Richie Rich, designer of contemporary women's wear line Heatherette, knows how to grab the attention of a fickle fashion crowd. "One year, we had a 'Babes in Toyland' theme, so we created a dress made entirely of stuffed animals," he says of a recent collection. "That was definitely one of my favorites."
Rich isn't the only designer to send attention-grabbing pieces down the runway. During the men's Spring 2008 collections in Milan last summer, John Galliano swathed his models' bodies in bullet-proof vests. For his subsequent couture show in Paris, dresses were so intricately embellished they each weighed at least 40 pounds. Creations seen this week in New York include a wooden bathing suit and a 50-carat canary diamond necklace.