Last week New York City hosted Mercedes Benz Fashion Week for Fall 2012. Fashion designers showcased their ready-to-wear (RTW) looks that will eventually grace the most fashionable ladies next fall. Fashionistas, celebrities, stylists, fashion/beauty bloggers, socialites, and fashion magazine editors packed Lincoln Center for one show after another.
The shows ranged from the most avant-garde of looks (Prabal Gurung, Creatures of the Wind, and Jeremy Scott, just to name a few) to the most reserved yet on trend looks for Fall 2012. Before I go on, I want to put a disclaimer here: This is my first Fashion Week that I have officially covered. I love fashion, love shopping, and think that I have somewhat of a chic style (on the days that I am not at the dog park'). I have always been an admirer of past NYFW's and I feel so lucky to actually get to publish my thoughts and opinions on what I liked. As it turns out this year, it's not so much as disliked'maybe "dislike" is too harsh of a word, "blas?" would be more appropriate.
Because this was Fall 2012 RTW, many of the designers stuck to a darker-toned palate that was mixed with neutrals as well as heavier fabrics, such as tweed, wool, and cashmere. Teal, tangerine tango (a reddish-orange), and chartreuse were among a few of the colors that stood out and were mixed with the neutral tones. These 3 are considered to be among the "it" colors for next season.
My favorite show was Kate Spade's Fall 2012. It was a fabulous show and I was coveting just about every piece in it. After seeing it, I was happy and giddy. To me, the show was all eye candy. The brand name, Kate Spade, evokes American preppy chic and looks to Paris for inspiration. The clothes embodied that French saying of je ne sais quoi
. The dresses were ladylike but flirtatious at the same time, with nipped-in waists and A-line flared skirts in bright cherry red, and with Peter Pan collars, a trend this season that apparently will still be one in fall. The colors were clear, bright, happy, and most importantly, wearable.
Polka-dot was a big feature throughout the collection--it adorned everything from shoes, to handbags, even to the models' manicures! According to Fashionista.com, in order "to fully French-ify the collection Deborah Lloyd, head designer, turned to Parisian Garance Dore to create one-of-a-kind illustrated prints on the flared knee-length skirts. One print reads 'les filles sont folles,' which means 'all girls are crazy.'"
J.Crew was the second show that I liked best and felt that was extremely wearable and translate-able from the runway to the sidewalk.
In the last couple of years J.Crew has revamped its whole aesthetic and is now an attractive option for the stylish elite. With the help of super-chic Jenna Lyons at its helm, and now under Tom Mora as the lead women's wear designer, J.Crew is classy chic with a fashion-forward edge.
The models walked out in order of shades of blue to teal, then maroon to red, and lastly, to hot pink. From the ski lodge-inspired sweaters, colorful cashmere sweaters, and the new shoe collaboration with Manolo Blahnik, which will offer exclusive colors to J.Crew, I am seriously lusting after everything!
Rebecca Taylor, third on the list of my favorite shows, has evolved from her earlier look of a flirty, soft, feminine style into something now with more of an edge.
This year, instead of the sheer lacey trimmed blouses, her inspiration was grunge and mens-wear. A darker-colored palate featured grey, navy, black, and bordeaux. Yes, there were still her feminine dresses, but the fabric of these dresses was a rich velvet with a harder, angular edge. Tweed tops with peplum waist (another very hot trend both this spring season and continuing into next fall) were paired with menswear-inspired pants. I loved all of it and can see these pieces fitting right into my wardrobe.
Ralph Lauren's show literally made me squeal with delight when I saw the clothing! The opening song that played as the models walked out onto the runway was the theme from BBC's hit mini-series, Downton Abbey.
Not only had Ralph Lauren totally hit the nail on the head by being so on trend with a style and era that has taken so many of us by storm, his tailored tweed menswear-inspired suits looked like they belong frolicking on the grounds of Downton Abbey. The suit jackets were perfectly "Ralph Lauren" and I can imagine them being paired with a great jean, which would make the person wearing it look well put together, classic, and timeless. Long ankle-skimming skirts were paired with suit jackets in which the edges were trimmed with a black ribbon. These recalled the essence and elegance of the Edwardian Era, and I can imagine any of his pieces being perfectly suited for any woman in any situation, whether at the office or at a movie theater.
Gold, black, and even a pop of fuchsia were all colors part of Lauren's color palate. It was nice to see him steer away from the same darker tones other designers seemed partial towards.
Another designer that I was literally wowed by was Marchesa. Their gowns, although lovely, don't translate into my reality. I am sure we will be seeing some of their beautiful dresses on the red carpet at the Oscars, and we can all appreciate the delicate and expert craftsmanship that went into constructing these couture gowns. The audience at the show spoke like a red carpet event, with the likes of Taylor Momsen and Bar Refaeli.
French Romantic painter William-Adolphe Bouguereau's "A Soul Brought to Heaven" (1878) was the inspiration for the show. The dresses were dramatic and angelic at the same time. The reason I choose to add Marchesa as a favorite of mine is because it was a self-indulgent, visual feast! And I don't have a favorite dress because each one was better than the next.
Models entered the gold and mirrored doorway of the runway (staged at the Plaza Hotel, adding to the glamorous theme) on the arms of male models that posed as their escorts. Teal and the bright pop of cherry red lace formfitting bodices combined with tulle skirts added to the dramatic aesthetic.
Make-up and hair as always plays such a major role on the runways and really deserve their own reviews in order to do them real justice. For the most part, hair ranged from the overly done up-do at Lela Rose to the overly textured naturally wavy look at Rag & Bone. Strong bold brows appeared on so many runways that it's safe to say it's a trend that's here to stay. One of my favorite looks--a bold red lip with an almost naked face--was popular at the Marc Jacobs show. Serious nail art is a trend that was present on the runways, with the already-mentioned Kate Spade polka-dot manicure, but Donna Karan and Badgley Mischka embraced it as well.
I think it's important to mention most of the shows were accessible to those who where not lucky enough to score tickets to the actual runway shows. Many of them were available on live feeds, and social media tools such as Twitter and Instagram made up the other end of sharing information instantly and in real time.
In the end though, as exciting as what was featured on the runways, New York Fashion Week has become so much about what's actually being seen on the sidewalks--and in the front-row seats of those attending the shows.