful colors of the sky and the sea and the bright sun," she said. "It's fun, beachy places. I'm really trying to play up that fresh, feminine cool vibe."
Lepore's spring 2015 collection featured yellow tent dresses, white strapless dresses, and embroidered black and white caftans. There were also floral two-piece and one-piece swimsuits.
"I used to go to California every summer as a kid. So I've always had really fond memories. And I love visiting the south of France."
In a spring collection that moved easily through pink seersucker gingham tailored for adult women into open leather lattice in vests and dresses, Joseph Altuzarra ended his New York Fashion Week show on Saturday with breezy deconstructed gowns that included one glistening in gold.
It was a long journey, inspired in part by the girlish naivete of the devil's childbearer in Roman Polanski's "Rosemary's Baby" and the Irish rogue in Stanley Kubrick's "Barry Lyndon."
The finale's gold chiffon, along with two other loose gowns in red and pink prints, were Altuzarra's 21st-century response to the constraints of 18-century clothing for women.
Though he had some see-through moments that wouldn't work for most, the spring collection Saturday night seemed intended to make a woman's life just a tad easier.
"I really think about clothes that women want to wear," he said in a backstage interview after the show. "I think that's what's really interesting for me."
The finales, with deep V-necks and pearl embroidery, were re-imaginings intended for all body types.
"They were inspired by these 18th-century very restricting crinoline dresses, but what would happen if you sort of took out all of the underpinnings and you had this very deflated shape. I think it was a metaphor for this narrative of going from very constricted to freed."