"Lights! Camera! Fashion!" It was the usual frenzied scene of celebrities, paparazzi, parties and overall fabulousness during the Sept. 8-15 run of New York Fashion Week. From star-studded front rows, a few famous faces on the runway and (hooray!), a season packed with great clothes, the spring '05 collections have definitely made a lasting impression.

7th on Sixth’s Olympus Fashion Week was the focal point of it all, hosting 84 shows under the tents at Bryant Park. Twenty-two blocks downtown, Mao Space at the Altman Building in Chelsea hosted 14 shows. (A shuttle "party" bus sponsored by Sportswear International drove guests back and forth from both venues). There were a number of off-site shows as well, including Marc Jacobs, Baby Phat, Cloak, Gen Art's Fresh Faces in Fashion, Lacoste and House of Diehl.

As for trends, spring '05 has lots of them. From bright, saturated colors and glitzy metallics -– gold being a favorite – to ’70s and ’80s references and the continuation of cleaned-up preppy looks, here's the lowdown on some of our favorites.

Whether it was a sassy tropical theme donning hot hues such as red, orange, teal and yellow or a retro-infused collection topped off with Technicolor prints and patterns, color is key for spring.

CAT SWANSON's South American-flavored collection offered sexy color-blocked cut-out silk tops, shorts and a few jumpers called "Quetzal" (also the title of her show) in color combinations such as green and mango or peach with electric blue. Colors were exceptionally striking against Swanson's stark white silk trousers and a high-waisted "Clara" skirt. The designer's bolero jackets were also a favorite.

DUCKIE BROWN designers Steven Cox and Daniel Silver have never been ones to shy away from color when it comes to their menswear label. And this season, with their subsidized Olympus Fashion Week show, the duo definitely let that be known. There were bright and happy tone-on-tone tailored ensembles: an electric blue corduroy suit paired with a blue stripe shirt; a red short-sleeve classic shirt worn with red long shorts; and an apple-green stripe shirt with green thin striped trousers. And, of course, there were quirky combinations – a fluorescent floral one-button jacket worn over a "Magic Print" classic shirt and long short, topped off with a "Magic Roundabout" cummerbund and orange stripe scarf was as silly as it was stylish. A group of clean, white and neutral looks including a pure white bomber, a white shirt with a penguin on it and white narrow trouser outfit set the perfect balance.

Designer Patrick Robinson earned kudos for his use of color and contemporary styling for PERRY ELLIS WOMEN’S. The small but tight collection (18 looks) effortlessly blended vintage with modern and innocence with sex appeal. Bold colored pieces — a long-sleeve yellow bolero, a lime green jacquard corset ruffled with pretty chiffon, a ladylike turquoise skirt belted with a thick pink bow – were all perfectly paired with equally impressive neutral separates.

PERRY ELLIS MEN’S was just as good, and the mix of preppy/traditional styles with European-inspired playboy looks worked beautifully. A’70s-inspired orange/blue large-print woven worn with clean, dark-rinse jeans, orange aviator sunglasses and a bright orange belt was a standout, along with a shiny green and white awning-stripe shirt paired with white jeans and a matching green belt.

ALEXANDER HERCHCOVITCH’s men's collection was a colorful mix of ’80s surf punk meets neo-hippie/Grateful Deadhead. There were black and white diamond check print shorts and pants with splashes of pink, blue or yellow paired with bright colored shirts; tie dye; embroidered Mexican trims on jackets and pants; and plenty of colorful striped and plaid woven shirts. His women’s collection, which he presented two days later, was equally impressive and colorful. The original looks on the runway – which had been decorated to look like a chainlike garden path – included a wide array of floral and ethnic prints on short dresses and hooded tops. The Brazilian designer freely mixed the printed pieces and the resulting "mismatching" was effective, not jarring.

KEANAN DUFFTY’s "Reggae Revolution" was all about "anti preppy girl and guy skankin’ in Treasure Beach wearing tiger stripes and top rankin’ in Kingston with Situationist graphic tees." Translation: An eye-catching mix-and-match collection filled with bright colored tiger prints on denim blazers, skinny pants and dresses, plaid and seersucker blazers with graphics; and red, yellow and green throughout. The models wearing dreadlock wigs was a nice touch too.

Color is always a key element for HEATHERETTE designers Richie Rich and Traver Rains. (And that’s excluding the always-vibrant drag queens and club kids who make up half the show’s audience.) This season’s high-school theme was perhaps the most wearable to date, but it certainly didn’t lack on the usual bells and whistles the label is known for. (High-school was also the theme at menswear line KAPADIA, which presented looks titled "Foreign Exchange Student," "Drama Club President," and "Dungeons and Dragons Club" at its clever show the next day.) Heatherette had plenty of glitz — a pink sequin bolero jacket and matching tie was a favorite – and there were even swimsuits. Although, in true Heatherette fashion, these were hardly for made for swimming.

Others who showed a love of color (often using it hand in hand with ethnic influences), included BCBG by Max Azria, who showed a charming, folksy, somewhat Mexican-influenced collection and VENEXIANA, which showed gorgeous iridescent leather jackets and bustiers paired with ruffled and ruched bottoms. Brazilian swimwear line ROSA CHA (designed by Amir Slama) showed plenty of its favorite color – that being flesh, of course – but all that model skin this time was (barely) covered by a medley of neon brights, vivid floral prints and a hip, hippielike multicolor tie-dye poncho and caftan. In addition, menswear’s MORGAN D’ALESSANDRO married Riviera blue and whites with an eye-popping fuchsia and a pale yellow for their slick St. Tropez playboy-inspired collection.

While the designers above dipped deeply into Pantone’s vivid offerings, a select few, especially in menswear, rebelled against fashion’s current rainbow obsession and offered good looking collections featuring New York’s favorite palettes, all black or black, white and gray. These included CLOAK, Hong Kong’s HARRISON WONG (menswear), Brooklyn-based YOKO DEVEREAUX, New Zealand’s NOM.D and less successfully, HAROUN & MOSQUEDA, whose mostly gray collection featured original, avant-garde cuts that seemed too "Star Trek" to be worn by most downtown dudes. That said, the pair should be commended for at least attempting to inject their designs with freshness and originality.

Could gold be the new neutral for women? Judging from the amount of it on the runways, we’d have to say yes. Looks came glitzy on beaded or sequined dresses, skirts and tops – SASS & BIDE got it right with their sexy beaded and fringed frocks – or simplified on elegant silks or lurex linen – AS FOUR's collection featured a natural palette of nude, gold, bone and bronze on silk charmeuse.

At Y&KEI, designers Hanii Y and Gene Kei’s ethereal collection mixed romance and femininity with touches of Asian imagery. Silver metallic linen looked great done in belted shorts, a trench with a ribbon tie and a pleated skirt with metallic mesh waist. A multicolored metallic jacquard skirt with shots of green was also impressive. Dressier looks came beaded, embroidered and sequined on elegant gowns, dresses and skirts.

At GARY GRAHAM, romance was referenced with hints of Pirates of the Caribbean. Probably offering his most quietly beautiful collection yet, Graham sprinkled gold sequin throughout the clothes on shells, skirts and a gorgeous metal sequin jacket.

Designers continue to borrow from the past, turning yesteryear's looks into modern-day fashion. And whether it's ’50s femininity or ’8os eccentricity, these blasts from the past give this season a nice diversity of style.

LUCA LUCA designer Luca Orlandi referenced age of innocence with pretty pastel colored '50s-inspired dresses and an embellished lace skirt.

At GUIDO N.Y., it was sexy and '70s. Polished men’s suits and (un)buttoned-down shirts were reminiscent of a modern day Saturday Night Fever (minus the bell-bottoms).

HOUSE OF DIEHL's "Iconic Woman"-themed collection was full of ’80s-style decadent dresses that would've been perfect for Prince's protégé’s Vanity 6. V-shaped hems a few chevron striped dresses (black and white and yellow gray) showed lots of thigh. As did a sexy asymmetrical deconstructed pin-stripe suit. There was even a ’20s-style black and silver sequined flapper dress – just in case the ’80s weren't enough.

AND STARS IN THE SEATS... Finally, as usual, celebrities abounded at New York Fashion Week, and oftentimes drew focus from the actual fashions. (Their star stamp of approval aside, we can’t help but wonder if that’s why they’re sometimes asked to attend.) Jennifer Lopez (among many others) caused a flurry of flash bulbs at Tommy Hilfiger and again – this time with hubby Marc Anthony – at Marc Jacobs. Hip-hop diva Lil' Kim was spotted everywhere covering the runways as guest editor for a weekly celebrity gossip magazine. Jack Nicholson was front and center at daughter/designer Jennifer Nicholson's show, while Sean "P. Diddy" Combs, Damon Dash and Lennox Lewis checked out Rosa Cha. On the runway, Paris Hilton, Lydia Hearst and Naomi Campbell – who, by the way, received a standing ovation – strutted their stuff at Heatherette. Anna Nicole Smith sashayed solo down the runway at the Mao Magazine launch party. And Victoria Gotti's son, Carmine, made his modeling debut at Guido N.Y.
–– Joselle Yokogawa (North American Features Editor) with Christopher Blomquist (North American Bureau Chief)