>> Victoria Beckham continues to establish her sleek, structured aesthetic for Fall 2012. This season, the mostly body-conscious silhouettes were injected with sporty stripes and pert collars, as well as some militaristic details. It was a fierce take on ladylike dressing, completely stripped of frills. Color-wise, there was a lot of black and gray, which made the occasional burst of cobalt, red, olive, and teal quite a relief.
>> Though Monique Lhuillier injected an element of toughness into her Fall 2012 collection — leather, metallics, and sheer paneled cutouts — no Lhuillier collection would be complete without some utterly breathtaking gowns. And while there were plenty of lovely cocktail numbers printed in a dramatic molten-lava motif — and even some chic-looking pant options — it was the floor-grazing, decadent evening dresses that really stole the show.
Effortless was the message at Tibi's Fall 2012 collection, delivered through two major trends — minimalism and menswear. Cropped menswear suits, oversized wool coats, and structured crewneck tops over slouchy pants dominated the runway for a collection that was understated and utterly wearable. Even the palette was understated, with an emphasis on black and cream. There was no fussiness in this collection, and next season rest assured girls like Olivia Palermo will be wearing Tibi's can't-go-wrong separates.
>> "I just wanted to do things that women want to wear, to figure out how to make clothes that look rich but feel easy," Joseph Altuzarra said before his Fall 2012 show. Sounds simple enough, but there was a lot of depth here: the designer culled influences from Morocco, India, and the '60s-era Italian comic-book hero Corto Maltese — and it all melded together beautifully. Silk, jodhpur-shaped cargo pants — some lavishly printed — were tucked into slick, thigh-high boots and topped with Mongolian-fur vests; wrapped dresses and blouses were embroidered with dangling rows of coins; and — for those who prefer not to jingle — there were thickly knit intarsias patterned in Berber motifs.
The designer also injected a nice bit of structure into the mix, and so — for every tapestry print or bit of fringe — there was also a well-tailored naval coat, a strict-collared shirt, or a sharp black sheath. "It was really about mixing it," he explained.
>> For Fall 2012, Wes Gordon went for a "disheveled kind of elegance" — and he delivered. Silhouettes were dramatic with graduated hems and strong shoulders — and cut in an assortment of evening fabrics that ranged from velvet to brocade. There were billowing skirts in marigold silk, slouchy tanks in metallic mesh, and blouses in iridescent organza. But our favorite look? A smartly cropped jacket in lush forest green, complete with a matching, laser-cut peplum that tumbled out over a pair of silk, oxblood trousers. Also of note were the shoes: Manolo Blahnik for Wes Gordon peep-toes in shimmering silver chainmail.
>> Alexander Wang presented his Fall 2012 collection to a packed-in house at Pier 94. All the notables were in attendance: Carine Roitfeld, Grace Coddington, Bill Cunningham, Giovanna Battaglia, and Franca Sozzani — just to name a few. Also in the house were notables of a different kind: supermodels Natasha Poly, Karolina Kurkova, Shalom Harlow, Carmen Kass, and Gisele Bundchen — who all walked the show. "He asked me and I'm very happy that I was able to be here," Bundchen told WWD from backstage.
One would think that all this would make for a very exciting, very satisfying runway show. And, it did — at least for those in the audience who could see it. Among those who couldn't? Cathy Horyn. "Each model, along with her outfit, dissolved in the darkness," the New York Times critic said in reference to the poorly lit runway.
But what of the clothing? Well, there was lots of leather. Super-shiny and pitch-black, it appeared on boxy, military-tinged coats, front-slit skirts, and slouchy riding pants. There were also sharp-looking trousers, lacquered tweed jackets, and gauzy, fringe-draped knits. And, for those who love a good Wang boot, this season's were knee-high with buckle straps.
>> "If you took Mick Jagger in the '60s and made him a woman, these things are what he'd be wearing — with a bit of Marianne Faithfull, Bianca Jagger and Jane Birkin thrown into the mix," Rachel Zoe said of the inspiration for her Fall 2012 collection. And so, out came the velvet brocade blazers, thigh-high suede boots, sequined minidresses, and long pile fur coats. Also in the mix were a few new silhouettes: pleat-front trousers, below-the-knee pencil skirts, and some super-wide palazzo pants. A little something for everyone, perhaps? "It's just for a girl or woman that loves fashion, that kind of is not trendy, but she's on trend, a woman that wants to enjoy life," Zoe explained.
>> Watch the entire show — and get an up-close look at all the pieces — right here.
>> The leather harnesses that made an occasional appearance in the Hervé Léger Pre-Fall collection were out in full force for Fall 2012. They came in nearly every incarnation — brown, black, metallic, corset-like, or full-torso — and adorned nearly every look. They added an element of toughness to the line's ubiquitous bandage dresses, which, this season, came patterned in geometric panels, emblazoned with crystals, or spliced with intricate prints. Also adding toughness: strict leather vests, jet-black fur, and laser-cut fabrics.