Not to sound uncannily like an Irish mammy (though I inevitably will), but where does the week go? The preliminary offerings of what can be expected, clothes-wise, in six months time came, were observed in the utmost of awe, and concluded in what seemed like a, cliched blink of an eye - paving the way for London to recommence this Friday.
Already I've noticed (as has anyone who is not immune to repetition) an ample supply of recurring trends cropping up amongst the variety of shows and exhibitions, giving us a hint as to what will be en vogue when the pastels and tropical printed garments of the current season have run their course. Many of these have been recycled from the previous winter seasons, meaning you certainly do not have to dispose of the entirety of your wardrobe's content in favour of clothing so brand-spankin' new that it still gives off a faint waft of the cashier who sold it to you.
On a more serious note, I hope nobody actually does do this.
Fusions of clashing textures (seen at Alexander Wang, DKNY, Derek Lam) will resume where they left off last Fall/Winter. Think leathers and knits, fur (faux, of course) and mock croc skin and hopefully you have grasped the pattern forming here as I fear sounding like a broken record (another classic Irish mammy expression). Earthy military shades, power-colour combos and jewel tones subjugated the week representing the harsher, bolder colour spectrum of winter, alongside hints of party season glitz and glitter. Cranberry and wine hues were the unofficial stars of the runway and will, undoubtedly, be big news, seen everywhere from Diane von Furstenburg to Tommy Hilfiger and back. Other dominant players included oriental floral patterns (Jason Wu, Derek Lam, Proenza Schouler) and boyish coats with leather accents, granting my woolen boyfriend Topshop coat (which shall eventually see the light of a What I Wear-esque post) with PU collar and detailing another year of constant wear.
Let the games begin!
Tibi's perfect merge of "boy meets girl" had me swooning from the first boxy-silhouetted jacket. Ultimately, the collection embodied those maladroit preteen "tomboy" years where you are immune to eyebrow tweezers and dress as awkwardly as you are around boys but in a slightly more high fashion way. Layering of textures were present; chunky knits over PVC midi skirts, leather over silk and boyish tweeds added edge to a femine blouse. Sloppy ponytails, modest shapes and that darling birdy pattern (yet another sighed swoon from me when I first clasped my eyesight onto the print) help to highlight the girl hidden beneath the blazer she stole from her older brother.
The inspiration for this particular collection was the English countryside and that comes across quite patently. But we get so much more than that from the multiple aspects of this show and it seems the basis for the collection is, in fact, a minute concept. The sumptuous textures,the pillarbox pouts, the fedoras tipped just so on the coiffed-haired models - not to mention those opulent velvet nails, conjure up a wealthy, independent 1940's woman retiring for the weekend in her lavish manor in the English countryside. The woman's suit is a staple feature in this collection as are bold, strong, powerful colours to match the attitudes and personas of the women who wear them. Plush materials like velvet and tweed give off an "Only the best will do" aura. Modern assest such as leather-detailed jackets add a touch of modernity and originality to the retro vibes.
What I adore about Victoria's collection was it's wearability factor of the clothing. It hosted an abundance of flattering shapes, pencil skirted dresses, skater skirted dresses and black outlines in just the right places to either draw from, or accentuate certain areas. The colours used were a far cry from the softer, frothier, girlier tones of this season with harsh, bold hues from dark forest greens and military neutrals to traffic-stopping bursts of red and cobalt blue. Accessories were minimal (a few belts here and there, and chunky knitted socks perfect for keeping your tootsies warm on a brutal winter's eve) as the addition of a bright red lip said enough. I loved the black collars adjoined to the majority of the dresses and felt they contrasted in a wonderful, almost cartoony, way.
It also came as a surprise that Victoria, the reigning queen of shoes of towering heights, opted for flats, in the form of boots - a lovely incentive for those of us with a fear of heights.
From my heavily active Tumblr trackings of NYFW, it became very clear that the above collection was a clear-cut favourite for many. Instagram shots of not the most adequate quality surfaced instantaneously of an array of ladylike fabrics and floral patterns, peppered with tokens of cranberry red leather. Garment lengths ranged from just above the knee to billowing skirts trailing across the floor. Florals were given an oriental twist and the mismatch of layering textures found it's place once again. My favourite look was the thick sweater paired with a floor-sweeping sheer black maxi dress; toned down elegance. Silk items were given a sporty edge with leather sleeve cuffs or transformed into a zip up jacket.
The inner-goth in me squealed in delight at DKNY'S F/W collection. Dark hues (including that cranberry colour) dominated the collection as did the amalgamation of varying textures. Coat sleeves contrasted in texture with the coat itself, knitted sweaters were paired with PVC corresponding Tibi. Chunky belts cinched in waists and it looks like the return of the puffy parka jacket. I liked the minimalistic approach taken at DKNY. Prints were sparse, a couple of monochromatic leopard prints were woven through the collection. The dresses were divine, ranging from long-sleeved maxi dresses to above-the-knee dresses with sheer decolletage and sleeves - all flowing effortlessly and seamlessly across the figures of the models.
Aside from their similar colour schemes, Lela Rose's F/W collection and L.A.M.B.'s collection both reminded me of Clueless - just look at those tartan prints and corresponding socks. L.A.M.B. payed homage to the Swingin' Sixties with subtle references to Mod culture, with prim bee-hived hairdos and monochromatic eye makeup and clothing. Houndstooth check and tartan patterns were as attention-grabbing as the colours that represented them.
Marc Jacob's main line whisked us away from the dark blacks and leathers and thrust us into his colourful, fashionable fantasy inspired by an unlikely candidate, Charles Dickens. As a rookie Dickens enthusiast (currently ploughing through my fifth consecutive attempt at delving into David Copperfield) I instantly recognised the accompanying soundtrack of "Who Will Buy This Wonderful Morning" from Oliver Twist. The celebration of Dickens' 200th year anniversary since his birth takes place this year and Marc has combined both eccentricity and sophistication in order to pay tribute to the literary genius, through the use of luxurious fabrics and materials, outlandish headgear down to the paisley-adorned pinafores. Jacobs referred to his collection as "Oliver Twist-ed!".
"My team and I just started having so much fun, and kind of got carried away as we played with these new silhouettes and started mixing things up in eccentric but modern ways".
Oliver Twist-ed is right, down to those very 19th century, crystal-buckled boots and the theatrical, sloping story book backdrop.
Please, Mr.Jacobs sir, can we have some more?
Oddly enough, I didn't consciously make the decision to conclude this post with the more theatrical, fun collections but it seems things have panned out that way and it's best not to meddle with these naturally formed patterns. Best to end on a bang, eh? Despite not being the most, ahem, wearable of the F/W '12 collections, Jeremy Scott's concept and inspiration behind it all was certainly accessible, especially for today's teenagers who grew up in the 1990's. Scott said he drew his inspiration from "The computer and the way information is disseminated today. The way ideas are proliferating on the internet. How we use icons to show our emotions". This was evident as a transparent rain mac emblazoned with cursors and jumpers displaying all the classic emoticons most would remember from the days of the proboard sites and forums, leaving the nostalgic aftertaste of the hassle of dial-up connections.
The borderline tackiness exclusive to the 90's saw a comeback thanks to Scott's collection (bindis and facial stickers, jumpsuits in an blinding variegation of colour and cyberpunk hair and makeup reminiscent of Joey Tribbiani's Ichiban - Lipstick for Men commercial) like a nod to Gwen Stefani's No Doubt days. The ultimate 90's mascot and most notorious trouble-making 10 year old since Dennis the Menace, Bart Simpson, made his catwalk debut. Jeremy Scott did the Bartman, proudly plastering it across sweaters and making Bart the print du jour.
"I feel madly in love with Bart", Jeremy explained post show, "And I'm not even the diehard every-episode fan. It's just such a part of pop culture. Bart is a nineties teen icon".
Don't have a cow, man.
As I usually prefer the shows closer to home, New York has really set the bar and my excitement for London's take on F/W '12 ceases to rest. I made sure to schedule in advance the shows I'm interested in to avoid the mistake I made of trying to cover EVERY show at NYFW. A bit of trial and error never hurt anyone, right?
What were your NYFW highlights and who are you looking forward to at LFW?