New York Fashion Week Spring 2013: the Dropwaist Is the New Evening Silhouette

Frazer Harrison/Getty Images; Mike Coppola/Getty Images; Brian Ach/Getty Images

This season's cocktail dresses and even gowns are showing a newly crafted shape: instead of emphasis at the bust or shoulders or even the waist - the hips are the center of focus.

Most women take great pains to hide their hips -- other than Kim Kardashian, Beyonce and Jennifer Lopez, perhaps. They'll wear long blazers or sweaters over pants or slim skirts for a very slim silhouette. But for eveningwear this spring, they won't be able to hide those hips anymore -- in fact, they'll be celebrating them. And you have to admit -- it's a very womanly look. Just ask Kanye West and Jay-Z.

Whether designers were thinking about Baz Luhrmann's Great Gatsby coming out at Christmas -- all jazz age and flapper dresses, which were all about the dropwaist -- or just changing up eveningwear from all these dresses that go in at the waist or have one shoulder, this week we saw a definite direction toward dresses being straight down to the hips, then flaring out. We've seen flared skirts in gowns for a while -- even very wide skirts -- but this is something else: Prabal Gurung's cocktail dresses hung straight to the hips, then poufed out with feathers, ruffles and fabric galore -- but they weren't stiff.

Now, these dresses don't do for the figure what tight or waist-conscious dresses do -- they're more forgiving, and it's going to be interesting to see which ladies in Hollywood embrace the look. We can be sure Carey Mulligan will -- not only does she play Daisy Buchanan in Gatsby and wear tons of those looks (designed by Luhrmann's incredible Oscar-winning designer wife Catherine Martin), but she's a fashion risk-taker. And a slim figure like hers works with anything. Same for Keira Knightley. And Emma Stone. But will slinky Jennifer Aniston give it a go? Or body-conscious Gwyneth Paltrow?

Zac Posen showed both gowns and glamorous dresses with dropwaists, some that jutted out into very wide full skirts with tulle. And Vera Wang's version of the dropwaist did curve in at the waist -- but a lot of her emphasis was on the hips: her dresses jutted out from the hips, or had long jackets over wide skirts, where the fullness occurred at the hips.

Fashionistas in the audience of these shows were heard to be groaning a little bit -- you could almost hear them thinking, "What about all my workouts and dieting?" So this is one of the bright spots of the season -- ladies can start eating a little more and showing a little less! "I felt like with what's going on politically," Gurung told THR, "women deserved a little more freedom of dressing right now."