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Fashion Week: DVF Courts Anderson Cooper, Sarah Jessica Parker, and Editorial Warfare; Erin Fetherston Goes Out of Africa

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Oh, to be a fly on the wall at the fashion PR houses when they plan the front rows; it must involve the most strategy since storming Normandy. Sunday’s celebrity lineup at Diane von Furstenberg was the master class, conspicuously separating well-known industry rivals while revealing alliances we never knew existed.

American Vogue‘s Anna Wintour, Grace Coddington, and Andrè Leon Talley commanded front-and-center spots, strategically placed away from colleague Hamish Bowles (rumor has it, they’re exasperated with his popularity in the party circuit) and as far as physically possible from Wintour’s terribly chic rival, French Vogue EIC Carine Roitfeld. Immediately across the split runway, former Condè Nast kingpin Tina Brown smiled at the Vogue throng beatifically, looking elegant in crisp white. Next to them, rain-flecked Sarah Jessica Parker commandeered a gargantuan security detail as Anderson Cooper watched with a barely perceptible smirk.

Von Furstenberg’s Spring 2011 collection revealed fewer politics and relatively muted drama. The CFDA (Council of Fashion Designers of America) president entirely shunned her ubiquitous jersey wrap dress (a runway staple since its ’70s inception) and also the muted hues of her Fall 2010 collection; a vibrant fuschia, hooded silk racerback gown was perhaps the most ambitious garment, as the rest were more of the bold career-girl prints DVF knows best.

A tiered black and white shift surprised with cutout crimson window panels, as if the Coliseum had sprung legs, and white crepe silk cocktail dresses mixed playfully with equally Athenian gold. Her sparingly used “tobacco prints” print of giraffe-like brown and cream was staid, and a startling lemon romper moved disjointedly. The closing gown, a fine twist of black silk plissè, was alluringly refined, but just still so familiar.
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Down the “Fashion Line” (or, as it is less exotically labeled every other week, the 1 train), at Milk Studios in Chelsea, Erin Fetherston further promoted a dominant trend of the week: safari. (Of course, an actual African safari costs less than two of any given Fashion Week designer’s frocks.) Ivory cropped trenches with strong pockets segued into a defiant coral silk shirtdress, then a quite DVF one-shouldered day dress in burnout rose jacquard chiffon. Guest Kelly Osbourne beamed at the latter.

The jungle influence was visited in gorgeous textiles, especially when Fetherston danced with delicate mint green crepe and lemongrass linen, but the presentation was less cohesive than last spring‘s gorgeously romantic office blossoms; a crinkle-chiffon column dress hung leadenly and the bright sheath dresses were still sedate. On Sunday, the normally delightful Fetherston was out of Africa, and off her game.

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