By Morgan Turner
It’s that time again. Although spring hasn’t arrived yet, designers worldwide are already showing collections for Autumn/Winter 2012. As usual, the affair will involve models, designers, and editors in the industry flying from New York to London to Milan and, finally, to Paris in March. While the London shows are currently in progress, American designers presented their collections in New York City just days ago during the weeklong event now known as Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week.
This fall, it seems we can expect to see a lot of the cold-weather trends we’re used to seeing— a dark, rich, moody color palette with lots of berry and wine hues as well as olive and midnight blue, with leather, velvet, and fur textures. Expect to see more animal prints and metallics (as they never truly go out of style), as well as sheer paneling, peplum, and high collar silhouettes. While these trends aren’t new, designers seem to be carrying them over from last autumn.
Corey Lynn Calter, one of my favorite Los Angeles-based designers (although she grew up right here in Philadelphia), brought a whole lot of color to fashion week in New York. Electing livelier color palette than most other designers, Calter featured hot hues like rust, fuchsia, cerulean, and emerald green in her collection of girlish silhouettes. Color-blocking in bright colors is something typically seen in Marc by Marc Jacobs’ spring collections, but this may be the brightest winter collection I’ve seen—certainly, it was the brightest presented in New York last week. Quirky prints and Peter Pan collars styled together sort of made me feel like I was in an episode of Gossip Girl from the high school days, but of course I was super jealous of all their clothes anyway. Overall, I think this is a very wearable, fun collection that is sure to lighten one’s spirits in the depths of winter.
Fashion hipsters, get on it—Gant by Michael Bastian is everything right now. Good news for you, guys, I am finally covering menswear. And if you know anything at all about menswear, you know that Michael Bastian is king. This collection channels his memories of college in Boston during the 80s, which explains why the models are absolutely oozing untouchable coolness. Gant by Michael Bastian Fall 2012 features a significant amount of cool knits and wool blazers—some of which are patterned after the mod revival that was happening in the 80s. There’s even a play on the 80s piano key necktie—a piano key scarf. If you can’t find something you like in this collection, there is pretty much no hope for you. At first, the whole thing looked so preppy to me it made my ears ring, but my delicate West Coast sensibilities were calmed by the idea of the collection’s inspiration. I can do retro. The key here, as with any collection, is to find pieces you like and mix them into your existing wardrobe.
Finally, the Marc by Marc Jacobs show was probably one of the most toned-down, sophisticated collections I’ve seen from the brand. The Marc by Marc aesthetic is always urban and fun, but this time around there was also a touch of elegance. The show was all clean lines and uptown-meets-downtown cool, featuring some great silk prints in jewel tones and structured, textured outerwear. An abundance of tweeds and plaids in earth tones accented with gleaming, polished leather helped to ground the collection’s more eccentric flavors, like a checkered velvet coatdress and several graphic knits. A myriad of short, flat boots—ranging from combat boots to Chelsea boots—helped to solidify an upscale punk aesthetic.
Menswear on the runway similarly married sophistication with urban chic, with several models sporting looks like plaid suits over checkered shirts or, as on one of the finale models, a belted gold lame trench coat over two different plaids—burgundy on top with a navy plaid trouser.
Of course, the best part about the brands and designers featured here is that they possibly might fit into your meager college student’s wardrobe budget! We’ll leave the completely unattainable stuff to the Parisians. However, if you’d like to get your rocks off on some ultra luxe fashion porn, I suggest you check out Donna Karan, who did an amazing film noir kind of collection, Christian Siriano, who killed it as usual with to-die-for silhouettes, Zac Posen, for whom I live, Marc Jacobs, who is admittedly completely cray but is still a total genius, and Altuzarra, who did an amazing collection of sportswear with exotic Moroccan and Indian influences.