Some had their end-of-runway pause before the cameras down like the bigger pros — and all wore huge smiles.
De la Renta launched a small collection of kidswear for spring of this year. Generally, de la Renta children's party dresses last season didn't exceed $350 — far from the priciest in the lucrative toddler-with-bucks market.
Betsey Johnson threw herself a big, crazy 70th birthday party with pal Cyndi Lauper belting "Girls Just Wanna Have Fun" and confetti-slinging models prancing decade-by-decade down a runway in her wild clothes, including one clutching a not-happy-looking baby pig.
Johnson's grown daughter Lulu popped out of a huge faux birthday cake on stage and watched with her two young kids as grandma performed her signature cartwheel and splits.
If anybody deserves a night out, it's the flamboyant Johnson, a breast cancer survivor who lost control of her signature boutiques after Betsey Johnson LLC filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in April.
The brand will continue on a wholesale basis and online, with moderately priced clothing sold in department stores, along with accessories and other licenses.
So why not celebrate? Huge video displays offered glimpses of her rock roots in the swinging '60s, as models held up glitter-lettered signs marking the decades, culminating in new clothes for spring with a princess theme.
Johnson's actual birthday is Aug. 10, 1942, but who's counting.
HOLMES & YANG
Holmes might have just tipped off the paparazzi on how to find her: They should look for a woman a camel-colored suede capelet with red shorts, or, if it's later in the day, maybe a strapless jumpsuit with beaded fringe running down the side.
Holmes and her design partner and longtime stylist, Jeanne Yang, didn't have a runway, just 14 models on pedestals.
One wore a black leather lingerie-style camisole with an olive silk button-front maxi skirt, and another had on a black lace slouchy blazer with black lace short — an outfit right on trend with what tastemakers have been seeing this round of previews.
Many of the outfits hit on the menswear silhouettes and luxury fabrics Holmes favors.
It's not uncommon for little gifts to be given out at Fashion Week shows, but the one that awaited guests at Nanette Lepore was not the usual fragrance or hair-care item: It was a big blue Obama-Biden button.
Backstage, Lepore said she'd been upset that nobody seemed to be talking about the election. "So I decided, even if you don't support who I'm supporting, at least pay attention to it!"
Lepore delivered a colorful and snappy Spring 2013 collection, dominated by a brilliant shade of green she calls clover. "Greens were just feeling so fresh to me this season," she said.
The clover shade appeared in everything from jackets to tops to trousers to dresses to swimsuits, in solids and in prints. It was often accompanied by black and white, either in stripes or in checks.
Rachel Zoe showed that the relaxed glam she is known for doesn't always have to mean a bohemian maxi dress. She presented a collection that was a bit more of a tailored take on "effortless cool."
The first look out was a white skirt suit. OK, it was a maxi, to-the-floor hemline, but it was the sharp styling that will linger with the audience.
Even the tunic and fluid pants, jumpsuit and romper that seem to fit with Zoe's core muse had more strength to them, thanks to graphic, mod, black-and-white contrasts.
The paillete-covered T-shirts and sweatshirts also added a new twist.
She said she had in mind 1960s fashion icons Brigitte Bardot, Jane Birkin and Charlotte Rampling. They are, she said, "glamorous all the time and that's who I design for."
Bibhu Mohapatra was working on costumes for an opera in upstate New York not long ago when he saw an insect that fascinated him: a luna moth.