Tuesday, November 22, 2011

The Leftovers: New York Fashion Week SS12

Fall has been composed of ups and downs. 70 degree temperatures followed by snow showers followed by cold, rainy downpours. When it was perfect out, those mid to high 50s days with the light streaming through the colorful leaves at just the right angle, you remembered why you lived here in New England. But on those other days, the time warp days when everything felt out of place, you tended to wish for something else.

It was in all of this tumult that I finally found the time and space, both literal and mental, to write about the Spring/Summer 2012 collections. Almost two months removed from the last of the Paris shows, I collected my bookmarks and my thoughts and tried to distill them into something coherent.

For New York, that task was simple. After only a handful of shows, the tone of the New York season was set. This would be a season of neons and sherberts. Of a sporting life. Of flowers, flowers, and more flowers. Of peplums. Of the shortest of shorts. Of the enduring power of colorblocking. As always, the creativity emerged when designers took note of those pervasive trends without being swept away by them.

I doubt that we’ll ever be done with colorblocking. The trend has been around for a fashion eternity. So long in fact that I feel uncomfortable continuing to call it a trend. It is simply a way of life.

At Jenni Kayne


At Mandy Coon

At Ruffian

At J. Mendel

But New York’s overarching color story was an eye searing one, full of blazing pinks and shocking blues. Some played with those electric shades in unexpected ways, rendering them in fabrics that draped and flowed and dampened the hard edge that can accompany such colors. Others toned the hues down the slightest bit, stepping back from the cliff and finding a home somewhere between pastel and neon.

At Cushie et Ochs

At Vena Cava

At Costello Tagliapietra

At Kevork Kiledjian

At Doo.Ri

At Wes Gordon

At Milly

Starting with such an audacious foundation can often give designers a chance to pull back in other areas. This season that pulling back often had a hint of le sportif to it and could be found in all types of ways from clean, strong silhouettes in non-traditional fabrics to more on the nose references.

At Kevork Kiledjian

At Reed Krakoff

At Victoria Beckham


At Alexander Wang

Florals and I have a long, torturous history that has already been documented here, so it was with some hesitancy that I approached the abundance of blooms making their way down various runways and standing nonchalantly in a multitude of presentations. But that breadth fostered a great amount of depth and flowers appeared in every form from the classic to the acid-fueled.

At Oscar de la Renta


At Richard Chai Love

At Altuzarra

At Tracy Reese

At Peter Som

At Julian Louie

At Cynthia Rowley

At Vera Wang

Alongside the florals lived the peplums. But unlike the flowers, the feeling of unease that welled up whenever I saw one did not subside as the week progressed. I find them to be unflattering on almost everyone. Silly and unnecessary. But even with those feelings, there were some that made me pause for a moment.

At Vera Wang

At Marchesa

At A Détacher

At Marc by Marc Jacobs

At Jason Wu

Shorts that barely warranted the name popped up in nearly every collection as well. Feminine and paired with bows and flowers. Laid back and complemented by the stripes that I love so much.  They revealed that I and this New England fall have a lot in common. Here again was an item that only complemented a rarefied few, yet I could not get enough.

At A.L.C.

At Steven Alan

At United Bamboo

At Proenza Schouler

At Jason Wu

And when the shows moved on from New York, I waited for them to appear in London, Milan, and Paris.

Photos via

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