There was, it seemed, no end to the complaints about the wintry weather here in New York during the Fall 2014 shows, but, viewed optimistically, all those thick coats coming down the runway ended up looking that much more desirable. Our fashion director Alastair McKimm’s top ten looks demonstrate a strong season for outerwear, with an emphasis on texture and shape over pattern that gave the season a sense of pared-down ease.

Danielle Sherman, in her second collection for Edun, pulled inspiration from African textiles, working and teasing her wool and alpaca to luxuriously dense effect. Francisco Costa’s fuzzy mohair coats and sweater dresses for Calvin Klein Collection—in stark black-and-white or rich gradients—had an equally tactile appeal. Nicole and Michael Colovos had it both ways at Helmut Lang, their clean camel coats and smooth dresses making just as powerful a statement as their extravagantly bushy fur sweatshirts. Building insulation was apparently the idea that drove Lazaro Hernandez and Jack McCullough at Proenza Schouler, as they sculpted curving shapes from a foam-like jacquard, then covered them in vibrant swirls, blobs, and speckle prints. Donna Karan continued her exploration of urban essentials at DKNY with basic parkas, anoraks, capes, and varsity jackets that had a pure simplicity. Alexander Wang, showing in a “greenhouse” at the Brooklyn Navy Yard, took his cues from the very apt idea of braving the elements, his dresses covered with utility pockets and his finale looks mutating through a rich range of glowing colors thanks to their heat-activated properties. Joseph Altuzarra took a more traditionally refined, if no less invigorating, approach, offering peerless elegance in rich, classic shapes and enticing colors like fuchsia, hunter, and cobalt. There was a sense of timeless luxury in Narciso Rodriguez’s designs as well, as the designer updated his minimalist credentials with slick color-blocking, refined cuts, and shimmering bugle beads that glowed down the fronts of his final dresses. Luella Bartley and Katie Hillier injected a youthful vigor back into the clothes for their first season at Marc by Marc Jacobs, offering a powerful vision of female strength and energy, from the kicky knee socks up to the ramrod-straight braids. And Marc Jacobs himself, refocusing on his eponymous line after leaving his longtime position at Louis Vuitton last year, hit a symbolic restart button, sending out smooth lines, light colors, and pure shapes, all touched with an ineffable grace as light as the clouds that dotted the set.

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From left: Alexander Wang, Narciso Rodriguez