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Fun abounds on and around the runway with Herrera, Hilfiger and Jeremy Scott

Jeremy Scott Spring 2016 during New York Fashion Week.

Jeremy Scott Spring 2016 during New York Fashion Week.

(Frazer Harrison / Getty Images for NYFW: The Shows)

There’s been a lot of talk about runway sets and settings this season at New York Fashion Week, since designer Riccardo Tisci set the bar with his Givenchy show on Sept. 11, creating a tribute to the American Dream using the Freedom Tower as a backdrop and opening the event to the public with an online ticket lottery.

Context can create fresh meaning ‎and heighten shoppers’ emotional connection to a fashion brand, whether they are experiencing a runway show live, online or seeing images after the fact in stores or media coverage.

In Carolina Herrera’s case, the Frick Collection, a museum off Fifth Avenue on the Upper East Side, put her clothes in a whole different realm than the nondescript, fashion week tents where she’d been showing for countless seasons before.

Photos: Celebs at NYFW spring 2016

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Monday morning was the first time the Gilded Age mansion-turned-museum of 19th century financier and arts patron Henry Frick had hosted a fashion show. And the garden setting put a rosy outlook on Herrera’s collection, underscoring a new lightness and younger, fresher silhouettes that moved with the body.

Stiff gala gowns and lady suits were replaced by pretty-in-pink dresses in techno mesh with high-low hems, layers of organza, petal or delicate feather embellishment. For daytime, floating pleat skirts were worn with cropped sleeveless tops and modern-looking jewelry for a look that was sweetly sophisticated. It wasn’t difficult to imagine these clothes being worn by someone who lives in a gilded manse and to want to own a piece of that dream.

Afterward, the fashion crowd commuted to the Lower East Side, to Pier 36, for a very different brand statement from master showman Tommy Hilfiger.

‎Building his own Hollywood stage set, complete with sandy beach lagoon and tiki hut, Hilfiger brought his “Island Hopping” show to life. He even launched “Twitter Halo,” a multi camera device, to share 360-degree videos of it all in real time on the social media site.

Add a toe-tapping reggae soundtrack, a cast of celebrity offspring models (Gigi and Bella Hadid, Lizzie Jagger and Stephen Baldwin’s daughter, Hailey, making her runway debut) and a finale that had them all splish-splashing through the lagoon, and I really felt like an extra in this fashion production. Still, the experience was so transformative, I was ready to escape from New York Fashion Week and hop a flight to Jamaica.

The clothes — cute flora-and-fauna print sundresses and bomber jackets, jeans and chinos with craftsy bead and whip stitched trim, crochet bucket hats, sneaker-slingbacks and more — were just plain fun.

And there’s room for fun in fashion. How else to explain the success of Jeremy Scott, the man who put teddy bears on Adidas sneakers and turned SpongeBob SquarePants into a style statement?

Scott has used his sense of humor, his affinity for pop culture, and his celebrity pals to cultivate his personal brand and create a loyal fan club. All the attention landed him the top job at Italian luxury brand Moschino, a role as unofficial designer muse for last month’s MTV Video Awards, and a documentary film, “Jeremy Scott: The People’s Designer,” opening this week.

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Scott doesn’t need a fancy runway set to grab the spotlight. He showed at one of those nondescript venues that Herrera and so many others have abandoned.

It didn’t matter. Playing to a front row that included Rita Ora and Tyga, he channeled the B52s with retro-a-go-go mini dresses, colorful cartoon knits, bouffant wigs and TV-shaped purses. The clothes were the entertainment and the crowd ate it up.

ALSO:

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‘Jeremy Scott: The People’s Designer’ shows why the Moschino man doesn’t need fashion critics


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