c.2015 New York Times News Service

c.2015 New York Times News Service

NEW YORK — “Fifty Shades of Grey,” which (as we all know — admit it) opens Saturday, has already racked up the highest advance ticket sales ever for a Valentine’s Day, and taken up acres of newsprint, whether it’s critics wondering why it is so successful given how boring/prurient/sophomoric it is, or dismissing other critics wondering the above, or rising above by trying to make it into some sort of bellwether of our times.

So, like it or be horrified by it, it should come as no surprise that as New York Fashion Week began, the effect had filtered down to the runway.

Today’s speeded-up design process, with its multiple collections each year, has created a situation where the cultural conversation, and particularly the pop cultural conversation, more often than not finds its way directly into the creative imagination, where it is churned around with various other easily accessible inspirations and regurgitated in the form of clothes. No matter how insubstantial it seems.

A movie that happens to be everywhere, and also happens to have an actual color in its title, was a perfect candidate (even if a large part of the subject matter has to do with characters who are unclothed). Sometimes the connections really are that obvious.

Which it not to say the results are necessarily bad.

Indeed, in the case of Wes Gordon, they were pretty good, in a collection featuring, if not 50 shades of gray, at least four or five. There were long steel-gray ribbed-knit dresses, and charcoal skirts sliced up the side; anthracite crochet turtlenecks, a silver mink vest and strapless gray cashmere columns, all with an easy, tailored silhouette that in fashion terms is often called sportswear de luxe.

If flimsy silk slipdresses bound in ropes of lace, and a stylized fleur-de-lis print were less successful, sheer long-sleeved blouses with elasticized bands at the wrists and neck had a provocative, youthful (but not childish) appeal, and the whole felt more fully realized than in the past.

Jason Wu also explored a world of gray — narrow-waisted trousers, asymmetric greatcoats that buttoned on one side and three-quarter-length dresses with a high slit up the side — not to mention loden green, brick red and camel. Skin, both crocodile and fur, belted and bushy, played a part, as well as the models’ own, visible though a sheer black web of a T-shirt dress, or the felted grid insert on a skirt.

While it may have hinted at sex, however, the mood was entirely safe.

The result was less seductive than familiar: an accomplished designer going through the motions. It was hard not to wish Wu had well, been willing to rough it up a bit. Where is a muse with a clunky pen and a dirty mind when you need her?

Still, gray even showed up at Coach, where the designer Stuart Vevers mixed terrific black leather and white shearling with neat gray sweatshirt-inspired dresses and prairie bandanna prints. The only color came in the form of blanket plaid peacoats in dulled 1970s shades (orange, blue), but there was a touch of the coed thanks to biker boots and slide-slung bags, often complete with slogans: “wanted,” “nomad” and “lucky.”

As in, “to get.”