Reporting from the runways at New York Fashion Week

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Fall 2011 fashion from Anna Sui is modeled during Fashion Week in New York Wednesday. (SETH WENIG /The Associated Press)

Fashion designers are bestowed with the super power of predicting the future. Twice a year designers present their collections at their respective fashion week (i.e. Paris, Milan, New York) and their designs establish the trends for the coming season. These carefully calculated trends not only provide fashion magazines and blogs with new material to obsess over, but they influence what stores buy and in turn what consumers wear.

Even though most department stores are still stocked with the last leg of the fall 2010 collections, it’s time to start considering the future.

Yes, this seems a little absurd to think about, but it’s how the industry works. Last year’s biggest runway trends included an array of neutrals, fur and chunky knits, and from what was seen on the runways this past week the life-span of these looks will continue into a second term.

The spring 2011 trends, which were presented in September, took us back to the 1970s. This retro aesthetic will also carry into fall with wide legged high-waisted trousers and carefree long skirts and dresses in a color-palette of oranges, greens and camels.

In the fall 2011 collections that were presented this week it seemed as if all the designers had collaborated. Nearly every collection consisted of the same three elements: floor-length skirt/dress hemlines, free-flowing silk fabrics and fur.

Maxi-skirts and dresses made an appearance at shows like Tracy Reese, Milly and Cynthia Rowley; printed and solid silks were present at Suno, Adam and Jill Stuart.; and fur in every cut and color was in force at Anna Sui, Alexander Wang and Donna Karan.

Another trend this year, although it was witnessed off the runways, was tech gadgets.

With the ever-growing accessibility of technology the exclusivity of attending the shows and witnessing the unveiling of the trends first, became a thing of the past, or as they say in fashion “last season.” Smart phones and iPads were just as important of an accessory as the latest handbag and even the top editors were caught snapping pictures from the front row with their blackberries.

The shows were instantly shared with the public through live video broadcasts, tweets and a variety of publishing platforms that were accessible feet away from the runway. This allowed fashion followers to experience the excitement of fashion week live from anywhere in the world.

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