c.2014 New York Times News Service

c.2014 New York Times News Service

NEW YORK — There are two ways to announce your arrival on New York Fashion Week’s gridlocked calendar: gingerly or brashly, a gentle tap or a sharp elbow. The handful of debuts this week — including, not exhaustively, the first women’s collection from the men’s provocateurs of Duckie Brown, the first presentation by the surf-slacker line Baja East, and the first in New York by Manolo Blahnik — offered examples of both.

Take Coach, which showed its first full collection of ready-to-wear in a series of quiet, appointment-only presentations. Stuart Vevers, the company’s new executive creative director, started modestly, with a collection that focused heavily on outerwear: duffel coats and little “jean” jackets in leather, shearling and wool.

“I think outerwear at Coach makes the most sense,” he said.

His approach is sensible not only in terms of the company’s history and expertise (the vaunted “DNA” that branding types are forever on about), but just as important, in terms of price. None of the pieces in the collection will top $2,000. Vevers called it “a genuine, authentic alternative to traditional luxury.” Both the collection and its presentation were that.

On the other end of the spectrum was the German label Hugo Boss, which blew onto the calendar with gale force. Boss is a megalith in menswear, but in June, the company brought in Jason Wu to boost the women’s side.

His first show had the trappings of an event and the starriest front row seen yet. It was an embarrassment of riches for the photographers (professional and iPhone-wielding alike): Gerard Butler and Reese Witherspoon, Diane Kruger and Adčle Exarchopoulos, Benedict Cumberbatch and Her Goopness herself, Gwyneth Paltrow. Flash, flash, flash.

The collection Wu showed was of sterner stuff. Inspired by Boss’ menswear bona fides, he offered feminine pieces in suiting fabrics and strict tailoring, like the show-closing tux on Stella Tennant, whose own angularity looked positively Metzingen-forged.

Wu traveled to the company’s headquarters, marveled at its factories and technical capabilities and insisted that, for the first time, women’s patent flats be made in the same factories that make the men’s loafers, and that the suits, at least for the models in the show, be made to measure.

There was more softness in cashmere coats and silk chiffon gowns, though even these were sequined in a Bauhaus-inspired motif that lent a bit of flint to dressy flou.