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Politics and poetry reign at NY Fashion Week

Associated Press logo Associated Press 2/12/2017 By The Associated Press
Rapper Trey Songz, left, attends the Public School runway show during Fashion Week in New York, Sunday, Feb. 12, 2017. (AP Photo/Diane Bondareff) © The Associated Press Rapper Trey Songz, left, attends the Public School runway show during Fashion Week in New York, Sunday, Feb. 12, 2017. (AP Photo/Diane Bondareff)

NEW YORK (AP) — There's bad Fashion Week weather, and there's REALLY bad Fashion Week weather. Fashion lovers had to be careful not to slip and break major bones Sunday as they maneuvered along slippery, slushy streets. Inside the shows, there was plenty of talk about politics, social change, and womanhood. There were even some soulful poetry readings.

The Public School fashion collection is modeled during Fashion Week in New York, Sunday, Feb. 12, 2017. (AP Photo/Diane Bondareff) © The Associated Press The Public School fashion collection is modeled during Fashion Week in New York, Sunday, Feb. 12, 2017. (AP Photo/Diane Bondareff)

Some highlights:

Designers Maxwell Osborne, left, and Dao-Yi Chow watch a rehearsal before their Public School fashion collection is modeled during Fashion Week in New York, Sunday, Feb. 12, 2017. (AP Photo/Diane Bondareff) © The Associated Press Designers Maxwell Osborne, left, and Dao-Yi Chow watch a rehearsal before their Public School fashion collection is modeled during Fashion Week in New York, Sunday, Feb. 12, 2017. (AP Photo/Diane Bondareff)

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The Public School fashion collection is modeled during Fashion Week in New York, Sunday, Feb. 12, 2017. (AP Photo/Diane Bondareff) © The Associated Press The Public School fashion collection is modeled during Fashion Week in New York, Sunday, Feb. 12, 2017. (AP Photo/Diane Bondareff)

POLITICAL TALK AT PUBLIC SCHOOL

The Public School fashion collection is modeled during Fashion Week in New York, Sunday, Feb. 12, 2017. (AP Photo/Diane Bondareff) © The Associated Press The Public School fashion collection is modeled during Fashion Week in New York, Sunday, Feb. 12, 2017. (AP Photo/Diane Bondareff)

"We Need Leaders," read the motto on a number of ensembles at Sunday's Public School runway show. Even more pointed, perhaps, was the message on the hats: "Make America New York." And on the side: the number 44 ½, a reference to the Trump presidency.

The Public School fashion collection is modeled during Fashion Week in New York, Sunday, Feb. 12, 2017. (AP Photo/Diane Bondareff) © The Associated Press The Public School fashion collection is modeled during Fashion Week in New York, Sunday, Feb. 12, 2017. (AP Photo/Diane Bondareff)

Designers Dao-Yi Chow and Maxwell Osborne had already been using the "leaders" slogan before the election, but it recently took on new meaning for them, they said backstage. "With the timing of everything that's been happening with us here in our country and in the world, certainly that message rings truer now than it ever has," Chow said.

The Public School fashion collection is modeled during Fashion Week in New York, Sunday, Feb. 12, 2017. (AP Photo/Diane Bondareff) © The Associated Press The Public School fashion collection is modeled during Fashion Week in New York, Sunday, Feb. 12, 2017. (AP Photo/Diane Bondareff)

Osborne said the collection started from the idea of borders.

The Public School fashion collection is modeled during Fashion Week in New York, Sunday, Feb. 12, 2017. (AP Photo/Diane Bondareff) © The Associated Press The Public School fashion collection is modeled during Fashion Week in New York, Sunday, Feb. 12, 2017. (AP Photo/Diane Bondareff)

"What are borders?" he said. "How do you break those down? We kind of started from there."

The Public School fashion collection is modeled during Fashion Week in New York, Sunday, Feb. 12, 2017. (AP Photo/Diane Bondareff) © The Associated Press The Public School fashion collection is modeled during Fashion Week in New York, Sunday, Feb. 12, 2017. (AP Photo/Diane Bondareff)

Chow also gave his take on what's become the central question of Fashion Week: Should designers — or other artists — weigh in on politics?

The Victoria Beckham collection is modeled during Fashion Week in New York, Sunday, Feb. 12, 2017. (AP Photo/Seth Wenig) © The Associated Press The Victoria Beckham collection is modeled during Fashion Week in New York, Sunday, Feb. 12, 2017. (AP Photo/Seth Wenig)

"It's up to the artist," Chow said, "but I happen to feel that if you have a platform and can speak to a lot of people you should use that platform — not just to sell a lot of clothes or music or art, but you should also help to lead the conversation, lead the dialogue. Sometimes that's uncomfortable ... you have to challenge your own beliefs, break those down, build those up, do it over and over again, keep having that conversation."

The Victoria Beckham collection is modeled during Fashion Week in New York, Sunday, Feb. 12, 2017. (AP Photo/Seth Wenig) © The Associated Press The Victoria Beckham collection is modeled during Fashion Week in New York, Sunday, Feb. 12, 2017. (AP Photo/Seth Wenig)

Designs — for both women and men — included huge down jackets, oversized plaid or quilted shirts, generous bomber jackets and roomy overcoats. There was a deconstructed effect to some of the garments, such as large "snap sleeves" on a tan corduroy top that exposed the upper half of the arms, or down jackets that draped open to expose bare shoulders.

The Victoria Beckham collection is modeled during Fashion Week in New York, Sunday, Feb. 12, 2017. (AP Photo/Seth Wenig) © The Associated Press The Victoria Beckham collection is modeled during Fashion Week in New York, Sunday, Feb. 12, 2017. (AP Photo/Seth Wenig)

On this particular Sunday, one would have opted to cover those shoulders.

The Victoria Beckham collection is modeled during Fashion Week in New York, Sunday, Feb. 12, 2017. (AP Photo/Seth Wenig) © The Associated Press The Victoria Beckham collection is modeled during Fashion Week in New York, Sunday, Feb. 12, 2017. (AP Photo/Seth Wenig)

—Jocelyn Noveck

The Victoria Beckham collection is modeled during Fashion Week in New York, Sunday, Feb. 12, 2017. (AP Photo/Seth Wenig) © The Associated Press The Victoria Beckham collection is modeled during Fashion Week in New York, Sunday, Feb. 12, 2017. (AP Photo/Seth Wenig)

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The Victoria Beckham collection is modeled during Fashion Week in New York, Sunday, Feb. 12, 2017. (AP Photo/Seth Wenig) © The Associated Press The Victoria Beckham collection is modeled during Fashion Week in New York, Sunday, Feb. 12, 2017. (AP Photo/Seth Wenig)

VICTORIA BECKHAM OFFERS A NEW TAKE ON OLD ENGLAND

The Victoria Beckham collection is modeled during Fashion Week in New York, Sunday, Feb. 12, 2017. (AP Photo/Seth Wenig) © The Associated Press The Victoria Beckham collection is modeled during Fashion Week in New York, Sunday, Feb. 12, 2017. (AP Photo/Seth Wenig)

Beckham was one designer who seemed, presciently, to have predicted Sunday's miserable weather when she was designing. There were roomy blazers and fluid, ribbed sweater dresses, and pants that were baggy but still flattering. There were long, filmy chiffon skirts or dresses, their lightness complemented by generously oversized jackets on top. Most appealing on a day like Sunday: Long, zipped sweaters that one could wrap oneself into and disappear.

The Victoria Beckham collection is modeled during Fashion Week in New York, Sunday, Feb. 12, 2017. (AP Photo/Seth Wenig) © The Associated Press The Victoria Beckham collection is modeled during Fashion Week in New York, Sunday, Feb. 12, 2017. (AP Photo/Seth Wenig)

The color palette included oxblood, navy and black — "gentleman's club colors," Beckham described it — inspired by British artist Paul Nash, whose work, she wrote in show notes, "draws on England's past, but translates that into striking contemporary forms." Beckham also used the artist's work to inspire her geometric prints. To go along with the more muted colors, there was the occasional burst of brightness, like a dress in lipstick red.

The Victoria Beckham collection is modeled during Fashion Week in New York, Sunday, Feb. 12, 2017. (AP Photo/Seth Wenig) © The Associated Press The Victoria Beckham collection is modeled during Fashion Week in New York, Sunday, Feb. 12, 2017. (AP Photo/Seth Wenig)

As for footwear, the idea seemed to be wearability. There were flat, very pointy buckled shoes, or wedged boots to go with dresses. Beckham's handbags were square-shaped, in the form of vanity cases. Another style touch was the addition of elbow-length leather gloves — some in a dashing gauntlet style — to many of the outfits.

The Victoria Beckham collection is modeled during Fashion Week in New York, Sunday, Feb. 12, 2017. (AP Photo/Seth Wenig) © The Associated Press The Victoria Beckham collection is modeled during Fashion Week in New York, Sunday, Feb. 12, 2017. (AP Photo/Seth Wenig)

"This season has something fundamentally, even quintessentially British about it, while reflecting a global outlook," Beckham suggested. "Thinking about my heritage in the context of a changing landscape, I wanted to offer outfit proposals and single garments that mix the familiar with the fresh and the new."

Her silhouettes were looser than in some previous collections. "It's more relaxed, more free," she said. "Body consciousness is traded for consciousness of the body."

—Jocelyn Noveck

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