New York's Fashion Week kicked off on Friday under a cloud of economic austerity and uncertainty.
The number of designers debuting autumn collections has remained stable, with 75 participants this year, only slightly down from 80 in September, before the economic crisis hit with full force.
The original Wonder Woman, actress Lynda Carter, US Olympic champions and a host of other celebrities opened the gathering by taking to the catwalk to preview the annual Heart Truth's Red Dress Collection to highlight awareness of heart disease.
Yigal Azrouel, a young Israeli-born designer who made his debut in 1998 in New York, set a romantic tone with a show lasting less than 10 minutes that featured slinky dresses with pleated yokes worn under short, loose-fitting tweed coats with wide collars.
Only 25 to 30 models were used by most stylists, down from the usual 30 to 40. Some designers organised joint shows to cut costs that can reach into the thousands of dollars for space rental, after-show parties, models, make-up artists and hairdressers.
Four African stylists joined forces to present their collections for the first time on Friday.
Some of fashion's biggest names were present, among them Diane von Furstenberg, the president of the Council of Fashion Designers of America, Ralph Lauren, Donna Karan and Calvin Klein.
French label Lacoste, which has a big stake in the US market, will show its collection early on Saturday, just before Lebanese designer Georges Chakra, who will present his first ready-to-wear line in New York.
The US fashion world's "enfant terrible" Marc Jacobs will continue his tradition of taking his show far from the tents of Bryant Park, choosing instead the 69th Regiment Armoury in southern Manhattan.
But even Jacobs has heeded the austerity call, inviting only 700 people to Monday's show, down by 1,300 on last season.
Up and coming stylists have also flocked to Fashion Week, among them Narcisco Rodriguez, who dressed Michelle Obama the night of her husband's presidential election win on November 4.
There are more "militant" designers, like Nanette Lepore or Anna Sui, who are fighting for the survival of ateliers in Manhattan, now threatened by rising real estate costs and outsourcing.