>> Karen Walker's particular breed of Aussie quirk gets a kick of Victorian romance for Fall 2012. High-neck blouses, nipped-waist dresses, and ornate brocades all got play, as did Belle Epoque skirts and ruffle-cuffed sleeves. But don't go thinking Walker's changed her offbeat ways. There was also a hefty dose of '60s pop and even a little Captain Nemo worked into the fray. The former was found in oversized paisleys and super-vivid hues, the latter in Naval coats and Winklepicker shoes. Classic Karen Walker — through and through.
>> Ohne Titel's latest collection is black and white like you've never seen before. Trippy patterns — on jackets, skirts, and dresses — play tricks on the eyes for a bit of graphic illusion worth experiencing. Color was kept to a minimum, silhouettes were slim, and accessories came in the form of cowl scarves and quirky, equestrian hats. Standout looks included a black-and-blue colorblock pantsuit and a sheer-sleeved motorcycle jacket.
>> On a winding runway decorated with a Winter-white cutout set, Marc Jacobs presented his Fall 2012 collection. Dakota Fanning was in attendance, as was Kim Gordon, Brad Goreski, and Jared Leto.
Right out the gate — or rather, right down the Rachel Feinstein-designed steps — the looks were eclectic, vaguely Victorian, and dizzingly-rich with detail. Extra-large Edwardian hats — made in real fur by Steven Jones — topped each ensemble, and nearly every look was injected with some element of sparkle. There were shorn-fur overcoats woven with metallic threads, dresses in shimmering brocades, and square-toed shoes with crystallized buckles. The whole thing was very Willy Wonka-meets-Mad Hatter, or — on second thought — very Charles Dickens on glitter. A stirring rendition of "Who Will Buy?", from the musical Oliver!, even played on the speakers.
If you looked past the theatrics, there were still some lovely pieces here. Cropped pants in jacquard, brocade, and leather were particularly appealing, as were some chunky, crochet-like knits and a series of off-the-shoulder black patchwork dresses. However, coats were the biggest message of all. They came in nearly every possible fabric and colorway, with extra-wide necklines, giant buttons, and silhouettes that puffed out at the hips.
>> The prim and proper lady has gotten a major shot of whimsy for Fall 2012 thanks to Chris Benz. While super-femme details like oversized bows, sequins, and poufy skirts ruled, bright colors and playful hats helped to set a not-so-serious undertone. White and ivory got playful via pops of bright red, yellow, and green, while major layering lent a disheveled-chic vibe. Also in the mix, printed pants, knee-length skirts, cardigans, and some unique jackets.
>> Olivier Theyskens has hit his stride at Theory. For Fall 2012, the designer worked just the right bit of darkness into the label's signature streamlined silhouettes. Whisper-sheer, trumpet-shaped skirts floated ethereally beneath sharp-cut blazers; and slouchy, wide-legged trousers paired effortlessly with leather, brocade, and knit. But best of all were the designer's signature gowns, which looked understated — and totally stunning — in sparkling sheers, structured taffetas, and printed silks.
>> Phillip Lim employed the use of some cleverly-placed panels and a little optical trickery for Fall 2012. The designer said he was interested in "using positive and negative space to evoke neo-noir heroines" and to that end, there was plenty of cool duality to be found here. Crisply tailored separates were kept to a strict palette of neutrals and jeweltones, high-contrast textures were used throughout, and a fog machine on the runway gave it all a graphic-novel effect.
>> Donna Karan went back to the classics for Fall 2012, trotting out a strong collection of citified separates tinged with borrowed-from-the-boys appeal. Trousers, riding jackets, and suit coats were smartly tailored in a palette of pinstriped gray and black — with pops of ochre, red, blue, and plaid throughout. On day dresses and eveningwear, Karan worked in sculptural asymmetry and some lovely, embellished sheers. This was power dressing for the smart set, Donna Karan at her best.
>> Leather and sparkles were abundant at the Theyskens' Theory Fall 2012 show. Watch the entire collection video below.
>> Colorblocking and fashion's recent obsession with pink were in full effect at Rachel Roy's Fall 2012 show. The designer paired complementary hues — red and pink, cobalt with green — for a fresh and vibrant Fall 2012. Hemlines were ladylike, silhouettes were streamlined, and fabrics were super-rich. Knits, fur, tweed, angora, and leather lent a luxe undertone. Among the more surprising options were wide-leg, knee-length shorts in both knit and leather; just perfect for the girl who cares about trends but still wants to feel cozy.
>> Justin Thorton and Thea Bregazzi tapped some nostalgic references for Fall 2012: Beatrix Potter, botanical illustrations, and Victorian-era scrapbooks. It was a complete change of course from last season's pastel-hued, pixel-printed offering — and the result was nothing short of lovely. Straight skirts, shifts, and blouses were super-wearable in an antique-hued palette of ochre, ivory, and green. Flora-and-fauna prints were used throughout, while shots of black, vibrant orange, and blue kept the whole thing looking modern.