FALL FASHION 101
BY: JENÉ LUCIANI
WAG FASHION COLUMNIST
Leaf peepers listen up! While the leaves are turning an array of gorgeous autumn colors, there should be a revolution of another kind happening - in your closets!! It’s time for fall’s new fashions and luckily this season it’s all about adding on to what you already have.
Whether you shop at Neimans, Bloomies or the local boutiques along Greenwich Avenue, chances are most of the trends you’ll see came from the runways of New York, Paris and Milan. There, you’ll find the seasonal wares of famed designers like Donna Karan, Michael Kors, Valentino and Oscar de la Renta. Designers find inspiration in many ways: from past eras, other cultures, people, and of course, nature.
This fall, it’s all about reminiscing, with fashion coming full circle featuring trends from times past. The New York runways played much like a history book, with nearly every decade making an appearance. This inspired designers to make what’s old, new again. Carolina Herrera tells Women’s Wear Daily her fall collection is inspired by the late Fifties in Europe. Jennifer Lopez’ Sweetface line has influences from that same era, but more Americanized with Rock n’ roll touches. Temperley London time travels back to the forties in old Hollywood glamour while Nanette Lepore, who launched her first shoe collection this fall, takes it back even further, to the Victorian Era and Edwardian England. But forget the corsets and crinoline. Flowing silks, cashmere, dolman sleeves and embroidery make these period pieces “now.” Design duo Badgley Mischka says it was inspired by “17th Century Flemish paintings,” according to Women’s Wear Daily. What does that mean for the consumer? Lots of intricate embroidery, plush fabrics and pleating – with a side of funkiness just to remind us all that we are in the 21st century after all. Even Euro-retailer H & M, which offers top trends at a discount, found unique inspiration: “This season, we look at ancient Scandinavian Peasant Romanticism or Catholic Drama, with contradictory chaste and sensual undertones,” says spokesperson Jennifer Uglialoro.
Locally based designer Nova Lorraine, recently launched her flagship store in Mt. Kisco. Her influences for her fall collection? “An autumn basket filled with traditional fall fruits on a bed of multicolored leaves,” says Lorraine. That means we’ll be seeing rich autumn colors, earth tones and jewel tones, like olive green, burgundy and chocolate brown – the new black. Purple also pops in fall’s palette, in plush fabrics fit for a princess, like velvet and brocade. Designer J.R. Morrissey, who has his flagship store for his line called Y? in Katonah, highlights a fall palette that’s almost good enough to eat: “Pumpkin, Cognac and Olive are important colors in our fall collection,” says Morrissey. According to the Pantone Color Institute, the top colors we’ll be seeing are an array of blues, grays, reds and purples.
Other common threads in all of the designer’s displays: Layers, leggings, fur, mix and match textures and prints and minimalist, menswear-inspired pieces with just the daintiest of feminine touches. So from the tents at Bryant Park to store shelves near you, here’s a rundown of the season’s hottest trends and how to incorporate them into your wardrobe.
Get a leg up on fall
Get ready to show some ankle. One word can sum up fall’s biggest trend: layers. The good news? You’ll be able to take those fabulous Diane Von Furstenberg wrap dresses you wore all summer and wear them right into December. Bad news? If you’re not a fan of tights and leggings (with visions of “Flashdance” dancing in our heads, this can be a scary thought for some) this major seasonal staple will have you heading for the hills. The bright side is you can leave the legwarmers back in the 1980’s-those thankfully have not returned. Try Lisli’s wool leggings or Donna Karan’s cashmere footless tights. According to Stephanie Solomon, Operating VP and Fashion Director of Women’s Ready-to-Wear at Bloomingdales in White Plains, “It’s really all about layering for fall. Your new uniform should be a sleek jersey wrap dress or sweater and mini-skirt worn over leggings with flats” she adds. Or forego the flats – leggings will even work with sandals and stilettos! Top off the look with a bolero jacket or sweater.
Another chic layering option: a sweater-coat worn over skinny pants or jeans with a great belt. Ken Downing, Senior Vice President and Fashion Director at Neiman Marcus in White Plains, says “a knit cardigan replaces the jacket for a very fresh way of dressing, especially when belted. Multiple pieces worn together create a look that is modern and individual.” Ellen Tracy makes great chunky knitwear pieces you can mix and match and wear with everything. The point is making sure the pieces you use to layer with are clean and minimal. According to Solomon, “it’s a season of toning down the looks we’ve seen in the past.” That means keep your ruffles contained to cuffs and collars – less is more. The feminine trend from spring has faded to make way for menswear inspired looks. Pairing a ruffled collar blouse with menswear style pants is a great marriage of the two trends.
When the mercury drops…
One thing’s for sure when you’re heading into October in the Northeast: the crisp, fall air quickly turns to bone-chilling cold and suddenly you’re wistfully wishing for the dog days of summer again. The important thing is to stay warm, but look chic while you’re doing it. Once again this year the fall runways were a fur-fest, with everything from Sable to Shearling, ON everything from jackets to handbags. Oscar de la Renta showed short shearling coats, sable-trimmings and olive colored Chinchilla! If you’re looking for luxury, a new fur has just been unveiled that’s even swankier than mink and chinchilla. Musi-Furs are now debuting their Swakara fur collection, also known as Persian Lamb, which is available at Neiman Marcus. Whether or not you wear fur is a personal choice – but there’s some great faux options available for those who choose not to.
Mix and Match
Want to get this season’s trends down to a “t?” Then think “texture”– and lots of it. Whether it is tweeds, corduroy or hounds tooth mixed with silks and velvets, or prints like argyle and stripes. Celebrity stylist Wayne Scot Lukas – who has worked with Halle Berry, Janet Jackson and Westchester resident Glenn Close - recommends “mixing textures you wouldn’t expect, like typical evening fabrics with daytime ones. For example, wear velvet with denim for day or cottons with silk for evening.” Speaking of prints, plaid is here in a huge way. Designers doted on scholarly looks but it’s not the schoolgirl-look Britney Spears once made popular. This year, catwalks were collegiate covered with Ivy League touches like tartan plaid/wool mini-dresses, cardigans, shirt-dresses and pencil skirts.
Give fall the boot on a budget!
Your ‘puppies’ will be grateful for the new silhouette in fall’s hottest boots: round toes! Thankfully those painful pointy toes of season’s past are making an exit. As always, The Wag is doing the bargain hunting for you and we’ve discovered a runway option that works for every budget. Payless ShoeSource – known for emulating designer looks and turning them into affordable footwear- made its debut on the catwalks of New York Fashion Week during the fall 2006 collection of designer Lela Rose. Now, the company is bringing designer looks to its stores. Who needs Manolo when Payless is unveiling its first ever designer collection this season called “Abaeté for Payless” footwear, with styles by famed designer Laura Poretsky featuring all the latest trends? For mere pocket change (at $20-$45 a pair), look for flats and pumps in leather and suede with embellishments like bows and buckles. Elsewhere at Payless, you’ll find staples like suede peep-toe pumps and wedges, stacked suede boots lined with faux fur and lace-up leather boots that meet the ankle or if you prefer riding-boot style at the knee! Remember those fabulous slouchy suede boots from Coach last year that retailed for about $500 a pop? They were sold-out for months and seen on the fashionable feet of Eva Longoria, Jessica Simpson and just about every other hot Hollywood celeb. Now, Payless has a great imitation that looks exactly like the real deal – no one will know you didn’t pay full-price!! But don’t wait too long – select styles are only available through the end of the month!
It’s in the bag
Bigger is better when it comes to bags!! This season’s “it” bag? Anything that’s big and red! Salvatore Ferragamo makes a great leather tote that’s perfect for work or play. Want the look without the designer price tag? Lukas says “Spiegel has a great copy of a Balenciaga [“Motorcycle”] bag that is huge!! I have it myself and use it for travel!” he adds. Besides big, think embellishments. Women’s Wear Daily reports that brass locks, chains, jewelry and exotic skins are all key elements in fall’s hottest handbag styles.
New York based handbag designer Judith Leiber is collaborating with Hollywood stylist Rachel Zoe for a collection available at Neiman Marcus in White Plains this month. Zoe – who has dressed everyone from Lindsay Lohan to Jessica Simpson and Nicole Richie- will incorporate all of those trends in her collection, “Rachel Zoe for Judith Leiber.” Bloomingdales in White Plains is about to offer even more options for couture carry-alls with the opening of a new floor dedicated to high-end handbags. Lindsay Fredricks, Public Relations Manager at Bloomingdales says they’ll now offer choices from Kooba, Salvatore Ferragamo, Longchamp and Dolce and Gabbana, to name a few. Fredericks says the collections will launch there in late October. You’ll be sure to find me, in line at the door!