The biggest trend at New York Fashion Week had nothing to do with the hottest fabric or the latest "it" bag. Instead, it was the idea that even the most fashionable industry could be in need of makeover.
In an effort to appease digital-savvy consumers, who crave instant gratification for their favorite runway looks, designers including Rebecca Minkoff, Michael Kors and Lela Rose offered shoppers the chance to purchase some or all of their favorite pieces immediately following their romp down the catwalk.
"This is the wave of how brands … are moving," celebrity designer LaQuan Smith said at his Sunday presentation, during which showgoers could purchase six of his pieces straight from an iPad. "I definitely want to be at the forefront of that."
Not everyone is sold on the idea. Designer Nicole Miller said she is "totally against" changing the fashion calendar to show collections closer to the season in which they'll be sold. She said it would remove a lot of the creativity from the design process, and shift all of the attention to sales.
"Today I would be showing my spring collection, which I made in September," the designer said backstage Friday. "We'd all be kind of bored with it, and it would be edited to just the best sellers at this point [because] the buyers would have already seen everything in the showroom."
To hear more from backstage at New York Fashion Week, and see the latest runway looks, click ahead.
—By CNBC's Krystina Gustafson
Posted 16 Feb. 2016
For fall, Reem Acra explored the secret world of the femme fatale. Sexy, glamorous and mysterious, the collection included a lineup of feminine floor-length dresses in lilac, peridot and saffron yellow.
With temperatures plunging toward zero degrees, Nicole Miller joked backstage that her clothes, which channeled the Nordic, were definitely "wear now."
"I thought it was very fitting that we had cold weather tonight," the designer said.
To pull together her Nordic theme, the designer researched the region's ceramics, art and topography, incorporating mountain and floral prints. She topped everything off with a rush of fog on the runway, and an oversize block of ice etched with her logo.
For fall, BCBG's Lubov Azria found her inspiration board inundated with images of the late David Bowie. But it wasn't the singer's clothes, per se, that Azria found so moving. Instead, it was his role as a performer that influenced her fall lineup — and inspired her to create unique pieces that a woman wouldn't want to take off.
"I remember being a little girl and never wanting to take my sequin leggings off," she said.
A model sits in hair and makeup before taking the runway at BCBG Max Azria.
Stepping foot inside Kate Spade's presentation at New York City's Rainbow Room, it was easy to forget about the hustle and bustle happening 64 floors below, and become fully immersed in the jazzy ambiance.
The collection, which channeled the "beautiful divas of the stage," was punctuated with a live performance by songstress Alice Smith and 360-degree views of Manhattan.
"It feels like the center of New York here. You can see every direction," creative director Deborah Lloyd said.
Celebrity stylist-turned-fashion designer Rachel Zoe dressed things up for her fall collection, by incorporating such luxurious fabrics as velvet, silk, beading and pearls. This elevated use of fabrics, which the designer said took her out of her comfort zone, contributed to what Zoe said is her favorite collection to date.
"I love fall because I love coats," she said. "I love coats, I love fall [and] I love the luxury of this collection."
It wasn't hard to imagine which of Christian Siriano's designs were meant for the red carpet. After the "Project Runway" alum sent an entourage of glamorous dresses down the catwalk, he ended the show with a handpicked edit of celebrity-worthy gowns on a zig-zag red carpet.
Never one to shy away from its roots, Lacoste tapped into its heritage as the outfitter for the French Ski Team in the 1960s. That translated into vintage ski sweaters and puffer coats — and of course, its more traditional sportswear.
The highlight of Monique Lhuillier's collections tends to be her eveningwear; and for fall, the designer didn't disappoint. In addition to her voluminous and ornate gowns, which would be right at home on the red carpet, the designer also introduced sunglasses this season — perfect for fashionistas on a tight budget.
A model prepares to walk the runway at Monique Lhuillier's fall show.
Lela Rose's fall designs were as beautiful as the dedication she made to her team following the unexpected passing of her father two weeks earlier. The designer, who is known for her feminine and flattering dresses, delivered on these looks, but also experimented with modern suiting with a ladylike feel.
"We've always done so much with dresses. ... This is just the evolution of that," Rose said.
For Rebecca Minkoff, her February show was all about challenging fashion norms. Not only did the designer use the fall calendar to show her spring collection, which was immediately available for purchase, she also invited 150 consumers to the event.
"I think that we've agreed that when we go our own way and we don't follow the prescribed path, that's where we always win," Minkoff said.
Celebrity favorite Tadashi Shoji took a much edgier turn for his fall collection. Leaving behind the tranquility of the Japanese gardens that inspired his spring lineup, Shoji instead looked to a tattoo parlor as the base for his fall collection.
That resulted in tattoo-motif prints and fabrics pierced with titanium hardware.
It's hard to imagine combining 1920s Hollywood glamour with elements from the circus. But Cushnie et Ochs designers Carly Cushnie and Michelle Ochs beautifully tied together these two contrasting themes, with the end result coming through in a bold red lip, and muted circus aesthetics including ruffles and stripes.
"It's this sort of seductress with a slight mischievous element," Cushnie said.
A model prepares to walk the runway at Cushnie et Ochs' fall show.
For fall, Desigual's collection gave a nod to bustling cities all over the world, and from different eras. The plaid and geometric coats served as the biggest standouts, even without the help of the freezing temperatures outside.
A model poses backstage at Desigual's fall show.
Celebrity designer LaQuan Smith has dressed Rihanna, Beyonce and Jennifer Lopez. But for fall, he wanted to make it easy for fans who didn't have access to New York Fashion Week to shop his looks online. Smith partnered with software firm Bigcommerce, so women at home could purchase six of his fall looks as they were being shown in the city.
"It's important for me to be in touch with her in that aspect," Smith said. "She feels like she's a part of something."
For his collection, the designer pulled together such glamorous elements as a high-slit skirt with a slouchy, turtleneck top.
Known for its body-hugging frocks and edgy style, BCBG's sister label celebrated the spirit of rock 'n' roll for fall. That meant adding chain accents and layering to the collection, while staying true to its skin-tight silhouettes.
Walking into Elie Tahari's presentation was like entering a world full of elegance and glamour — all the way down to the decorative purple hue and fallen chandeliers.
"We're finding out people want special clothes," the designer said. "For many years we've been trying to dress the women down and be sporty and relaxed. We're mixing that with elegance and glamour."
To do so, Tahari incorporated such luxurious fabrics as velvet, as well as rich burgundies and purples.
Jenny Packham, whose designs have been worn by fellow Brits Kate Middleton and Adele, also took a glamorous approach to fall. Inspired by a "sexy" French party in the early 1980s, Packham tapped into the idea that wearing certain clothes can give a woman a new persona for the evening.
"They say in tough times people like to party," Packham said. "I think there is part of me that wanted to do something that was really kind of cheerful."
Chinese-American designer Vivienne Tam drew on cultural elements from the western China frontier to Turkey and Russia. The designs were meant to be reminiscent of tapestries and carpets, and included deep burgundies, greens and metallics.
Korean designer Son Jung Wan combined heavy furs with light pink and blue hues for her fall collection, which she likened to "putting together a puzzle." Looks also included black and white dresses and coats with fur details.