Fashion Week refreshes classic styles

Every season, fashion designers are hard-pressed to discover enticing trends and pull them together into a show that will impress shoppers, critics, magazine editors and wholesale buyers.

In 2012’s Fashion Week, there were, of course, common threads between the collections in New York, London, Milan and Paris. The real turn-on, however, came from the versatility afforded by the separates and classics. Flowing silks and luxe layers transition easily from season to season and day to night, while perfectly complementing an existing wardrobe.

Here are the top trends, straight from the runways.

Black and White

With checkered, spray-painted, striped and color-blocked varieties, the “it” colors of next spring — black and white — are not really colors at all. Nearly every show exhibited some variety of these pairings, whether it came in the form of whimsical floral stencil paintings on Prada’s silk dresses and tops or as ladylike lace at Thakoon. Michael Kors made these monochromatic shades an addition to his classic American style with sleek black cutout dresses and preppy striped knits, while Karl Lagerfeld stayed true to Chanel’s heritage with clean lines and bold contrasting trims.

There is no wrong way to wear this trend for spring. A solid black top with a pair of white jeans will be as on-trend as it is simple.

Slightly Exposed

Even the most ladylike designers proved that (a little) skin is definitely in. Following in the footsteps of the cutout trend that emerged several seasons ago, American favorites like Peter Som made belly baring tasteful with ultra high-waisted, voluminous skirts and tiny tops that left just a sliver of midriff visible.

Balance is essential, as exemplified by Derek Lam, who paired a tough leather corset top with a plaid below-the-knee pencil skirt that would remain stylish in the spring or fall. Others blurred the line between clothing and lingerie with strappy bandeau tops made of sheer mesh or lace overlay. Though there is a distinction between traditional undergarments and those shown alone, it’s clear the bra is no longer simply a foundation piece meant to be concealed.

Laser-Cut Leather

Exquisitely detailed leather adds a richer side to fashion pieces in the months transitioning out of cold weather by lightening the traditionally heavy motorcycle jacket or trenchcoat. One standout piece can bring just the right amount of feminine interest to an entire outfit, and there was certainly no lack of girly whimsy at this month of shows. J. Mendel and Valentino worked blush and white leather into delicate, scallop-edged lace shorts topped with playful swing jackets. Never one to shy away from excess, Roberto Cavalli incised elaborate designs along the front and back panels of classic trousers, as well as on the bib collar of button-down blouses.


Last year’s sugary pastels made way for an equally appealing, but slightly less saccharine, palette of seafoam green, dusty blue and muted turquoise. Paired with pleats, drapes and languid silks, these colors are beachy finds much too beautiful to dirty with sand. Caribbean-inspired shades covered everything from easy, breezy voluminous pants to Grecian sundresses given an effortlessness with unfinished or uneven hemlines, as seen at Blumarine. Jill Stuart made the trend applicable to the New York girl by pairing an ankle-length frock with black platform sandals and sleek hair. At Donna Karan, the collection played out like a day on the coast, opening with soft oceanic hues followed by darker blues and a full range of sunset colors.

Drop Waists

The predominant silhouette of the season gives a subtle nod to the ’20s with its carefree attitude and torso-lengthening effect. Prabal Gurung modernized the shape by adding pockets to a shimmery strapless piece. Dries van Noten adopted the trend by letting skirts fall lower on the hips, as opposed to at waist level. The result is a relaxed vibe that translates with any skirt length and can even be adopted by slinging pants a little lower, as seen at See by Chloe.

Trends, like rules, are meant to be played with and broken. So until the next round of shows, take joy in deciding how to fit one or all of these trends into the puzzle that is your closet.

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