In the contemporary market, a designer's strength is measured by an ability to distill the season's key trends into something the customer will want to buy. That sounds obvious, but it's not always easy to pull off. With her latest effort, Nanette Lepore
was solidly on the mark. "I looked at a Renaissance portrait and bumped up the colors," she said backstage, casually explaining her Fall inspiration. What distinguished this from any number of other "romantic" collections? Military detailing and prodigious use of velvet—two big motifs this week. A sturdy wool coat benefited from the addition of cargo pockets, an olive anorak was cut in silk and velvet, and a series of colorful draped velvet gowns closed the show. Lepore was heavy-handed with frills at times—an explosion of ruffles weighed down another wool topper—but buyers looking for price-friendly variations on Fall's top looks will find much to choose from here.