Spring 2011 Runway Report: Time to Change

 In Feature, Style

Fashion reverts to a more modest era this spring; Skirts are longer, pants are fuller, playful prints best “sexy” black and 70s fringe Outshines heavy metal as a top embellishment. Carol Brady would approve.


While minimalism proved a dominant runway trend for spring, it wasn’t one with legs—as, when it came to the vast array of introduced trousers, jumpsuits, and jeans, “go big or go home” seemed a theme among designers. John Galliano’s billowy bottoms for Dior looked inspired by Sailor Jack, especially with their paired Dixie-cup toppers; Marc Jacobs’ roomy, spangled flares at Louis Vuitton appeared drum majorette-perfect and it wouldn’t resonate as far-fetched to hear that Maison Martin Margiela’s equally wide-legged and wide-waisted pleated pants were motivated by “The Biggest Loser.”

Still, not all takes on the trend were so bold. Mulberry called to mind Annie Hall’s style by way of a wearable look that consisted of baggy denim and a long cravat worn in place of a traditional necktie, while Dsquared took to the iconic character’s tomboy look via blazers, easy vests and relaxed chinos aplenty. In addition, we saw loose-fitting jumpsuits at YSL, bell-bottoms at Blumarine, scrubs at Kenzo, silk PJs at Rochas, flowy skants (skirts affixed to pants) at Givenchy and a sea of shapeless white shafts at Céline. This season, when getting dressed, be sure to consider the surprising message delivered by an overwhelming number of fashion’s top designers (aka, those who wear the industry’s pants); skinny is out.

Despite the hype of the new midi-length (cut-to-the-calf, that is) style, it was an oldie that triumphed in terms of the season’s must-have dress: the maxi. Debuted by designers almost across the board, familiar ankle-skimming frocks and elongated caftans proved remarkable. Accordion pleats played into striking long gowns by Lanvin, Chloé and The Row—begging references to Halston numbers seen at Studio54—while equally retro slits-to-the-upper-thigh amped up the sex appeal of skirting at Stella McCartney, Haider Ackermann and Emilio Pucci, on which cutouts were trimmed with flouncy ruffles. Also tending feminine were Valentino’s Maria Grazia Chiuri and Pier Paolo Piccioli, who chose ribbon-like embellishments to decorate one bright, vintage-esque shirtdress befitting an “it” girl-gone-glam; Alexa Chung already donned the look on the Golden Globes’ red carpet.

Meanwhile, it was a slumber party on the runways of John Galliano, whose sheer maxis allowed for peekaboo lingerie; Alberta Ferretti, whose romantic chiffon slips would look at home in any luxe boudoir, and Dolce & Gabbana; the duo’s eyelet-ridden “nightgown” sun-dress can be shopped locally at Neiman Marcus. And then there were the minimalist takes. Calvin Klein’s (available in STL at Dillard’s) best showcased the realm—stark, white and sleeveless as they were—though Rick Owens’ could easily have been up for the honor, had the sexy-simple sheaths not been topped with quite-so-conceptual hooded vests. In short, go long this spring; with designers’ recent outpouring of maxis in styles suitable for most everyone, going to extreme lengths has never been so desirable.

While shy neutrals managed to establish themselves as power players for spring, most designers known for turning out elaborate or loud lineups refused to raise a white flag. Their most obvious form of stubbornness? Their overall pick of prints, which could have been shopped at fabric stores during the heydays of Thea Porter and Bill Gibb. Of course, designs by Missoni, found at Neiman Marcus, and Kenzo were parts of the groovy melange of circles, zigzags, trippy florals and blinding stripes that proved a top trend—but others’ buy-ins were slightly less expected. In addition to the print-heavy pieces at Etro, which had a retro, tribal feel that would have made them primo candidates for Cher’s closet during her TV era with Sonny, there were the playful florals seen at Moschino Cheap & Chic—which would have made sense on “That ’70s Show,” as typical transitional eye candy between scenes.

Tie-dyes ranged from ombre-look at Dries van Noten to black-and-white at Blumarine, while oversized watercolor blossoms painted the runway at Jil Sander. More blatantly of-the-era were Loewe’s butterflies; thankfully, The Grateful Dead Bear remained in hibernation. From head-fogging geo prints at Versace, to kaleidoscopic clothes at Valentin Yudashkin, to the 3D images that peppered John Paul Gaultier’s anarchists’ dream of a collection, all more-than-satisfied the fashion pack who comes to the show strictly for stimulation. However, be advised; working the style “the real way” can be confusing. Decidedly not the season to try your hand at the industry’s recurring idea of mixing prints, instead pair pieces displaying such nouveau textiles strictly with solids—for sufficiently statement-making ensembles some might even call “shagadelic.”

Depending on for which designers you’d be most willing to work for clothes, spring will either be the season you dabble in tassels or deem Fringe Fest 2011. Trimming the runways’ ’70s-flashback looks in incarnations ranging from string-like embellishments so fine they mimicked feathers, to substantial suede strips that looked straight from Hendrix’s Potawatomi jacket, fringe is a staple this season—and it works, regardless of how much you choose to shimmy.

Emilio Pucci’s Peter Dundas stood on the comparatively tame side of the spectrum, sticking primarily to leather-strip skirting on handbags, subtle whiskers on jackets and pants and mini-tassels on mini-dresses and scarves. Available at Nordstrom, Roberto Cavalli, made the trend a main idea—out?tting his hippies-on-the-prowl in waist-extending necklaces, tiered shoulder bags, crocheted gowns with added movement and faux bell-bottoms by way of pants with fringed ankles. Falling somewhere in the middle were Blumarine’s Anna Molinari, whose moccasin boots were standouts, and Ralph Lauren; the designer’s hide-like suede pieces (including wrap skirts, poncho-look jackets
and chaps-inspired pants) with inches-long fringe can be found this season at Saks Fifth Avenue. On the same level was Gucci’s Frida Giannini, who felt fringe looked equally perfect added to neutral suede, glam gold and fetishy black leather. All in all, the season’s choice extra made for added drama and, thankfully, eased the sentiment of some otherwise-severe looks; it’s hard to play a hippie if you don’t feel free.


1397_525.jpgWide-Legged Trousers & Bells: Rebecca Taylor Available at Valerie Mills, 314.727.4545.

1398_525.jpgFringe: Ralph Lauren available at Saks Fifth Avenue, 314.567.9200.

1399_525.jpgPsychedelic Prints & Tie-Dye: L.A.M.B available at Klutch, 636.220.6110.

1400_525.jpgFringe: Ralph Lauren available at Saks Fifth Avenue, 314.567.9200.


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