Ladies, take it from us: Nothing kills a fashion week buzz quite like wiping out in front of a pack of street-style photographers in a pair of teetering stilettos. The glacial weather we’ve been enduring here in New York calls for practical footwear, but the trusty pair of Sorels you’ve been slushing around in all winter are all but guaranteed to earn you some disapproving looks from your boss. If only we could shop designers’ new Pre-Fall collections now. The Louis Vuitton and Fendi lineups both included furry moon boots, while Balenciaga’s sculptural looks were shown with practical yet polished pony-hair lace-up moccasins. Think of them as a luxe evolution of mukluks. And speaking of evolution, we also have our eyes trained on Chitose Abe’s fuzzy sneaker hybrid for Sacai Luck.
Call it the Yayoi Kusama effect. George Clooney spotlighted an emerging trend when he turned up on the cover of W‘s Art Issue in a polka-dotted Giorgio Armani suit customized by the famed artist. (Her recent exhibition at David Zwirner’s gallery, I Who Have Arrived in Heaven, drew long lines.) We saw similar spots on Spring runways including Burberry Prorsum, Emanuel Ungaro, and Sportmax. Playful polka dots are popping up at this week’s Haute Couture shows, too. Raf Simons’ latest lineup for Dior featured intricate eyelets and cutwork details, while Marco Zanini put his own quirky spin on the quintessential spots at Schiaparelli. Cartoonish circles have also been popular in the new Pre-Fall collections, with designers like Stella McCartney and Lanvin’s Alber Elbaz making their respective points on cocktail attire and matching accessories.
Emma Watson set the Internet abuzz on Sunday night when she turned up at the Golden Globes in a backless red apron dress with cropped black cigarette pants from Raf Simons’ most recent Dior Haute Couture collection. Lovers and haters alike took to Twitter to comment. The Bling Ring actress, for her part, said, “It felt original. It felt a bit different.” We couldn’t agree more. In our book, Watson’s age-appropriate outfit raised the sartorial bar for awards season attire. In any case, it sure beat another predictable gown.
Coincidentally or not, the dress-over-pants look had a particularly strong showing at the recent Pre-Fall collections. Slips were paired with cropped trousers at both 3.1 Phillip Lim and Elizabeth and James. And we noticed similar takes on layering at Acne Studios and J Brand, only their pants were closer to leggings, cut from a scuba-like satin and leather, respectively.
“Polar Vortex” was the phrase on everyone’s blistered lips this week during a bitter cold spell that sent most of the U.S. into a deep freeze. As we learned firsthand while trudging to and from appointments on the city’s icy sidewalks, even the most thermodynamic winter coat (plus a hat and gloves) wasn’t enough for bone-chilling temperatures like these. Did designers divine this subzero weather? The new Pre-Fall collections offer plenty of fresh ideas for bundling up in style. Blanket dressing, in particular, has emerged as one of the season’s most welcome trends. Labels including Acne Studios, Chloé, Vionnet, and Chanel featured soft wraps made for swaddling. For the finale at his Burberry Prorsum menswear show in London yesterday, Christopher Bailey draped heritage plaid blankets over each model’s left shoulder. Geraldo da Conceicao at Sonia Rykiel, meanwhile, struck a similar cozy note with piled-on sweaters draped around the neck like stoles.
Pantone may have named Radiant Orchid—a dusty magenta—its color of the year for 2014, but judging from the latest Pre-Fall lineups, designers beg to differ. The hue that’s cropped up time and time again is orange, from true, juicy shades to red-tinged bricks and rusts. Pastel outerwear was all the rage in 2013, but now Narciso Rodriguez, Joseph Altuzarra, and Gucci’s Frida Giannini have pumped things up with tailored coats in spicy shades. Proenza Schouler added fire to the tonal trend with wrap dresses and separates done in paprika-colored buttery suede. Bottega Veneta’s Tomas Maier did his part, too, showing a cozy Creamsicle sweater and complementary tangerine trousers (and on It redhead Magdalena Jasek, no less). Will menswear designers take up the torch for Fall ’14? Tune in this January to find out.