NEW YORK — Although designers have been sometimes accused of mining the depths of bygone eras for fashion inspirations a little too much, there is often a more literal connection to modern times than might first meet the eye.

During two unrelated panel discussions the past few days, four prominent designers addressed the nostalgic themes of their recent collections and how, in each case, they were directly related to something happening in the world at the moment they set out to sketch a collection. At a conversation with Zac Posen, Behnaz Sarafpour and Peter Som organized by the New York Times as part of its annual Arts & Leisure Weekend on Saturday, the designers discussed how their personal reactions to the 2001 terrorist attacks and the ensuing war in Iraq played a role in the conception of their collections around that time.

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