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Mercedes Benz New York Fashion Week, which ended this past Thursday, spans eight days and an almost countless number of runway shows and presentations. Here, Tiyana Grulovic sifts through the experiences to bring you her hightlights

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Most original inspiration: Toronto`s Jeremy Laing`s intellectual clothes always come with a fun explanation (one year, it was NASCAR).

Thomas_Kletecka/CollectiveEdit

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For spring 2013, Laing was inspired by a recent trip to New Orleans. More specifically, a swamp tour around the bayou. He dubbed the collection “swamp deco,” thanks to soft, muddy colours, clothes fluid and lightweight enough to brave a southern summer in, and graphic beaded embellishments.

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Even the whites, of which there were many, came from his experiences feeding alligators marshmallows. That kind of wit always translates in Laing`s clothes, and this time was no different.

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Best lowbrow highbrow moment: Fifty Shades of Grey, the book everybody read without admitting to it, dominated (ha) the unlikeliest of runways. First, BCBG, a mass-brand that cemented it`s cool direction under Lubov Azria, displayed kinky leather harnesses that would get Christian Grey`s blood running.

Richard Drew/AP

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And Jason Wu – the guy who designed Michelle Obama`s inaugural gown! – similarly bound his frocks. Both designers cited Helmut Newton as references, but we can also assume they`ve been doing some secret summer reading.

Richard Drew/AP

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Narciso Rodriguez`s slip dresses: Over the week, I saw a lot of prints, a lot of fussiness and A LOT of shows. It makes you realize that there`s so much to be said for simplicity, especially when it`s done well. The designer`s exploration of the slip dress was perfect for complex draping that denoted ease, the sparse colour palette, the way cutouts in dresses alluded to sex whereas so many designers presented it outright. Refreshing and right.

Seth Wenig/AP

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Alexander Wang`s rave finale: Wang may have sent out an army of leather-bound urban warriors but when the lights went out at the finale of his spring 2013 show, we all knew where they were going: A rave. As the light went out on a handful of white looks (all incidentally, on icy-blonde models), they glowed in the dark (whether it was black light of the actual fabric is still up for debate). The incident inspired a sales guy at Opening Ceremony to sell me a pair of glow-in-the-dark shoes, so I`m guessing its power will be felt through until spring.

Richard Drew/AP

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The new class: It's hard to keep track what exactly stood out at the 40-something shows I attended. Surprisingly, it was a strong crop of newbies whose shows my mind went back to again and again, among them Tanya Taylor's Barbados-channeling floral prints,

Matteo Prandoni/BFAnyc.com

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Tia Cibani's fluid gold lame also stands out.

Gustavo Caballero

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And the steaming-hot sex appeal of Dean Quinn's dresses.

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