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Fashion Week gave us several reasons to smile this season. 

For the last seven days, acclaimed designers did what they do best, sending creative, dynamic and, at times, eccentric new styles out on the catwalks. We got to see top supermodels back at work in the Big Apple, like pro Gigi Hadidstrutting at Anna Sui despite a missing shoe. There was also no shortage of stars, as the likes of Nicole KidmanJamie Foxx and Paris and Nicky Hilton Rothschild took their seats along the highly coveted front rows. Of course, there's no forgetting Leslie Jonesassuming the role of model hype woman on the sidelines of Christian Siriano. 

In the midst of all of the typical fashion week pomp and circumstance, the industry also took a few steps in the right direction as far as inclusiveness, diversity and general badassery are concerned. Some runways opened their arms to plus-size models old and new, highlighted women's natural hair textures, chipped away at clothing's ties to gender and gave transgender models spots on some of the most publicized stages in the world. 

While there's certainly more progress to be made in the seasons to come, we must tip our hats to the efforts of some designers to uplift and embolden everyone on their runway—and those also watching it. As designer Christian Siriano told E! News backstage before his show, "It's not that we're just making clothes...We get to hopefully change a little bit of the world."

Here were some of the most empowering moments to take place this season at New York Fashion Week.

ESC: Teyana Taylor, Philipp Plein

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The bold singer, dancer and actress turned fashion week on its head when she hit the runway and simultaneously brought the shows down at GCDS, Philipp Plein and The Blonds. While sticking to her signature feline fierceness, the "Fade" dancer didn't sacrifice an ounce of her personality on the catwalk despite criticism from some naysayers. "When the haters tried to say I was too extra yesterday.....I turned around and CLOSED ANOTHER RUNWAY SHOW even more EXTRA!! & ima do it AGAIN AND AGAIN AND AGAIN cause these b--ches can't take!!!" she wrote on Instagram along with a video of herself crawling and dancing along the runway—in stiletto heels, no less. Guess a traditional strut wasn't Taylor's style. Moral of the story: Don't let anyone hold back your swagger. 

ESC: Chromat, Leyna Bloom

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This season, models of all genders found a place on the catwalk, including transgender models Carmen Carrera, Leyna Bloom and Maya Monès for Chromat and Avie Acosta, a gender non-conforming model who donned a sheer gown for Christian Siriano's collection. "It's a very diverse runway today," Siriano told E! News backstage at his show. "We have boys. We have trans. We have curvy. We have everything. As my T-shirt says, we all grow in the same garden, and I really wanted to bring that today."

ESC: Natalie Nootenboom, Anna Sui

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The runways opened their doors to new faces and labels this season, particularly in the realm of curves. While Natalie Nootenboom became the first plus-size model to walk for Anna Sui, plus-size brand Torrid celebrated its first showing at New York Fashion Week. As the 16-year-old model wrote on Instagram, "Let's go break some stereotypes."

ESC: Prabal Gurung, Candice Huffine

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While Anna Sui embraced a plus-size model for the first time, curves were plentiful on the catwalks this year at shows like Christian Siriano, Chromat, Michael Costello and Prabal Gurung. Meanwhile, Ashley Graham kicked off her third consecutive year showing her Addition Elle lingerie line with a bevy of curvy stunners proudly sporting her bras and panties. As Gurung told E!'s Zanna Roberts Rassi, "The essence of the woman and the girl is far more important than the size of her." 

ESC: Milly

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Sometimes empowerment inspires the designs. Such was the case for Milly designer Michelle Smith, who focused on the notion of loving herself as a woman in the process of developing her Wild Flower spring collection. "[It's about] expressing myself, loving myself as a woman—all of us loving ourselves as women," she told E! News of her new line, which featured sensual draping and pleating. "It's about inner beauty and using the flower as a metaphor for how strong a flower is and how beautiful and soft and delicate, but how honestly very strong."

 

ESC: Fenty, Rihanna

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Leave it to Hollywood's bonafide bad gal Rihanna to close out her Fenty x Puma show not on her feet, but on two wheels. The star left fashion week in her dust as she rode out onto the runway on the back of a dirt bike in true kick-ass finale style. 

ESC: Kate Spade

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While models are typically molded into the vision the designer has for his or her collection, more and more, we're seeing shows like Kate Spade highlighting the hair textures women are already rocking on their heads. As lead hairstylist Bob Recine explained to E! News backstage, "We were going for individuality. We're not going for transformation. We're respecting who the person is—hair texture and everything." "There's nothing perfect about beauty," he continued, while adding the finishing touches on the show's relaxed ponies. "When you perfect beauty, you sacrifice its power, charm. We like the charm."

ESC: Christian Siriano

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Genderless clothing was in the spotlight this season as Christian Siriano sent his male models out on the catwalk in vibrant, floral suits and spaghetti-strapped cocktail dresses; while, Snow Xue Gao presented her male models in jackets layered over dresses layered over pants. The message: Whoever you are, wear whatever you want. 

ESC: Chromat, Hunter McGrady

Zanni/Patrick McMullan

After the "thigh gap" craze took over the fashion industry, it was entirely refreshing to see models whose thighs not only touched, but were also taken one step further. As Hunter McGrady walked Chromat's runway, she sported anti-chafing bands around her thighs, a symbol that they should be embraced, not shamed. 

"Follow @stylecollective for updates on all things Fashion Week at E!"

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