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Top designers cap off New York Fashion Week with a nod to America

NEW YORK, Feb 13 (Reuters) - Ralph Lauren, Michael Kors and other designers at the close of New York's Fashion Week on Thursday showed swathes of color as sweeping as the outdoors in collections inspired by America's landscapes and rugged coastlines.

A theme of Americana drove Lauren's Polo collection, shown as a snowstorm raged outside, featuring serape sweaters and a patchwork cardigan reminiscent of the red, white and blue sweaters Lauren designed for the U.S. Olympic team.

Hundreds of designers showed their fall 2014 collections on runways and in showrooms across New York over the past week. Fashion shows now move to London, Paris and Milan.

Lauren's Polo models sported electric green, orange and yellow over a black base, often a leather miniskirt over leggings, and hiking boots with 5-inch heels and bright red or orange laces.

The more upscale Ralph Lauren collection featured elegant cashmere and chiffon capes and gowns, some drenched in glistening beads, as well as jodhpurs, suede pants and Mongolian lamb coats, all in a single color of cream, mauve or gray.

Turtlenecks, either cashmere knit or buttoned high or ruffled, dominated as did over-the-knee suede boots.

"Really, really classy," said Elsa Fralon, website editor for Belgian Elle.

"But it's for Kim Basinger, not me," she said of the Hollywood actress who was among the celebrities to attend the show.

The Polo collection's boyish looks felt somewhat recycled, while the pastels and soft colors of the signature collection were a refreshing change, said Fralon and another member of the audience, Sara Bauknecht, fashion editor for the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.

"They are so cozy and feminine," Bauknecht said.

Nubby knits, exposed seams and turtlenecks high enough to hide inside marked Calvin Klein's collection as did oversized collars on boxy overcoats secured with enormous safety pins.

Stars attending the Calvin Klein show included Oscar nominee Lupita Nyong'o of the movie "12 Years a Slave" and actress Naomi Watts.

At Michael Kors's show, Northern California's craggy coastline was the inspiration for chunky sweaters, men's wear-inspired baggy pants, full-length coats and rugged soled shoes in a palette of grays, browns and camel.

Fur accents and a splash of sparkle showed up on many pieces, including a taupe sequined fringe skirt paired with a taupe cashmere blouse.

"Big Sur, big city... A blend of urban polish with laid-back Northern California ease," Kors wrote in a statement accompanying the show that drew celebrities Michael Douglas, Blake Lively, Frieda Pinto and Rose Byrne.

At his first-ever New York Fashion Week show, Korean designer Lie Sang Bong said the beauty of Yellowstone National Park inspired his collection of tailored suits with splashes of molten reds and sky blues.

Weaving seamless patterns of lace, cashmere and leather, his coats were reversible, adding a surprisingly utilitarian element to their luxury. A black sleeveless dress of alternating ribbons in leather and wool that accentuated the waist was a particular crowd pleaser.

(Additional reporting by Marina Lopes; Editing by Ellen Wulfhorst and Ken Wills)

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