Sparkle is a no-brainer at the holidays, but we’ll all shine on well into 2009 if the runways are any indication (click for slideshow). At Balenciaga, Nicolas Ghesquière showed off an iridescent ribbon dress that caught Cate Blanchett’s eye—she’s already worn it to the Sydney premiere of The Curious Case of Benjamin Button (left). Derek Lam and Chloé’s Hannah MacGibbon both turned out voluminous metal-treated pants, and a paneled Victoriana gown at Nina Ricci shimmered in the stage lights. Elsewhere, designers brought new meaning to that 2008 catchphrase, liquidity. At Karl Lagerfeld and Yves Saint Laurent, reflective gowns melted down the body. Here’s to a new year that’s shiny and bright. Click here for a gallery of metallic looks.
The current climate may have consumers reaching for the classic and unadorned, but a number of designers are making a case for fashion escapism come spring. September saw a flurry of marabou-trimmed frocks on the runways (click for slideshow). At his prehistoric-themed show, Christopher Kane played geometric leather skirts against fuzzy feather tunics. Francesco Scognamiglio and Koi Suwannagate both laid on the plumes for unique takes on the peplum waist. And for a grand evening—or a walk down the aisle—who wouldn’t dream of making an entrance in L’Wren Scott’s strapless siren gown with wispy train? Click here to see more Spring plumage.
Skin is in for Spring, but in unexpected, subtle ways. At Balenciaga, dresses were paired with Lurex gloves and shoe-covering tights; only a lone collarbone was left exposed. Meanwhile, the asymmetric evening gowns that have ruled the red carpet for seasons have been replaced by long columns with billowy chiffon sleeves cut to reveal just a flash of the upper arms. Do modest times call for modest dresses? Preen’s Justin Thornton thinks so. “I love how a shoulder can be sexy,” he said. “These outfits have a ‘look but don’t touch’ attitude.”
Click here for a slideshow.
Designers embraced their inner Cleopatras and Tutankhamens this season, offering fresh takes on Egyptian costume (click for slideshow). At Anna Sui, hieroglyphs provided the basis for elaborate prints, while Sophia Kokosalaki worked in a pharaoh-worthy palette of lapis lazuli and gold. Andrew Gn amped up tunic dresses with embroidered metal collars, and Sophie Buhai and Lisa Mayock of Vena Cava accessorized with slinky silver breastplates. “Fashion is about escape. It makes sense to fixate on a historical era that no one can get to,” says Mayock. “I think everyone just wants to dream right now.” We’re all for that, but it’s probably best to leave Orlando Pita’s “Nefertiti-chic” hairdos at Christian Dior to the ancients.
Balenciaga’s Fall 2007 collection signaled the return of the jacket—remember the shrunken schoolboy blazer that launched a thousand copies? Now the look has received a major makeover (click for slideshow). For spring it’s less Blair Waldorf, more Lloyd Dobler. (For those of you born in the nineties, that’s Say Anything‘s Lloyd Dobler.) Scott Sternberg included several roomy options in his womenswear collection Boy by Band of Outsiders. “Designers are finally acknowledging that menswear for women is less of a trend and really just a way that women feel like dressing sometimes,” he said. “The boyfriend blazer is very democratic; it looks good on anyone.” There were day-friendly looks punctuated with rolled or pushed-up sleeves at Ruffian, DKNY, and Rag & Bone, while evening jackets came embroidered with sequined panels at Dries Van Noten or with an allover metallic sheen at Maison Martin Margiela. Now, if we could just find someone willing to stand outside our window with a boom box.