By Chris Michaud
NEW YORK (Reuters) - Somehow beads never seem to go out of style, as designer Carmen Marc Valvo, a perennial red-carpet favorite, proved on Friday at his Spring 2014 runway show.
In a collection that the designer summed up as "a cultural collision of traditional tribal patterns," beading was abundant, horizontally embellishing looks from tunics to cocktail dresses and evening gowns of chiffon and lace.
He played with tradition, an approach that has helped make him a favorite of such celebrities as Beyonce, Taylor Swift, Eva Longoria, Queen Latifah and Vanessa Williams, who sat in the front row and snapped photos with her cell phone.
Cocktail dresses dropped to just below the knee, while Valvo's ball gowns took on an uncharacteristic, sometimes sporty edge, rendered variously in leather, lace and a fabric the designer called sport mesh, which he also used for swimsuits. They too were beaded.
The active influence played out further as Valvo presented a series of form-fitting, scuba-inspired striped cocktail dresses, a use of modern, high-tech material that fashion experts said they had expected to see on the runways during New York Fashion Week, which runs through next Thursday.
Monochrome color-blocking and graphic cut-outs harked back to seminal 1960s designer Rudi Gernreich, whose forward-thinking looks, such as the monokini, made him world famous.
Playing with texture, Valvo paired sheer mesh and black leather with elaborate embroideries. His lace took on a graphic edge, configured in round-cornered rectangles.
Noon by Noor designers took inspiration from the famed 400-year-old Tree of Life in Bahrain, with fresh and youthful separates in prints of daisies and palm leaves and soft palettes of rose and cream.
Blouses, trousers and even gowns bore relaxed pleats, and teardrop embellishments gave strapless gowns and pencil skirts a suggestion of movement.
Like Valvo, Noon by Noor paired leather and lace, but rosettes were predominant, daubing everything from tops to jumpsuits and culminating in a cream-and-navy rosette gown that showed just a peek of bare midriff.
Later in the week Marchesa and Oscar de la Renta are both expected to feature gowns as they show their spring collections.
New York's Fashion Week, a twice-a-year event, runs through September 12, closing with shows by Ralph Lauren, Calvin Klein and Marc Jacobs.
(Reporting by Chris Michaud, editing by Ellen Wulfhorst)