What you’ll wear next year
New York Fashion Week dazzles with a variety of spring styles
NEW YORK - The color is yellow, from chiffon to mustard. Wait, maybe it’s purple. The prints are loud. Or the trend is minimalist, soft, and romantic? The cuts are billowy . . . or they’re form fitting. Designers are diverging - in some cases quite strikingly - when it comes to the Spring/Summer 2012 collections here at New York Fashion Week. But amid the peculiarities, a few trends are bubbling up:
Get sporty: On Tuesday, designer Vivienne Tam introduced a collection of yoga clothes, but other designers gave a nod to athleticism in a more subtle fashion. Victoria Beckham employed sheer panels on her frocks and showed roomy outerwear that was a stark contrast to her normally form-fitting ensembles. The bulk of Alexander Wang’s collection was an homage to sport, and he used mesh, cropped shirts, and athletic bottoms to drive home the point. (He didn’t desert those with a soft spot for peplum-adorned cargo jackets.) VPL designer Victoria Bartlett used fabrics like neoprene in her gym-gone-sexy looks.
The 1960s: It was not a case of life imitating “Mad Men,’’ but there have been subtle and frequent nods to the 1960s on the runway. Erin Fetherston’s collection was perhaps the most direct homage to the era. Her ultra-mini shift dresses were worn by models who were doppelgangers for Mia Farrow circa “Rosemary’s Baby.’’ Alice and Olivia’s collection was highlighted by early 1960s cocktail dresses, and there were modern interpretations of the 1960s found in the silhouettes of Derek Lam’s dresses. And just in case you missed the message, Diane von Furstenberg topped all of her models with fluffy cotton-candy bouffants.
Bring on the leather: It’s not a material often associated with spring and summer, but there it is on the runway - frequently. Leather could be found in both in subtle details, such as Prabal Gurung romantic visions, or in more overt ways, such as Lam’s all-leather dresses. It was also the material of choice for United Bamboo’s combination of linen and leather and Cushnie et Ochs Barbie-gone-bondage leather dress in bubblegum pink.
Black and white: It’s hard to find a collection that hasn’t featured black and white. Tracy Reese, who somehow managed to hit about every trend this season, showed a floral print jacquard dress that was ready for a sophisticated garden party. And that was just the tip of the icicle. Jason Wu’s (somewhat) edgy show hinted at the combo as well, as did Helmut Lang, whose asymmetrically cut jackets and cropped tops benefited from the boldness of black and white.
Prints and more prints: There was a moment during the Thakoon show when it felt as if Emilio Pucci had risen from the grave and was guiding the young designer’s hand. Thakoon’s prints were nothing less than a spectacular return to the early 1970s. Patterns have been almost unavoidable on this season’s runways, from Cynthia Rowley’s flashy florals to the rather bland offerings of Badgley Mischka. Lela Rose offered up another big print trend for Spring/Summer 2012 - the mismatched print. Watch out Diane von Furstenberg, princess of prints: these designers are encroaching on your territory.