By Nicole Adlman
Another Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week has come and gone in New York, leaving us with a cornucopia of fall trends to digest. The best of next fall’s fashion will be its versatility – we can expect to see new shapes, textures and no shortage of bold color. Here’s the trend breakdown:
Eastern influence – This year, designers turned a discerning eye to the eastern hemisphere – Asian and Indian-inspired pieces were key to some of this Fashion Week’s most prevalent collections. Jason Wu brought a Chinese-warrior theme to his modern womenswear: the models were outfitted for an uptown battle – not with swords – but with high ponytails, tailored pants and belted jackets. At Naeem Khan, Indian body art was the inspiration for the intricate, circle-dotted prints of his sleek dresses and separates.
Print-blocking – While color-blocking has gone mainstream over the last two years, designers are still looking for new and unique ways to pair opposing hues and prints in one look. This was apparent on Joseph Altuzarra’s runway: the show began and ended with pieces in a colorfully textured print that was embellished with pompons. Floral and tie-dyed prints paired with sheer fabrics and solid (or conversely printed) bottoms were seen for fall at Preen. At Rag & Bone, a clever layering of diverse prints (stripes, dots and herringbone in one, anyone?) made for an inspired showing. J. Crew presented a budget-friendly version of the look, with a variety of printed separates to be snatched up in stores next fall.
Fur, Anew – Next season’s focus on outerwear will see a crop of new fur ideas interplay with classic coat and vest silhouettes. Fur trimmed-jackets and fully-fur skirts and coats made the start of J. Mendel’s stunning fall presentation in muted tones of cream, gray and black. The models at Marc Jacobs were nearly without faces, so large were his slouching mink top hats. High fur collars set off print-blocked ensembles at Vivienne Tam.
The Midi Skirt – Minis and maxis are so 2011. The preferred length of skirt for next fall is perfectly between maxi-long and mini-short – it’s a mid-length, just below the knee cut that is flattering on most body types (this, of course, also depends on your shoe choice – a taller body-type can pull off the look with flats; shorter frames should try this skirt with heels). Alexander Wang sent the midi out in a glossy, lacquered-looking leather while the Mulleavy sisters, of Rodarte, used a multitude of textures, colors and prints to give their mid-length skirts depth.
Menswear as Womenswear – This is not your 80s powersuit. Sexy pantsuits appeared on multiple catwalks during Fashion Week, notably at Tibi, 3.1 Phillip Lim and Prabal Gurung. Not to be outdone, Donna Karan made a study of women’s suits by utilizing pinstripes and deliberate tailoring on skirts, crisp blazers and dresses that, with mini-fedoras and cuffs, gave a modern nod to the 1930s. Peter Som lent work-ready jackets a new shape with round, billowing arms and a bow-cinched waist in various materials, including leather.
The Return of Red – This was not just the return of brick red, orange-red, or red-red, this was a celebration of all things crimson and red’s derivative shades. Red was blended into other warm colors, allowing for the creation of magenta-red, mustard-red and burnt orange-red. Burgundy was color-blocked with pink-reds and brown-reds, while light reds found friends in colors like coral and peach. Monique Lhuillier’s collection showcased lava-red, with swirling and floral patterns hitting the catwalk in a range of red tints (the Helmut Lang show had a parallel lava-red moment). Thakoon Panichgul also used the color to set the tone in ensembles color-blocked with fuschia and plum. Plaid was the platform for Michael Kors to spotlight red – a print that he used as a base for many of the pieces in his namesake line.