While most of the time, fashion is looking towards the future, this season, it's glancing backwards towards the past. And we're not talking about the '20s, '60s or '80s as inspiration; we're talking about fall, 2009.
Designers, perhaps realizing that most of us aren't willing to shell out money for entirely new wardrobes every season, showed collections reminiscent of what we've already been wearing for the past year, give or take a few new trends. Sequins, jumpsuits, asymmetrical tops, blazers and leggings are still going strong (although it's safe to say you can crop the length as the temps warm), although this past season's menswear trend has been left for the guys.
For example, Italian fashion house Gucci, uses "iconic elements of Gucci's storied past as well as the most classic of wardrobe essentials-the Little Black Dress-as a launching point, for a coherent vision of modern femininity," says the brand's Creative Director, Frida Giannini.
This spring, the hottest look is all girly, with chiffon, lace, tulle, bows, ribbons and all the frills and whistles, and so much delicate draping, it's as if designers were competing in a Project Runway-esque dress-making contest. But while pretty may be "in," perfection is "out." Calling it a 'wondrous fashion fairytale,' British Vogue said of Cynthia Rowley's tattered spring collection: "Bleeding neckline dresses, slashed pants, shattered sequin sweaters, purposely threadbare tanks and shredded canvas belts and mules made it feel like we just stumbled into a Tim Burton movie."
But when it comes to color trends, the runways were showing anything but baby pink. Earthy flesh tones reigned supreme, with pops of orange, fuchsia, red, yellow, and various shades of blue. As several looks of barely-there nude and earthy-splendor traipsed down the runway, they were suddenly interspersed with fun plays on color, as if with no rhyme or reason. Such was the case for Carolina Herrera, where an Hermés-orange jumpsuit stole the spotlight, or on the Paris catwalk where Lanvin showed a pouf-sleeved, asymmetrical fuchsia frock paired with fire-engine red pumps.
"Designer lines like Hanii Y, Joseph and Elizabeth and James, have taken great colors like teal and orange, and paired them back with neutrals, to make a chic statement," says Lori Land, co-owner of Mt. Kisco, New York boutique Churchill's. Eric Newland, owner of Designer One, a shop in Larchmont, New York, noticed the prevalence of one bold color in particular. "We're seeing shades of blue in a big way, almost as if drawn from the characters in [the animated film] Avatar.
The Flowers That Bloom in the Spring, Tra La…
While they're hardly original, floral prints for the spring are "always a marvelous thing." But not all florals are created equal. For details on what designers are saying is 'in' and what's 'out'... click here.
Best of all, winter staples that you already own, are your new floral frock's best friends. "Don't pack away your blazers or leather jackets," says Jessica Totillo, co-owner of Purple Passage in Mt. Kisco, New York. "Instead, throw them over a floral print dress for the ultimate in the feminine-with-edge trend." In fact, all our experts agree, you will continue to get mileage out of that leather jacket you bought for fall. "This will be a seasonless transitional piece you will wear for years to come," says New York-based fashion designer Theo M. Hackney.The Urban Jungle…
Designers tend to travel in packs when it comes to trends, and the tribal movement is no different. Rodarte, Calvin Klein, and an array of others, have all gone on safari. "I notice a sense of the wild, or outback, with a jungle kind of influence," says Robin Mizrahi-Sartini, co-owner of Pamela Robbins in Scarsdale, New York. Ken Downing, Senior Vice President of Neiman Marcus concurs. "Tribal influences abound with an exotic infusion of color, print and embellishment," says Downing. "Fashion always loves a sojourn and this season, the runways of the world landed on the Ivory Coast." He cites classic jackets, shorts, and cargo details on pants, for those who want to follow this trend. "Typical chinos are re-invented, often pleated, sometimes high-waisted and narrow at the ankle," says Mizrahi-Sartini. She recommends "freshening" up chinos for spring by rolling up the bottoms to mid-calf and pairing with a chunky high heel or espadrille wedge, like a pair by Chloe that she is carrying in her store. And it's no surprise animal prints remain as important as they have in the past few seasons.It's Fashion, not War…
Military-inspired looks that went beyond camo and cargos, dominated for many designers. From ancient Amazon warriors, to today's military garb and perhaps that of the future, Balenciaga, Balmain and Versace, were just a few who commanded our attention with militia-inspired apparel. "An army jacket is a great way to freshen up your wardrobe," says Lynn Puro, owner of March Boutique in Briarcliff, New York. Puro says you can pair your favorite skinny jeans from the winter, with a new military style vest and tee, like those she stocks by Tory Burch. "If you're not ready to look like a soldier, stick to a button-down tunic in army green," advises Totillo. "Epaulettes (a type of ornamental shoulder piece or decoration used as insignia of rank by armed forces) are a good way to realize the trend without being over the top."Better have Blue…
All hues of blue colored many collections, but none more important than denim. Shirts and dresses from Derek Lam, Tahari and Anna Sui are nudging jeans aside, to become our new go-to denim staple. "More than just jeans, denim dressing has a casual luxe appeal," notes Downing. "The old idea of never wearing two pieces of denim at once has been relegated to the back of the closet!"
Adam Zuckerman, owner of Z Life Denim Lounge in Rye Brook, New York, agrees denim-on-denim doesn't have to look like the dreaded "Texas Tuxedo." "I tell my customers all the time that if it's done properly, mixing and matching denim is very chic, as long as you use different washes and different colors." He adds that beyond the must-have chambray shirts and rompers, the denim trend is expanding to pocketbooks, headbands and even hats.
Z Life is also one of just three stores on the East Coast to be carrying Ralph Lauren's new denim label, RRL. "You can get a great RRL Western-styled chambray shirt for about $225," says Zuckerman.
I'd be remiss if I didn't mention that this year; we saw the emergence of the "jegging." Like it or not, this cross between jeans and leggings, is a continuing trend that's proving its got legs (albeit skinny ones). "The skinny legging-like straight-leg jean is in everyone's closet by now, even those who thought they couldn't wear them found a pair they could tuck into a high-boot," says Mizrahi-Sartini. Her store, Pamela Robbins, is a denim-lovers dream, stocking several styles and brands, from Rich and Skinny (which she says are great for gals with an ample backside) to the ever popular "boyfriend" styles by Current Elliot, and in every shade, especially summer's traditional must-have, white. From one end of the spectrum to the other, if you stock up on skinnies, don't forget a pair with a wide bottom, too. "They come up higher on the waist, narrow at the knee, and flare at the bottom," says the store-owner. "They can make a 5 foot tall girl seem like her legs go on for days."
While flattering and practical, quality denim doesn't come without a price. "One item you should splurge on is a well fitting pair of jeans in a classic style," says Barb Jacobowitz, owner of Industry, a boutique in Dobbs Ferry, New York. "They will last you for years to come."
For a Sneak Peak at Fall/Winter 2010, click here.
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