NEW YORK — While straightforward pretty clothes are playing an important role on the spring runways, there are other notions afoot. Some shows, for example, feature highly unusual themes, including such outré influences as the writings of Friedrich Nietzsche and the life of a notorious criminal. Who ever said that fashion was all fluff?

For starters, Patrick Rzepski’s muse this season was the recently deceased murderer Myra Hindley, labeled “the most hated woman in Britain” by that country’s tabloid press. Rzepski’s show, called, “We Miss You Myra,” opened with a look inspired by a dress worn by one of Hindley’s victims, whose body was found buried in the ground. The designer’s version was a tattered, strapless fuchsia number, which, he reports, was interred in his parents’ backyard for optimal effect. The disturbing theme of the show aside, Rzepski’s work this season shows admirable improvement. The silhouettes were more polished and straightforward, with great skirts, strapless pintucked and pleated dresses and a beautiful floor-length backless evening number.

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