Designers flash flesh at New York's Fashion Week

NEW YORK - Expect to see more flesh come spring, as designers at New York's Fashion Week reveal cropped tops, short flouncy skirts and sheer lace and mesh paneling on the runways.

At the Lacoste show on Saturday, creative director Felipe Oliveira Baptista flirted with the paradox of chic yet sporty clothes for spring 2014 and looked to the company's roots on the tennis court for "all lightness and transparence for a carefree summer."

"Materials are light, their volumes softening and stretching, colors bring freshness, and trompe-l'oeil creates seductive flesh-revealing juxtapositions," the French lifestyle brand said in a statement at the show.

The graphic white lines of the tennis court manifested as the piping of the collar on men's jackets and the border of a dress, then turned into organza or nearly transparent jersey-striped paneling in rugby dresses, cropped tops and shirts. For men and women, the palette was tennis whites and softly sun-washed blues, greens and dusty pinks.

New York-based label Ruffian showed playfully short and flowing A-line skirts as well, citing inspiration by rebellious French writer Francoise Sagan and the freshness and vulnerability of youth in her seminal novel "Bonjour Tristesse," set in St. Tropez in the 1950s.

Brian Wolk and Claude Morais, the designers behind Ruffian, translated the tale of the ingénue into flouncy georgette and silk skirts and dresses in florals and in black and white prints and into slim cigarette pants, coined the "Sagan trouser."

Jill Stuart's collection also was girlie and revealing, with cropped tops, short pleated dresses and skirts, tiny shorts, short kaftans and tunics, and cut-out, lace and sheer paneling.

While the designer's collection seemed more appropriate for the beach than city streets, Stuart's palette was nevertheless very New York - black, white and beige, with a splash of blue denim.

Son Jung Wan, one of South Korea's most successful designers, also kept to a minimalist and subtle colour scheme of white and gray, along with hues of sherbet and splashes of canary yellow, gold and copper embellishment for impact.

She said the line was inspired by cities in Morocco, including Casablanca, "the fatally attractive Marrakech" and Essaouira.

"This neo-geo-like collection (uses) chalky whites and earth tone colors of the sun-drenched Sahara Desert," she said in a statement.

Along with showing menswear-inspired styles such as skinny trouser suits, she showed dresses with oversized cut-outs and draped low-cut backs to accentuate feminine curves.

Her sheer fabrics were used as well as trompe-l'oeil stripes in a dress, and revealing mesh was used in men's long-sleeved tops in canary yellow and or beige.

A Project Runway winner, designer Christian Siriano drew upon a trip to Mexico's Isla Mujeres to create "a celebration of the female form ... through a romantic lens," he said in a statement at his show.

His soft-silhouetted, feminine clothes of crepe de chine and floral-embroidered organza, decorated with ostrich feathers and raffia, appeared in a pretty palette of whites, sand and pastel pink, contrasted with bold florals and black-and-white zigzags.

At the Herve Leger by Max Azria show, the designer updated the label's signature form-fitting bandage dress with fringe. He also accentuated waistlines with peplum-style leather belts and embellished dresses with gold zippers.

"Different cultural and geological references inspired the collection as seen in ancient tribes and tradition," the designer said in a statement accompanying the show.