The time has finally come and Spring is upon us and it’s time, ladies and gentlemen, to rearrange your closets so that your warm weather clothes are more easily accessible. Spring and Fall are my favorite, I love the transitioning seasons when it’s slightly warm but still crisp and the skies are bright blue and cloudless. I adore going for walks at night when it’s still light out, going to the Farmer’s Market and making huge, brightly colored salads, and of course, bearing some skin after months of being hiding under layers and layers of fabric.
So what’s on tap for Spring? As usual every magazine and fashion blog has a helpful list of what the New York, London, Milan and Paris collections showed for Spring 2012 – Fashionologie, Vogue, Harper’s Bazaar & Elle to name a few. They go to the runway shows and examine them look by look to determine what the upcoming season will be all about. And this season we have: rounded shoulders, lace, 20’s art deco, ladylike silhouettes, florals, tribal prints, peplum tops & dresses, exaggerated & padded hips, wide belts, minimalism, head-to-toe white, mesh, sporty, cropped tops, bra tops…
As adorable as these models look, this isn’t a what I would call a real trend for real people. Truth be told, pretty much only Carrie Bradshaw can wear a bra top in public. So my goal here today is to give you some ideas for great Spring dressing that are more suited to our non-Sex In The City day-to-day lives.
Pastels are usually a Spring staple and this year is no different. However, rather than putting together solid candy colored looks, try mixing various soft, sherbet shades together for a colorful but subtle look.
Lindsey Wixson & Frida Gustavsson’s ad for Mulberry highlights the beautiful pastel trend perfectly. Why not try pairing pastel pieces with neutrals or even black for a tasteful work-appropriate look?
See FabSugar’s ideas on how to integrate pastels into your wardrobe in 5 Ways to Wear Spring’s Pretty Pastels or WhoWhatWear’s How They Wear Pastels featuring Sarah Jessica Parker, Hanneli Mustaparta & Lily Collins.
You may already be sick of the phrase “pop of color” (right Holly?) but this trend isn’t going anywhere anytime soon…
Why settle for one splash of color when you can have two like Judith Bedard does below? I love that she didn’t try to match her tights and oh-so-French scarf. They’re both beautiful, bright colors, and they’re both utterly different.
This is an ideal style for those – like me – who wear mostly black, since adding a bright scarf, pair of shoes, or purse is incredibly easy. Yet those quick touches immediately update your look, make it fresh and take it to a new level. So what did I do to ensure that I could pop pop pop all Spring long?
I bought myself a new best friend! 🙂
A scarf, hat, bag or piece of jewelry are all great choices for bringing this trend to life. But you can get even more creative and find other ways to flash some color. How about a bright hairpiece or headband? What about throwing on some brilliantly colored nail polish?
Similar to the splash of color trend is the modern style of adding a colorful blazer to your outfit to give it a bit of flash.
Above model Josephine Skriver shows just how to pair a bright blazer with a warmer look – slim pants, booties & long sleeves will all keep the chill away as we wait impatiently for the weather to heat up. Already warm enough to lose the pants in your neck of the woods, you luck duck? Try pairing a brightly colored blazer with shorts for a more Summery look like Liz Cherkasova from Late Afternoon does below. She even mixed multiple trends by adding metallic shorts & accessories as well as a floral printed blouse to her look. Quite the Mix Master!
For more tips on finding the perfect blazer, see Rachel Bilson‘s Spring blazer recommendations or Frugal Fashionista‘s great celebrity-inspired choices featuring fashion stars like Kirstin Dunst, Beyonce and Olivia Palermo.
While florals are always a Spring staple, this year you should also invest in some other types of prints as well – from tribal prints to chevron zig zags to typical florals to geometric patterns – there’s something to suit everyone’s style. Whether you want to add a printed bag or belt to a monochromatic look or bravely don head-to-toe print, you should definitely give this trend a try.
Hanne Gaby Odiele & Elisa Nalin were both ahead of the curve and showing off gorgeous prints during the Fall 2012 shows this past month. I like that while they’re both wearing florals their looks couldn’t be more different, they’re both quite creative with their personal styling.
Even if you’re still working up the courage to flaunt the all-over 70’s style print you’ve always admired, you can try something a bit more subtle to work your way closer to your goal.
A faint pattern like the two dresses above is a good stepping stone. It gives you a fun pattern to play with but isn’t quite as bold or dramatic as Hanne and Elisa’s looks at the top of this section.
Ashley Madekwe’s crisp Armani Exchange dress is light and summery, she paired it with black sandals and layered jewelry for a fun daytime look. While Natalia Vodianova’s dress shows the other end of the white dress spectrum, something fitted and more formal, with dramatic, nighttime accessories – bold purple heels and a crimson clutch.
Whether you’re planning to attend a garden party or have a hot summer night out on the town in mind a white dress is a great choice to show your tan off to perfection. Try adding colorful accessories to keep it fun during the day, chic black & white in the evening or even try out an all-white look if you’re not prone to spilling things… 🙂
In the mood for some more inspiration, check out the Native Fox’s white & red look on Lookbook.nu.
I love shirtdresses! They always look crisp and fresh, and a little more of a formal feel to them than most sundresses so they’re acceptable in a number of social situations. Versatility is key!
A shirtdress can be worn casually during the day with sandals, a floppy hat and a cute tote bag, but it can easily be dressed up at night with heels, a cinched waist and some serious costume jewelry. It’s all about the accessorizing ladies!
If you need a tutorial on this subject head over to The Stylist’s and read their latest series Lessons For A Modern-Day Lady and their most recent piece How To Wear A Shirtdress.
This is one of my favorite looks for Spring, cropped pants are universally flattering and whatever your personal style, there’s the perfect pair for you. From bright colors to basic denim to harem style to classic Jackie O inspired black.
Want to take your crops to a new level? Try them in something textured or an interesting new fabric. Miranda was downtown chic in brown leather Capri pants and a basic denim button down. FabSugar as a great breakdown on the best cropped trousers for Spring – from J.Crew and Zara to Thakoon, Diane Von Furstenberg and Tibi.
Finding yourself inspired for Spring? Don’t forget to enter the Spring Giveaway for a chance to win a $50 gift certificate from Bloomingdale’s!
Well, after a crazy month of fashion we’ve finally arrived – the final week of collections for Fall 2012. After New York, London and Milan you’d think that the fashion world would be too exhausted to muster up much enthusiasm for the Paris shows, but that is never the case. Instead Paris is the culmination of all the weeks of runway shows, the center of the fashion universe, with designers like Karl Lagerfeld, Miuccia Prada and Nicolas Ghesquière and houses like Christian Dior, Yves Saint Laurent and Louis Vuitton keeping it in the spotlight.
Karl Lagerfeld took nature as his muse and created a dramatic spectacle filled with giant crystal stalagmites and an icy snowscape for a runway. The Chanel Fall 2012 collection was predominately dark with the occasional splash of brilliant green, purple, pink, yellow and blue. What did Uncle Karl give us this season that will soon be all the rage? A new combination of separates – Jacket, skirt AND pants. One version that he showed was wrought in Chanel tweed with purple undertones and had a flared skirt, a boxy high-neck jacket and slim, cropped pants.
He also showed great outerwear – cozy ankle-length dusters, cropped open jackets with big pockets, sleeveless mid-thigh length collared coats worn over a cropped jacket, and of course the traditional tweeds.
The accessories were just as striking as the clothes for this show. Gem encrusted belts, mineral formation-inspired shoes, floral pins, sequined embroidery on sleeves & collars, and jeweled bracelets & purses that looked like they were adorned with roughly cut amethyst and pyrite.
What was one of the first and most striking things that you noticed during the show? The brilliant jeweled eyebrows sported by the models – made by the couture embroidery house Lesage.
The Fall 2012 show for Valentino was beautiful and demure, with dramatic undertones. The collection included lots of leather, lace, native & floral prints, separates with sweet details, long dresses, vivid outerwear & capes, jumpsuits, ankle strap heels, and of course, the always striking Valentino Red.
The show was inspired by folk costumes and that theme was picked up in the knee-length capes, braided updos and provincial prints, but it was the separates, accessories, pale embroidery and dresses that really caught my eye.
The Chloe collection for Fall 2012 was relaxed but chic, with a certain nonchalance that we’ve come to enjoy from this house over the years. The pieces included wide leg pants, belted & large pocket-adorned dresses, lacy coats & zip-up jackets, chunky sweaters, pencil skirts and shirtdresses in an array of colors – pale peach, blue and pink, antique white, burgundy and midnight blue.
The accessories and details for Chloe were quite sweet – satin, pastel ankle strap heels, dainty belts, lacy edges and muted, girly plaids.
While Christian Dior remained at the center of rumors and speculation, Bill Gaytten put together an outstanding runway show full of black and soft colors like dove grey, ballerina pink, and pale, pale lavender. The clothes may not have been innovative and new, but I think most audience members would agree with me that the pieces were incredibly beautiful and wearable. I especially liked the flowy skirts in soft colors paired with ankle strap ballet-inspired heels and mixed with harder fabrics and edgy pieces like leather adorned cropped jackets or boxy tweed coats.
I absolutely fell in love with the separates and the accessories – the bags, jewelry and shoes were unbelievable. I want one of each please. Please?
Natalia Vodianova was the first of many top models on the runway for the smart, fun collection by Stella McCartney. Others included Anja Rubik, Karlie Kloss, Kasia Struss, Lindsey Wixson and the It Girl for the Fall 2012 fashion shows Cara Delevingne – younger sister of Poppy Delevingne.
The models strutted their stuff in black and brilliant blue with a few splashes of pink and grey. The pieces were minimal and sleek in silhouette but with unique additions like color on color embroidery, asymmetrical zippers, high necklines, colorblocking and interesting fabrics. Pants & skirt suits, separates, dresses and divine outerwear were the order of the day.
On my must have list? The velvety embroidered portfolio clutches and oh-so-flattering dresses with the high necks and the flippy, cheerleader-inspired skirts. Perfect with tights, a cropped jacket & heels for Fall.
Pants! Pants! Pants! Miuccia Prada’s Miu Miu show was all about pantsuits. The colors ranged from shades of blue, gold, rose, purple, and neutrals, and even included bold stripes and bright retro prints.
The styles were almost as varied as the colors and patterns, there were oversized menswear-inspired cuts (one even modeled by Jacquetta Wheeler!), seventies style all-over prints, mod belted-tunic coats over cropped pants, and even shorts & skirts.
With the suits were seriously cute colorblock-toed boots, bow-adorned Oxfords with thick heels & platforms, low-heeled loafers and an array of top handled bags in a rainbow of colors.
Need more? The Sartorialist has got you covered.
This was Alber Elbaz’s 10 year anniversary and Lanvin was, as always, a dazzling show of color, frivolity and fun. The sexy, body hugging dresses came in every color you could imagine – teal, marigold, cobalt blue, tangerine, purple – and there were prints galore as well. These dresses are for a girl with a good time on her mind. Girls night out. Bachelorette party. Date night. There were dresses for all occasions on this runway.
The middle section of the show was a bit more dramatic, it contained two dozen looks in darker tones with leather, velvet, embroidery, brocade and jeweled details to up the drama. From light and easy to drama drama drama, Lanvin has you covered ladies.
The twenty-six piece collection for Celine was bold and architectural, featuring separates, oversized outerwear, a handful of dresses and some great bags and shoes. Lots of crisp white with touches of black leather and dashes of blue, red and pink. Colorful in a minimal and chic way, Phoebe Philo’s specialty.
The wedges and zip up mid-calf boots were incredibly wearable, but it was the clutches that really made my day. From envelope style to large and overstuffed, they were absolutely sumptuous.
The “beauty in the future” Alexander McQueen show was all about volume and extravagant drama. The show began with dresses that brought to mind explosions of flower petals, paired with futuristic black sunglasses and striking metallic belts that encircled the models and appeared to keep them grounded.
From there the drama only increased, and in Tim Blanks’s words: “The show’s progression from pure white to the grandest possible finale of red and black felt like a journey from innocence to experience.”
Wearable? No. Eye-catching, breathtaking and dramatic? Oh. Yeah.
Marc Jacobs’s Louis Vuitton show was by far the most fantastical during Paris Fashion Week Fall 2012. A real steam engine? But of course!
Exaggerated silhouettes, large vintage-style buttons, all-over prints and suits with a skirt & pants worn together may not have been wholly original concepts this season, but you have to hand it to Marc Jacobs to put his own personal spin on these pieces to make them 100% Louis Vuitton. For starters he added oversized, banded Stephen Jones hats to his looks (almost reminiscent of his Marc Jacobs show for New York Fashion Week Fall 2012), shimmery fabrics with block-like patterns, art deco inspired sequined detailing, contrasting collars, and an array of gorgeous shoes and handbags. Oh, and bellhops to carry the bags.
And as always, the accessories and extras for the Louis Vuitton collection were beyond drool worthy. Gorgeous oversized handbags, monogrammed & patterned hat boxes (one of my favorite things of all time), railway trunks, retro doctor’s bags and all the luggage you could want in everything from orange fur to green crocodile to classic LV neutrals. WANT.
The gorgeous Yves Saint Laurent Fall 2012 Ready-To-Wear show was bittersweet as Stefano Pilati announced it was his last collection for the house. The primarily dark hued show was sleek and dramatic. Nipped waists, rubber & latex trims, chain mail pieces & accents, metallic pumps, black leather pants, and shiny, deep crimson nail polish & lipstick all came together to create and sexy, gothic dream.
I really liked the dark florals paired with leather and tougher fabrics with a little edge. I also adored the sexy necklines and low backs in this collection, I think that the back is such a beautiful part of a woman’s body and I wish more designers would create pieces that highlight it this way.
And I saved the best for last… Pilati also showed the jumpsuits & Le Smoking Suits from YSL’s 70s heyday – Classics reworked!
As always Nicolas Ghesquière’s Balenciaga collection was striking and eye-catching. Shiny metallic draping, sheer skirts with bands of shimmery fabric at the bottoms, oversized outerwear in cocoon and balloon silhouettes, slashes of brilliantly colored animal prints, silkscreened t-shirts with bright graphics and great color combinations all made the show quite theatrical.
Oh Nina… Nina Ricci was dark, dramatic, and a little dishevelled. The clothes had an air of being slightly undone – sleeves long enough to covered the models’ hands, collars and hemlines askew, slits a little too high, exposed tops of thigh-highs. But there was also an air of boudoir comfort in the silks, sheer tops and visible camisole straps. The Nina Ricci woman is nothing if not confident – comfortable whether she’s wearing her slip under a tweed suit or exposing a little skin when her dress strap slips off a shoulder.
I loved the whole feel of this collection, the tousled elegance was beautiful and carefree. Very French. I loved the satin slip dresses in deep amethyst worn with furs and my favorite dress was the pale periwinkle & grey tweed with faux fur collar & sleeves.
And the shoes at Nina Ricci were nothing short of phenomenal. I want them all.
You can see more photographs of these gorgeous clothes here and a runway video here.
See By Chloe, the younger sibling of Chloe, showed a great, wearable collection via the invitation only website Digitalfashionshows.com. The primarily black, white & red looks included chic separates, flowy maxis, peasant dresses, well-tailored jackets and adorable pointy-toed booties in black, cream and tan. My favorite look was a red corduroy suit with a plunging neckline and double-breasted buttons.
You can see more pictures from FabSugar.
Swoon! Roland Mouret’s collection was lustrous and elegant, his show included everything from subtle animal print suits to pastel and muted plaid pantsuits to gorgeous dresses with flattering twisted & draped fabric to beautiful separates and skirts with peplums to a series of lavender-grey lace dresses.
This was a collection for a sexy professional working woman. The clothes ranged from what she’d wear for after-work cocktails with colleagues to running into the office to finish a project on a Saturday to her Board Meeting power suits. I would wear virtually every piece from this collection. Any one want to buy it for me?
You should definitely look at more pictures from this collection.
The collection that Dries van Noten showed in Paris was full of black, white and blue prints – prints that covered everything from coats and dresses to button downs and floor-length gowns. But those weren’t the only prints, he also included Asian inspired gold dragons, geometric patterns in orange and yellow, traditional Japanese graphics, and more conventional stripes and florals for Fall. The show also included great outerwear – coats with larger silhouettes as we’ve been seeing all over the runways these past few weeks, as well as fur-lined Anoraks, and belted knee-length wool jackets
Mr. van Noten is a man known for his attention to detail and that’s especially evident when you get a good look at the intricacies and various components included in his prints, patterns, and color combinations.
Balmain was all about high-low mixing. Elaborate embroidery and intricate details paired with a more relaxed lower half in beautiful velvets and hip-hugging leather. The rock n’ roll mini dresses with dramatic shoulders were present, but this season they appeared in white, covered in crystals or embroidered with flowers. And even the famous Balmain bandleader jacket got a reworked, appearing squarer and more relaxed in the fit with less showy shoulder pads.
In the mood for more from the Paris shows? You can view photos & videos from some shows that I didn’t have time to review over here: Rochas, Carven, Gareth Pugh, Mugler, Sonia Rykiel and Isabel Marant.
*** Please note that I do not advocate the use of fur in fashion and personally make an effort not to wear or carry fur, exotic skins or leather. I believe that in this day in age there are many beautiful alternatives to these products which are cruelty-free and should be utilized instead.
Photographs from Style.com unless otherwise cited.