She particularly liked the mixed-media message that might be the next generation of Mondrian-style colorblocking: Instead of chunks of primary colors, a dress or coat might be patchworks of pony hair, snake skin, leather or ostrich feathers, she explained.
Wheeler also noted the sophisticated palette — gray, navy, camel and moss green — all mixed with black.
The dominance of black allows shoppers to make investments into "building blocks" of their closet that for fall can be worn for a long time, swapping out a shoe or bag as seasons evolve, said Lottie Oakley, who served as American Express' fashion ambassador, watching shows to cull trends for consumers.
"It's not so passe to wear clothes from last season. It used to be that it did matter if what you were wearing was from a few years ago, but now, if it's a statement piece, you can keep it going for a long time," said Oakley.
The hardest part for the serious shopper isn't keeping things for too long, she added, it's waiting for them to move into stores. "The overall topic I kept hearing about was how to buy now and wear now."
For the most part, though, customers will have to wait. Retailers, stylists and editors next take off for London, then Milan and Paris to see if this individualist streak lasts.
Lauren didn't just have a muse for fall. He had a heroine.
His models seemed as if they stepped out of the pages of a gripping Russian novel. The story? A woman who through strength finds herself and, in the final chapter, discovers love.
"I was inspired by the spirit of a romantic revolutionary — a timeless heroine, independent and bold, a woman who revels in her individuality and personal style," Lauren told The Associated Press in an email.