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Sep 8, 12:38 AM EDT

NY Fashion Week for Tracy Reese: cacti, dance

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NEW YORK (AP) -- Tracy Reese had dancers pop out of the audience for a brief performance that opened her New York Fashion Week show Sunday, putting her inspiration for spring - the choreographer Martha Graham - into motion.

Reese divided her clothes into three "acts," along the lines of how Graham lived life: discipline, craft and exuberance, the designer explained backstage.

She built slowly from a series of dark black dresses and skirts in gabardine and stretch crepe to bright yellows, greens, pinks and purples in mixed prints and sparkly embellishments.

Reese said some of the prints were inspired by nature, succulent gardens and the insects that inhabit them.

She paired a wide-necked sweater patterned in a desert landscape with a miniskirt in a bright fuschia floral. A green strapless maxi dress was printed with cactus flowers and worn with a raffia check jacket in another shade of green closer to kelly.

Her final "act," representing exuberance, included stretch crepe tops, pants and dresses in a hot pink. It was the same shade she used for her final gown, a cloque-patterned strapless maxi dress with a high waist.

Reese said she admired the way Graham lived her life.

"She talked a lot about taking the time to learn your craft and master it before you can go on and be free to fully express it," she said.

And Reese tapped into a trend for fashion week: glorious flat shoes she even put on models showing off evening wear.

"Flats are my real life," she explained as she slipped on a pair herself in black with sparkles at the toe.


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