NEW YORK (AP) -- A world away from Sochi, New York Fashion Week managed a connection or two to the Olympics.
Skier Lindsey Vonn, the 2010 Olympic gold medalist, and figure skater Sasha Cohen, also an Olympian, helped kick off the shows in New York by attending the Red Dress Collection, an annual Fashion Week event that draws attention to heart disease.
And while Ralph Lauren's runway show in New York won't take place until next Thursday, Team USA was outfitted for the opening ceremonies in Sochi in his red, white and blue designs, including sweaters bearing stars, stripes, a flag and Olympic rings.
Elsewhere as Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week continued Friday with its second day of runway shows, one designer, Carmen Marc Valvo, talked about dressing curvy women like Queen Latifah, and another, Peter Som, cited a style muse from the Swingin' '60s, Jane Berkin, and got a summery visit from Carrie Underwood.
TAILORED COATS FROM PETER SOM, SUMMERY VISIT FROM CARRIE UNDERWOOD
Winter weather is going full-blast in New York City, but Carrie Underwood popped into Peter Som's runway show Friday in a summery pale pink dress -- actually by designer Ted Baker.
Underwood said she loves fashion shows, but doesn't have much time to attend them. "I just thought I'd come in for the day and go along for the ride," she said.
On the runway, Som showed an appealing mix of smartly tailored coats and interesting graphics on dresses short and long.
The most interesting print: a pretty blurred floral that could make you feel a little dizzy.
"I love florals," Som said. "These are all roses. I was trying to give things a bit of mystery."
Also attractive were Som's tailored short coats. He said they were inspired by looking at photos of "Jane Birkin and her peacoats." Birkin, an English actress and singer, first became known for her free-spirited style in the 1960s.
As for Underwood, she said she is writing for a new album. She doesn't have any immediate plans to do another televised musical like "The Sound of Music," which she starred in last year.
"I'm excited to get back to the things that I know!" she said.
--Jocelyn Noveck, http://www.twitter.com/JocelynNoveckAP
CHEERS FOR AN OLYMPIAN ON THE RUNWAY
They weren't ski poles. They were crutches.
But when Olympiand Lindsey Vonn, who had to forgo the Sochi games due to a knee injury, raised the crutches in the air triumphantly Thursday evening, she got the same kind of cheers she might have gotten at the bottom of a mountain, after a victorious ski run. Even if this wasn't a ski run but a runway.
Vonn joined some 20 other female celebrities on the runway at the Red Dress Collection Thursday night.
The first Red Dress show was held in 2001, part of an effort by at the beginning of the National Heart, Blood and Lung Institute's campaign to reach out to women.
This year, a teenager was helping to get the word out to younger women. Bella Thorne, 16, best known from the Disney Channel series "Shake It Up," sauntered with aplomb atop her gold heels in a long Badgley Mischka number.
Thorne, who has experienced heart disease in her family, said before the show that she was excited and a little nervous, but also looked forward to "that feeling you get when you know what you're doing is making a difference."
Vonn, 29, wore a short Cynthia Rowley dress, the better to navigate those crutches. Fellow Olympian Sasha Cohen, the figure skater, also 29, wore a sleek Mark Bouwer gown. Food personality Giada De Laurentiis, 43, was elegant in Carolina Herrera. Actress Joan Van Ark, 70, wore a Mark Zunino ensemble. Rock singer Joan Jett, 55, wore a Catherine Malandrino pants outfit.
Victoria Justice, 20, best known for starring in the Nickelodeon TV series "Victorious," said it was her first experience on the runway (she got to wear Oscar de la Renta). "I'm young, but I know it's something you have to be on the lookout for," she said.
Actress AnnaSophia Robb, 20, ended the show in an Alice + Olivia strapless gown. "It's important to be aware of your family's history, and to be cautious," she said.
--Jocelyn Noveck, http://www.twitter.com/JocelynNoveckAP
ON DRESSING QUEEN LATIFAH -- AND THOSE CURVY AMERICANS
Red-carpet designer Carmen Marc Valvo has been dressing the rich and famous for decades, including Queen Latifah and other notables with curves.
Does that make him a rarity? "I think the Europeans are more at fault," said one of the nicest guys in fashion in a backstage interview before his New York Fashion Week show Friday.
"The Americans are larger than the Europeans. They just are, so I do embrace that. I think a woman should be sexy and just be who she is."
This time around, Valvo turned out a woman warrior in armor-looking gowns, down to the ground, some with chain-link accents and metal beads inspired by a recent trip to Turkey.
There's a certain life cycle when you've been in the business as long as Valvo, who's 60.
"Who's my customer? I grew up with some of them," he said. "I made their wedding gowns and now I'm dressing their daughters."
--Leanne Italie on Twitter at http://twitter.com/litalie
COATS ON THE RUNWAY BUT BATHING SUITS ON INSTAGRAM
Sure it's winter, but summer is year-round on the Instagram feed of Terry Miller in itsy bitsy bathing trunks designed by Mr. Turk.
We caught up with Mr. Turk, aka stylist and photographer Jonathan Skow, aka the husband of designer Trina Turk, at their mixed men's and women's New York Fashion Week presentation for fall Friday.
The coats and sweaters, skirts and trousers on the models were inspired by a drive west on Sunset Boulevard through Los Angeles to the sea, which is where the tiny guy swim gear by Mr. Turk comes in.
Swimsuits weren't part of the show, but Skow was happy to share his chance encounter about two years ago with Miller, aka the hunky husband of gay activist and writer Dan Savage -- and the fact that Miller's rockin' hard body on Instagram has produced a bump in business for Mr. Turk.
With Savage, Miller co-founded the It Gets Better anti-bullying project, putting up the first video on YouTube.
Skow and Miller met in Palm Springs, Calif., where there's a Mr. Turk boutique. Miller was a shopper there.
"I didn't even really know who he was, and then Dan took some pictures of him and posted them on Instagram and tagged me and we started seeing that suit selling online," Skow explained.
The suit in question is the Mr. Turk Lagos swim brief -- make that very brief. Soon Miller, who had spent years at home raising the now-teen son he adopted with Savage, had a growing Instagram following. "He's just a friend of mine," Skow laughs. "I pay him in clothes. I say whatever you want I'll send you as long as you Instagram it."
--Leanne Italie, http://twitter.com/litalie