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New York Fashion Week Spring 2013 – Part I

Every season I’m at a loss as to how I should approach the fashion show reviews. There are so many that I don’t know where to start, how many I should try to review, or how to justify which shows I choose over others. It’s oddly stressful considering I’m sitting in front of my laptop in San Francisco and NOT running around the cobblestone streets of New York City in stilettos with a 50 lbs handbag.

So this season I have come up with a plan of attack. I’m going to publish four separate pieces for New York Fashion Week:

  1. The NYFW Institutions – i.e. Oscar de la Renta, Diane Von Furstenberg & Carolina Herrera
  2. The more reasonably priced or secondary designer lines – i.e. J.Crew, MARC by Marc Jacobs & Alice+Olivia
  3. New up & coming brands that I’m just discovering or which are new to the tents – i.e. Z Spole by Zac Posen, Thakoon Addition & Victoria by Victoria Beckham
  4. And finally the street style & front row fashion of the NYFW attendees

So without further ado – Welcome to the fabulous runway fashion of the New York Fashion Week Spring 2013 Ready-to-Wear shows:

BCBG Max Azria:

This collection was an interesting juxtaposition of hard against soft. The dresses all had a harness-like construction on the bodice, evoking a tough, bad-girl vibe that contrasted with the softer colors and flowing silhouettes.

Black, white, grey, and coral were the colors de jour and all the looks were paired with a wide ankle strap adorned heel in black or white. The fitted, midi and maxi-length skirts were equipped with high slits in the thin, wispy floral, lace, and paisley prints, making them utterly perfect for hot summer nights.

Peter Som:

This sweet collection was filled with great prints, bright colors and pastels, florals, flowy silhouettes and just a touch of lace. It was structured and well put together, but relaxed and fun – New York City girl meets boho chic.

The prints were chic and I loved the cropped pants – of course – and the hippie vibe throughout. I don’t think that I can say it any better than The Man Repeller: “Peter Som is punk rock tea party infused with tigers and ponies.”

Derek Lam:

I heard the phrase “sporty luxury” to describe Derek Lam and couldn’t get it out of my head – That’s the perfect description for this master of chic sportswear and exquisite tailoring. These clothes were modern and chic, I can easily picture them on streets all over the world.

Interesting fabrics and textures, bold prints, and slouchy silhouettes were the hallmarks here. Knee-length skirts and sheath dresses in brightly colored leather, all-over geometric prints, separates, and the retro-inspired midriff baring tops that were all over the runways in New York all made an appearance.

Calvin Klein:

The collection that Francisco Costa presented may have been primarily black and white but it was a far cry from boring. And a far cry from the slinky pastel numbers favored by Hollywood starlets on the red carpet last season.

These looks were sleek, body conscious, and strikingly sexy with dramatic cuts and a variety of reach-out-and-touch-them fabrics and textures including lace, satin, mesh, and leather. No florals or pastels for the Calvin Klein girl this coming Spring, she’ll be breaking out killer heels and wowing everyone with her confidence and daring.

Ralph Lauren:

The Ralph Lauren show was a combination of make-believe and reality. There were costume-like pieces inspired by Spain and Latin America – fringe, matador jackets, and ponchos – and there were chic, wearable pieces that I’m sure we’ll be seeing soon on the red carpets and sidewalks of Hollywood.

I absolutely loved the flowing, ruffle-adorned maxi dresses and skirts in stripes and bright florals, as well as the vaguely Parisian looking prim A-line skirts paired with fitted jackets, and the double-breasted, oversized suits with dramatic shoulders.

Ole!

Thakoon:

If I had to pick a single word to describe the Spring 2013 collection presented by Thakoon it would be beautiful. The cuts & silhouettes were flattering, the fabric & textures were interesting, and the prints & details were nothing short of divine.

From pretty, colorful, whimsical prints for daytime outings to daring but still utterly chic lace, eyelet, and sheer fabrics for nighttime.

A collection like this one really illustrates the difference between a designer like Thakoon and one like Lee McQueen – While I’d call them both artists the wearability of a collection like this one is unparalleled. I wait with bated breathe for the McQueen shows and gasp at the artistry and showmanship, but I can picture every single piece of this collection in my wardrobe, not something most of us mere mortals can say about McQueen.

Diane Von Furstenberg:

Who knew being a techie could be so darn stylish? DVF went geek chic this season and sent her girls down the runway in brilliant colors, prints, and flowing caftans paired with the brand new Google Glasses.

Glasses aside this collection had a classic DVF feel – Great 70’s styles & prints, flowing silhouettes that would be right at home in Saint Tropez or Marrakech, and eye-catching accessories like oversized earrings, brightly colored sunglasses, and matchy-matchy handbags. The whole collection had a delicious retro vibe that made me nostalgic for the heyday of Miss Diane herself.

Victoria Beckham:

I always look forward to the Victoria Beckham show, I adore her personal style and that chic, timeless style always shows up in her collections. And while I love – and would die to own – all of her sexy, second skin sheath dresses, I was thrilled by the amount of separates and slightly less body conscious pieces that she sent down the runway for Spring.

Everything was still sleek and sexy, with little color or prints per her usual aesthetic, but somewhat more relatable for the non-Hollywood set. I especially liked the A-line skirts and high-necklines, and the black, white, and the brilliant orange color scheme suited the austerity of the designs.

Well done!

Tommy Hilfiger:

Stripes! Stripes! Stripes! But we’re not talking about your basic, boring stripes for Spring, these are chic, retro stripes adorning flowing suits, maxi dresses, and separates in red, white, and navy.

The devil was in the details of this collection – The drama of a double-breasted, oversized suit jacket, delicate chevron prints, bright piping on a two-toned blazer, contrasting denim on denim pockets, thick weave cable knit sweaters, gold rope detailing, and flowy silk shirt-dresses. You’ve got to admit, nothing says All-American quite like Tommy Hilfiger.

Jason Wu:

Jason Wu may be best know for dressing Michelle Obama, but when a runway show starts with Carolyn Murphy strutting her stuff in a black leather mini dress you know the collection is heading in a different direction than usual.

While the primarily black & white collection was filled with leather & lace, his red lipped models also wore some killer separates and pieces with exquisite tailoring. But even the prim looks amped up the sexiness with mesh, sheer panels, studs and animal prints.

Donna Karan:

City girl Donna Karan presented an unusually soft and sweet collection pulling inspiration from the ballet which gave the pieces ethereal undertones that were further emphasized by the pale color palette.

The soft, gauzy looking fabrics, flattering drapping, sweater-sets, and pastel satins were sugary sweet and picture perfect for good-girl actresses like Reese Witherspoon, Ashley Greene, or Nicole Kidman. Among the draping and flowing fabrics were two numbers that caught my eye though – A sharp white sheath dress with a matching cropped jacket and a sexy sheer panelled navy gown perfect for a siren like Rosie Huntington-Whiteley during her next red carpet appearance.

Zac Posen:

Calling all supermodels!

The Zac Posen show was the place to be when the audience was surprised by Naomi Campbell, Angela Lindvall, Karolina Kurkova, and Coco Rocha all hitting the catwalk in his gorgeous, retro-inspired designs.

The dresses were phenomenal – From floral fifties inspired day dresses with sweetheart necklines to second-skin suits with his trademark dramatic bodice cuts, to sleek gowns in satins, florals, and chiffons. I could picture the likes of Eva Mendes and Emma Stone wearing the chic, but prim daydresses, and I guarantee that the rest of these gowns will be all over the red carpets come awards season.

Marc Jacobs:

There’s a reason that no one could stop talking about the Marc Jacobs show – It was amazing. Fabulously retro and evocative of the stylish Warhol girls of the 60’s, without appearing costumy or over the top, the kind of clothes you can really picture yourself wearing.

Loads of stripes – from thick to thin & horizontal to vertical – interesting lengths, cute separates, matching handbags, low-heeled shoes, and chic outerwear. I loved the long jackets with the high collars, the tiny shifts that us non-supermodels would need to wear slim trousers under, and the adorable pointy toed kitten heels.

Michael Kors:

Another show that emphasized stripes and had a Mod feeling to it was Michael Kors, which was brightly colored, bold, and very sporty. While it may not have been innovative, this collection showed piece after piece of very wearable clothing – For both men and women.

Stripes, colorblocking, contrasting collars, flats, wide low-slung belts, matching suits, tank & shift dresses, and separates all made lovely appearances. I may not be able to live without the green tunic & matching shorts set, it’s one of my favorite looks so far from the NYFW collections.

The menswear was fabulous – Full of color, great silhouettes, and classics styles. The men also got the stripes treatment and he showed great suits, white boat shoes, separates in the form of slacks, shorts & sweaters, and killer outerwear.

Carolina Herrera:

This light airy collection was filled with pale hues – from peach and aqua to olive-green and daffodil yellow – All perfectly ready for Spring. There were shorts, midi length skirts, trench coats, maxi dresses, gowns, and some sweet separates.

As gorgeous as CH’s gowns always are, the separates and short coats were what really caught my eye. They were chic and well-tailored, but more approachable than her collections have been in the past. The wide strap heeled sandals worn by all came in every color imaginable and thin belts cinched all of the waists. And interestingly enough, not a piece of jewelry could be seen!

Oscar de la Renta:

What I love about ODLR is his consistency – Each show will inevitably cater to a handful of crowds, from high-powered businesswomen & ladies who lunch to the fashionable young things & “It” girls that compose the celebutant set.

The splashes of colors in this collection were shocking yellow, pink, and teal – An interesting choice that worked surprisingly well. The collection was vibrant and fun with lots of beautiful textures and fabrics, and a great separates that I can imagine a few fashionistas in. Personally I’d be first in line for the thin striped dress paired with the black & white plaid coat and the sequin encrusted retro tunic & slim cropped pants – Tres chic!

Jill Stuart:

I’m always excited for a collection that pulls from Kim Basinger’s Veronica Lake look-a-like character in LA Confidential as it’s inspiration – The old school, golden age of Hollywood was such an extravagant and glamorous period fashion-wise.

You could really see that in the boudoir-feeling of the silks and slinky satins, and in the sequins, lame, and metallic brocades. While this wasn’t a “real woman” collection, there were beautiful dresses, gowns, and a few separates that will cater perfectly to a certain set.

Alexander Wang:

Wow.

Cut outs, netting, mesh, beading, lucite, sheer fabrics, leather, and garments that glowed in the dark when the lights went down. Cool club kids of the world unite! The pieces were minimalist and simultaneously dramatic and eye-catching, a feat few designers can manage.

Architectural and structured, but still fun and irreverent, all of the looks were paired seamlessly with strappy sandal-boot hybrids in black, white, or clear lucite. Definitely not looks for the average woman to wear walking down the street, but something that the cool girls that love Wang dearly can wear for a night out on the town.

{Sources: Style.com, Fashionologie, The Sartorialist, & Tom & Lorenzo}

Previous NYFW Collections: New York Fashion Week Fall 2012, Pre-Fall 2012 Part I, Part II, Part III, and NYFW Spring 2012 Round-Up.

Additional reviews, photographs, shows, and videos: The Man Repeller – NYFW Day I, The Sartorialist – Boy by Band of Outsiders, Tom & Lorenzo’s Tadashi Shoji Spring 2013 Collection, Late Afternoon’s Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Diary, or check out IFB’s Spring 2013 Pinterest Board.

What’s your favorite collection that I’ve reviewed so far? If you could go to New York City for Fashion Week what would the number one show on your list to see in person be?

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Spring 2012 Trends: What You Should Wear

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 BazaarElle 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…

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:

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.

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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?

Art Opening

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.

Popping:

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.

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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?

Kate Spade Is Teaming Up With Poppy King Again

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Bright Blazers:

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.

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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.

Prints:

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.

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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.

Left: French Connection Dress - Space Baby Knits $170 @ Bloomingdale's & Right: ASOS Print Dress With Dipped Hem - $65 @ Asos.com

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.

White dresses:

Source & Source

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… 🙂

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In the mood for some more inspiration, check out the Native Fox’s white & red look on Lookbook.nu.

Shirtdresses:

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!

Left: Aqua Shirt Dress - $80, Center: DKNYC Leopard Print Shirt Dress - $120 & Right: Vince Camuto Shirt Dress - $160 (All Bloomingdale's)

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.

Cropped Pants:

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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.

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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.

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Desperate for more ideas for Spring? Check out the FabSugar readers’ Spring Must Haves or Gwyneth Paltrow’s GOOP newsletter’s Get Ready For Spring.

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!