>> "I thought about the '30s and those glamorous Hollywood couples — the Clark Gables and Carole Lombards," Michael Kors explained of the inspiration for his Fall 2012 collection. To that end, there were shimmering deco dresses, slim cashgora suits, and an eye-popping array of coats piled high with fur. Kors also riffed on the idea of "rugged elegance," and so there were plenty of Winter-ready fabrics in the mix: buffalo checks, mohair, alpaca, and nubby tweeds. It was a luxurious, tactile offering — and quite a visual feast.
>> Fall 2012 had Narciso Rodriguez referencing some pretty varied inspiration: "Collaging, collecting, color, film stills, many artists, the film world," the designer listed after his show. For a less-disciplined type, this kind of vague assortment might run the risk of turning into a directionless jumble. Luckily, Rodriguez is nothing if not a minimalist, and so these pieces were bold, cohesive, and forward-thinking. The designer emphasized volume this season, working sculptural folds, architectural draping, and trapeze shapes into his signature silhouettes. Colorblocking — in a robust palette of green, tangerine, and red — was used to artful effect.
This season also marks the debut of Rodriguez's new accessory and shoe collection. In luxe leather, exotic skins, and enticing silhouettes, they were a gorgeous addition to an already-strong collection.
>> "I used a lot of colors you would not associate with Winter colors, but today's woman doesn't dress for seasons," Oscar de la Renta explained of the icy blues and pale pinks that populated his Fall 2012 collection. On full-skirted ballerina dresses, bouclé coats, and voluminous ball gowns, the pastel hues were everywhere — and a welcome reprieve from the plethora of "oxblood" on offer nearly everywhere else this week.
Other than pastels, de la Renta's main focus this season was embellishment — and it came in every shape, style, and form. Glittering stones were worked onto the sleeves of cashmere cardigans, fox fur dripped from the hems of pants, and shimmering lace adorned collars. Even the models' headbands, belts, and shoes were done up in an eye-popping assortment of jewels.
>> After last night's thought-provoking, Dickensian foray, it's only fair that today Marc Jacobs would give us something a bit more straightforward for his secondary line.
And he did. For Fall 2012, the designer focused on two of his more classic references — grunge and military — and worked them into laid-back schoolgirl silhouettes. Pleated skirts, velvet baby dolls, prim blouses, and jumpsuits were done in checks, plaids, and bronze lamé. For a hint of quirk, there were cat-eyed glasses, combat boots, and drum-major hats to finish each look.
>> Fall 2012 marks J.Crew's second season on the New York calendar — but the buzz surrounding the brand's Fashion Week presentation is already on par with that of some of the city's highest-end designers. This morning's Lincoln Center presentation was not only elbows-in packed, it was also attended by some of the industry's most-loved tastemakers. In the space of just a few minutes, we spotted Anna Dello Russo, Giovanna Battaglia, Joe Zee, and Derek Blasberg all making the rounds.
The fashion cred is well-deserved, especially this season. Newly-appointed head of women's design Tom Mora has delved deep into the J.Crew archives and come back with some refreshing — and modern — takes on the classics. There were pencil skirts in high-gloss satin and python, crew necks in bold intarsia knits, and cropped trousers in patterned jacquard. A lovely botanical print added charm to silk pants and tops, while a tonal, colorblocked coat is sure to be a hit.
As if that weren't enough, the brand has also collaborated with Manolo Blahnik on a series of BB pumps. The shoes will be sold online in several J.Crew-exclusive colors and patterns this Fall.
>> It wouldn't be Diesel Black Gold without a bit of attitude. If you're looking for ladylike, you won't find it here. What you will find are plenty of baggy, menswear-inspired silhouettes, lots of leather, a dark palette, and some very eclectic layering. Sporty drawstring shorts looked especially chic, as did some very appealing boyfriend pants in leather. Aside from a few maroon and leopard-print pieces, the collection was edgy, moody — and ready to take on the world.
>> Vera Wang's Fall 2012 collection was an ode to gray and an exercise in contrast. Whisper-weight sheers — Wang's fabric of choice since last Spring — were a focal point again this season, but this time around they were tempered with architectural pieces in wool and bouclé. There were also bursts of orange to juxtapose murky hues and superlong layers to soften sculptural, boxy shapes.
It was an intriguing assortment, but aside from some really dynamite outerwear, there was little here that could live in the real world. Nevertheless, we all know Wang is capable of making clothing that women adore — she's spent the better part of two decades proving it — so if she wants to flex an experimental muscle once in a while, so be it.
>> With a front row that boasted some of the best fashion week sightings yet, the Fall 2012 Rodarte show was off to a pretty stellar start right out the gate. After all, its not every day that one sees George Lucas at a fashion show. Not to mention Natalie Portman. In fact, this front row was so heavy with star power that it prompted some to wonder, "Is the Rodarte show the new Oscars pre-show?"
Well, not quite — but it was far and away the Mulleavys' most controlled and accessible offering to date. The sisters found inspiration in Australia, culling influences from that country's colonial era, the Outback — and nearly everything else in between. The result was imaginative, transporting — and utterly wearable. There were super-structured coats; cropped cable-knit sweaters; slouchy dungarees; and a boatload of very appealing frocks. Fabrics ran the gamut from leather to chiffon, and some stunning Aboriginal-inspired prints were used throughout.
And — in case you were wondering — there were also plenty of dreamy gowns just right for the A-listers up front.