Seen and heard at New York Fashion Week: Get an inside look at excitement of NYFW shows

The runways of New York Fashion Week showed off the latest looks for spring and summer 2023. Here's everything the USA TODAY team saw and heard at NYFW.

NEW YORK — The sights and sounds of New York Fashion Week were on another level as the city buzzed once again following years of pandemic-era precautions.

Celebrities including newlyweds Kourtney Kardashian and Travis Barker and icon Janet Jackson gathered en masse at New York Fashion Week's shows. There were performances by Barker, Jack Harlow and Steve Aoki and two dominant fashion trends continued to take Spring/Summer 2023 collections by storm: Barbiecore and the exposed nipple.

Designers from Johnathan Hayden to Tommy Hilfiger proved there is hope for diversity, whereas many stayed in the safety of long-established young, thin and Eurocentric beauty standards.

Harlem’s Fashion Row Fashion Show and Style Awards and Christian Siriano's spectacle of glamour served as appetizer events before the main course of a week that officially launched Sept. 9 with Proenza Schouler opening the six-day showcase. The week carried on with street styles, exclusive parties and design innovation before drawing to a close Wednesday with a glitter-ladden Tom Ford runway. 

"The energy was great this year," fashion designer Sergio Hudson tells USA TODAY. "You really felt like fashion week was back. … It was positive energy in the air." 

Here's everything we saw and heard at New York Fashion Week:

Best photos from New York Fashion Week:See the NYFW runway looks, all the celebs

Seen: Sheer everything and the return of the nipple

Tory Burch: Emily Ratajkowski walked the runway in a sheer brown top with a flowy brown and orange skirt.

Prabal Gurung: Ella Emhoff shocked the audience as her green crossover halter top floated up during her walk.

Foo and Foo: Models wore sheer ensembles, but it was taken a step further with one topless model who held their breasts in place of coverage.

Jason Wu: Several models wore sheer dresses down the runway. The show in collaboration with Italian contemporary artist Leonardo Pucci was meant to be "sensual and provocative print language," Wu says in a press release.

Fe Noel: Sheer dresses, skirts and blouses were the highlights of Fe Noel's Spring/Summer offerings, leading up to the debut of "The DRE$$," which made transparent the impact of the gender pay gap and the retirement savings gap.

Bare chests are back, including on the runway at the Foo & Foo fashion show during New York Fashion Week on Sept. 13, 2022.

Heard: Designers detail diversity efforts

Christian Siriano continues to celebrate 'the body': "I really needed people to see that, especially evening wear, can look great on curvy women. … I think a lot of people in the industry are still not there," Siriano says. "I think people thought … 'Oh, maybe (diversity is) a trendy thing.' And we can't only have Precious Lee, like I love her and she's amazing and she's been in my shows for years, but that's not it. I think people need to still pick it up a little bit."

Janet Jackson kicks off New York Fashion Week with Christian Siriano, Harlem's Fashion Row

LoveShackFancy founder Rebecca Hessel Cohen says it's 'crucial to see all different types of body shapes and colors being represented': About their limited size range and lack of women of color on their website and social media, Cohen says, "We want to make sure we are including all of our LoveShack girls in our messaging. The discussion around extended sizing for a business of our size can be complex but the conversation is happening internally to lay the groundwork to include more customers in our world." 

Jason Wu embraces all hair textures: The mood board for Jason Wu's spring/summer show included models with fine hair texture with distressed buns. Olaplex stylist Jimmy Paul explains that the No. 7 Bonding Oil is a staple for all hair. For models with box braids or locs, he would either replicate the bun or pull back into a "super easy ponytail. It's supposed to look like it took a second." 

Johnathan Hayden runway: Hayden let his runway models do the talking at Harlem's Fashion Row's fashion show, including body diversity, models of different ages and an amputee model.

A model walks the runway for Johnathan Hayden during Harlem's Fashion Row 15th Anniversary Fashion Show And Style Awards on Sept. 6, 2022, in New York City.

Black in Fashion Council Discovery Showroom: The showroom gave a crop of emerging high-fashion designers an opportunity to showcase their pieces. Designs from Ajovang, Atelier NDigo, Harbison, Izayla, Madame Adassa, Muehleder, Sammy B Designs and Vavvoune showed off silk masterpieces, dynamic silhouettes, colorful pleating and sustainable options.

More from fashion week:Kourtney Kardashian is trying on sustainable fashion. Many designers are already there.

Seen: Creative, unlikely venues 

A$AP Illz + 14n1: To showcase the collaboration between musician and streetwear creator A$AP Illz with 14n1 clothing, a housing project was turned into a runway taking place at the Robert S. Fulton residences in Chelsea. 

PatBO: Who could object to being in court when it's this beautiful? The designer returned downtown to the atrium at Surrogate's Court, with sunlight streaming through a skylight and its glamorous archways.

Tommy Hilfiger: The designer's "See Now, Buy Now" Fall 2022 collection was meant to be for the average city walker. To set the scene, the show took place outdoors at Skyline Drive-In NYC with the backdrop of the city framing the models.

A ballgown from the Christian Siriano collection is modeled during fashion week on Wednesday, Sept. 7, 2022, in New York.

Christian Siriano's 'return to glamour': As he celebrated "timeless" silhouettes with his collection, Siriano also chose a venue that will always evoke the idea of style: the Elizabeth Collective, otherwise known as Elizabeth Taylor's former townhome near midtown Manhattan.

Heard: Photographers getting the perfect shot 

Markarian runway: Before the opening dress walked the runway and the music started a photographer was heard saying "You're in our shot" and gave clarifying orders, "You, with the little hat." The audience chuckled as the entire room anticipated the latest collection. 

Seen: Stars galore chatting, partying

Kate Spade presentation: Ziwe and Regina Hall were seen chatting about each other's outfits provided by the fashion label. As they laughed with each other Ziwe told Hall that her outfit which was a two-piece blue patterned set "very comfortable."

Harper's Bazaar Icons party: A near-endless list of celebrities partied at Bloomingdale's for the fashion week event: Jared Leto, Julia Fox, Angus Cloud, Drew Barrymore, Heidi Klum and daughter Leni, Jay Ellis, Dove Cameron, Ilana Glazer, Shay Mitchell, Evan Mock, Jordan Clarkson, Kyle Kuzma, Emily Ratajkowski, Ziwe, Sergio Hudson, Tommy Hilfiger, PJ Tucker, Lana Condor, Lauren Jauregui and many, many more.

Icons party:Celebs go big at star-studded Harper's Bazaar, Bloomingdale's fête

Latto makes the rounds at Sergio Hudson, Fe Noel: Rapper Latto donned form-fitting looks for her front row appearances, posing for photographers.

'Real Housewives' take fashion week: Current and former members of a variety of "Real Housewives" franchises, including Dorinda Medley, Luann de Lesseps, Kelly Killoran Bensimon, Sanya Richards-Ross and more, attended events and sat front row to take in the fashions.

Sydney Sweeney evokes chaos after Tory Burch: After her front-row appearance at Tory Burch, the "Euphoria" star got behind the wheel of a golf cart, driving back through the venue's gate as photographers surrounded her, squeezing by (and potentially tapping) a Range Rover in the process.

Seen: Denim, denim, denim

A$AP Illz + 14n1: Denim got a swift makeover that included tufts of yarn and screenprinting during the showcase of the A$AP Illz + 14n1 clothing collection show. The jeans were ripped and adorned with circles of yarn but also contained iconography screenprints of bank logos and handguns to drive home the theme of "more fashion less gun violence."

A model walks the runway at the Veronica Beard fashion show during New York Fashion Week at Spring Studios on Sept. 12, 2022.

Veronica Beard: Designer denim popped up in a few iterations: an elevated Canadian tuxedo, wide-legged jeans and a buttoned-up two-piece set.

Cotte d'Armes by Clarence Ruth: Combining biker chic and religious iconography, Ruth sent a dark blue denim and leather look, a one-armed denim vest and leather-patch jeans down the runway during Harlem's Fashion Row's designer showcase.

Heard (and felt): The weather

Marrisa Wilson: After the show which featured bright colors and resort-like fashion perfect for vacationing one attendee said "After this rainy day, we needed some color." 

Tommy Hilfiger: Pouring rainfall did not stop the outdoor show. While drenched, one stylist remarked how "humbling" it was to equalize both celebrities and guests facing the same elements. There was truly no VIP experience. 

S by Serena: Attendees may have bee nervous that Sunday's downpour would continue the morning of Serena Williams' S by Serena show, but the sun emerged just in time for the rooftop show on the tennis court-inspired runway.

More:Serena Williams serves up 'what’s next,' dishes on new fashion collection at NYFW

Seen: Ella Emhoff, and more runway mainstays

Ella Emhoff closes the Maisie Wilen S/S 2023 fashion show at 122 Community Center during New York Fashion Week.

Ella Emhoff at Maisie Wilen: Emhoff closed the Maisie Wilen runway, which took place at an elementary school-turned-studio space called 122 Community Center, wearing a CGI-inspired ball gown. 

Chanel Iman returns to the runway at Sergio Hudson: After some time away from the catwalk, the supermodel closed the show to cheers. 

Your guide to New York Fashion Week:See the schedule, designers, history and more

A model walks the runway for the Altuzarra fashion show during September 2022 New York Fashion Week at the Starrett-Lehigh Building on Sept. 10, 2022, in New York City.

Seen: Cutouts and crochet

Altuzarra: Colorful "Shibori tie-dye" knit dresses with cutouts were staples of Altuzarra's Spring/Summer 2023 collection.

Black Boy Knits: What's in a name? The vibrant collection of luxe knitwear from designer Jacques Agbobly is "a physical manifestation of my past, present, and future reckonings."

Black Boy Knits showcases designs from Jacques Agbobly at the Sunken Room in Spring Studios at New York Fashion Week in September 2022.

Vivienne Tam: To accompany her NFT avatar-inspired collection, the designer incorporated crochet bags (filled with fruit) into the mix.

Deviate: Crochet pieces dominated the collection in the form of bags, cutout skirts and a multicolored two-piece looped knit set.

Heard: Beyoncé, Travis Barker, more provide soundtrack to runways

Tommy Hilfiger runway: Beyoncé's "Renaissance" hits "Break My Soul" and "Summer Renaissance" were mixed into a DJ set. Barker closed the show with a live drum solo while everyone did their final lap.

Steve Aoki NYFW kickoff party: The famed DJ previewed some of the songs from his upcoming 26-track album "HiROQUEST: Genesis" at Marquee. Aoki says the "bedrock of this album is alternative rock. … Before I was a DJ, I was making rock music and I was in bands so it really all started there." There is also a "healthy amount of Latin music, hip hop, even country, and, of course, the core EDM songs." Reflecting on today's popular music, he says, "It's exciting to see that dance and house are climbing on the pop charts."

Sergio Hudson channels the '80s: From the shoulder pads to the big hair, the '80s were back in action at Hudson's show downtown. But the era extended to the music as well, with Cheryl Lynn's "Got to Be Real," Keith Sweat's "I Want Her" and more blasting through the speakers before the show began.

Tommy Hilfiger's NYFW return:Travis Barker closes out rainy outdoor show, Julia Fox models

Seen: Barbiecore isn't going anywhere

Markarian: The closing gown during the Markarian show that took place at the Ukrainian Institute of America filled spectators' pupils with a sharp pink, close to the one set forth by Valentino's FW 2022-2023 collection. The off-the-shoulder dress extended to a full skirt with a layer of pink satin dragging at the bottom. 

PatBO: Hot pink is sticking around for another season, if PatBO has anything to say about it. Pink frocks, skirts and fringe came out of the dollhouse and onto the runway, adorned with delicate feathers and sparkles as well.

A model walks the runway for the PatBo fashion show during New York Fashion Week on Sept. 10, 2022, in New York City.

Kate Spade: Models stood in place surrounded by faux foliage and manufactured rain while wearing brightly colored Kate Spade dresses and bags – one of which was a signature Barbie pink A-line dress accessorized with a pink Kate Spade fanny pack. On the foot: a pink sandal heel with a pom pom on the toe. 

LoveShackFancy: The brand has always embraced pink, and this year was no different. "I am absolutely obsessed with the rise of Barbiecore. Obviously, I am like the biggest pink lover, so to see it finally having such a moment feels so fun," LoveShackFancy's Cohen says. "You can seriously never have too much." 

Who gets to be a Barbie doll? New all-pink Barbiecore trend invites everyone to the Dream House