Fall 2010 Runway Report
ALIVEs fashion editor recounts what she saw runway-side at New York Fashion Weekand reveals where to get the seasons lust-worthy looks in STL, from the top shades and shapes to the surprising comeback aesthetic.
Capes & Ponchos
Novices to the seasonal study of designers’ collections likely came to the assumption that capes are as expected a trend on fall/winter runways as, say, boots and knitwear. Not so. Seemingly coincidentally sharing the new mindset that sleeves on outerwear is passé, designers surprised, debuting ponchos and cloaks in various fabrics, from fleece (at Band of Outsiders) and wool (at 3.1 Phillip Lim) to madras (at Chris Benz) and a ready-to-wear ode to rip-stop nylon [at G-Star (Sole & Blues), in keeping with the brand’s oft-military aesthetic].
When easy, the layer skewed “blanket,” as at Matthew Ames and Paris ’68; when structured, the look tended “straightjacket,” including L’Wren Scott’s and Rad Hourani’s questionably binding takes. In fur-topped swinging suede at Marc Jacobs (Neiman Marcus) and fur-anchored crushed velvet at Peter Som, there was no shortage of the shell that, for me, first called to mind the Victorian era Inverness coat Jack the Ripper is typically portrayed wearing. After seeing Cynthia Steffe’s toggled-and-tweed version, however (which was paired with over-the-knee socks and Mary Janes), I now associate the style more with schoolgirls and Little Red Riding Hood—both of which are much more pleasant than my original association.
How to Get the Look
Not as easy a throw-on piece as your usual puffer or anorak, a cape looks best when the basis of your outfit. Plan ahead! While the achieved look is always slightly formal, a skirt peeking out from beneath a cape is more youthful, while pants look sexy and more severe. Try both pairings with the aforementioned Cynthia Steffe style, available at Ivy Hill (Central West End, 314.367.7004).
Shorts & Wide-Legged Trousers
Although the lyrics to Katie Perry’s “Hot ‘N Cold” seem to suggest that women’s constant swapping of one style for another is the result of mere whims, such is not always the case. When considering FW10’s must-wear silhouette, a direct flip-flop of last year’s bold-shouldered shape, our behavior is easily explained; we’re up to date with our style.
The look is best described as “bottom-heavy,” and designers almost exclusively forfeited shorts and pants in favor of voluminous culottes and palazzos for fall (while dismissing shoulder pads across the board). As for the more skimpy of the two styles, hefty fabrics made up the cream of the crop; we saw pleated leather at Tibi (Saks Fifth Avenue), cuffed leather at Vanessa Bruno and a billowy plaid, velvet bloomer at Peter Jenssen that looked rugged next to a satin, ruffle-bibbed blouse. Then there were Phillip Lim’s bottoms; though shorts by definition, they were arguably a pair of suspenders away from “lederhosen.”
As for pants, the drama was in the width. At Ohne Titel and Richard Chai Love, spectators likely did double-takes to decipher whether the fluid statement pieces were pants, pajamas or floor-sweeping skirts. However, the trousers were slightly more textbook and drastically more tailored at Chloé, Zac Posen, Maison Martin Margiela and even Tommy Hilfiger (Macy’s), despite being cinched at the waist, paper bag style.
How to Get the Look
Available at Valerie Mills Fine Apparel (Clayton, 314.727.4545), Rebecca Taylor’s winter shorts are a fabulous means of easing into a style you may be hesitant to try. Pocketed and with pleats, they are roomy for sure—but not so oversized that they may appear outdated when actual “shorts weather” rolls around. Think of the time you’d save transitioning your seasonal wardrobes if more of your purchases were perennials…
Classic Camel & Gray
Although the season’s top backdrop doesn’t often share the spotlight, neither classic camel nor gray could rightly go without mention while on the topic of FW10’s neutral territory. Shown together nearly as often as apart, both shades were valuable in communicating the much-talked-about return to the prim and ladylike, hyped by such major players as Marc Jacobs, Louis Vuitton and Prada (Neiman Marcus). For instance, the look’s quintessential conservative (kneelength or longer) skirt suit was revealed in a butter-like leather on Miuccia’s runway and in a slate wool at Jacobs and Vuitton.
As for pairing the two, it was arguably Michael Kors who did it best (though Alexander Wang and Carolina Herrera deserve honorable mentions); in keeping with his signature “luxe Americana” vibe, such traditional styles as cowl-neck cashmere sweaters and crushed flannel trousers came in caramel and matte silver variations—and doubled as ideal, stunning landing gear for all things fur. Furthermore, Stella McCartney’s Twiggy-perfect, gray mod shift and MaxMara’s (Saks Fifth Avenue) belted camel overcoat were among the season’s standouts. In summary, if wearing an of-the-moment neutral has long equated to rotating your black and brown pieces in and out of your grab-and-go closet, now’s the time to update—unless your clothing and accessories have faded; in which case, you’re in luck.
How to Get the Look
True neutrals, both classic camel and gray can be worn with just about anything. For a fresh look, take cues from the Marni runway and pair a tan wool statement coat with rose-pink basics. Available at Saks Fifth Avenue (Plaza Frontenac, 314.567.9200), any of Akris’ new military-inspired toppers in light, creamy cognac would be a perfect, splurge-worthy pick.
Color Restraint & Streamlined Shapes
If less is truly more, FW10 is “the most” we’ve seen since the ’90s. Working from a palette of solid black, black and more black, it seemed many a designer was on a mission to prove that he or she could still do the classics. Revealing impeccably cut better than basics, there may as well have been a written agreement among designers to both abandon pointless frills and cut out anything that could possibly read as “for-shock-value-only.” The cocoon-shaped coats at Calvin Klein (Macy’s), the stark shifts at Céline and the fitted, menswear-inspired suits at Bottega Veneta and Jil Sander (where pinstripes were the only additive) would undoubtedly have fallen within the rules’ parameters.
While the season’s popular minimalist aesthetic wasn’t a far cry from what Calvin Klein and Jil Sander typically turn out, Dolce & Gabbana’s (Neiman Marcus) buy-in was pretty monumental; still heavy in lingerie references (it is Dolce & Gabbana, after all), the addition of pieces that were simple, sophisticated and so pristine they could only be the results of age-old tailoring practices wowed. Wide-lapelled tuxedo jackets, crisp blazers and plain pumps were shown, and made for a collection that, at times, called to mind Bridget Fonda’s wardrobe in “Single White Female.” Interesting, as the show’s finale had all who were cast in the show out on the runway in similar jackets and briefs. Sixty-nine identically dressed women in one room? When they’re all supermodels, it’s somehow less scary.
How to Get the Look
When it comes to perfecting autumn’s retro austere style, remember, most everything is too much. If the mere thought of extracting studs from accessories and scrubbing glitter off of garments is torturous, consider starting fresh; it would be hard to go wrong with a little black dress by Calvin Klein, available at Macy’s (Saint Louis Galleria, 314.726.1810).