Call it optimism or call it escapism, but Spring 2010 is the season of the ruffled party dress: usually short, often chiffon, and almost always nude (we refer to both the color and the prevalence of sheer fabrics). Marc Jacobs—who else?—kicked the trend into high gear with his parade of ballet nymphs in New York. The frill lasted all through London, Milan, and Paris, taking in along the way Christopher Kane, Fendi, and Jacobs’ former protégé Peter Copping at Nina Ricci. But toward the end of Paris, a counterinsurgency. At Celine, Phoebe Philo cleared the collective palate with a collection that she herself described as “a kind of contemporary minimalism.” Hannah MacGibbon was of a similar mind-set at Philo’s former stomping ground Chloé, and, thinking about it, the groundswell of “utility chic” could be traced back via Junya Watanabe‘s pantsuits to MaxMara‘s back-to-what-we-do-best styles to…well, didn’t Marc put those plain little raincoats over his ruffles? (And was it just coincidence that the patron saint of contemporary minimalism, Jil Sander, chose this moment to re-emerge with her +J line for Uniqlo?) So, suddenly, two camps: one that flirts with frivolousness but that also has the potential to create romance and desire, the other practical but possibly in danger of coming across as too plain. Click for a slideshow, then tell us, which side are you on, and perhaps more pertinently, which approach will make you open your wallet?
So elusive is the designer-turned-artist Helmut Lang that we recently overheard one party photographer ask him to identify himself for the camera. Paparazzi might have short memories, but fashion creators—especially the young guns on the scene—have the work of the Austrian-born master of minimalism indelibly seared on their brains. The likes of Rad Hourani, Mark Fast, and Alexander Wang were barely old enough to vote when Lang was at the helm of his house, but his urban, industrial aesthetic is proving to be timeless—and timely in tough times. Click for a slideshow, then tell us if you see the connections.
Designers produced plenty of surreal fashion for Fall—Dolce & Gabbana’s glove hat, anyone? The most wearable take on the wackiness trend just might be the split-personality dress, seen, for starters, at Aquilano.Rimondi, Josh Goot, and Versace. Depending on your vantage point, the woman in Alexandre Herchcovitch’s little number is dolled up in sequins, or playing it simple in a silk print. And remember last season’s mullet gowns? Moschino Cheap & Chic’s Rosella Jardini has given the concept a new spin with her business-on-one-side, party-on-the-other skirt. Click here for a slideshow, and let us know what you think of the season’s off-kilter look.
The news that director John Hughes had died brought to mind some of the indelible images from his films Sixteen Candles, Ferris Bueller’s Day Off, and (our all-time fave) The Breakfast Club. And that in turn made us nostalgic for our own 1980′s school days. A quick study of the Fall shows turned up plenty of schoolgirl classics. There were pinafores at United Bamboo and Luella, crisp oxford shirts at Burberry Prorsum and Giles, and trim blazers at Dsquared² and the Gap. And can’t you just see a Pretty in Pink-era Molly Ringwald vibing on the quirky hat-scarf-belt-boots-stripey top combo at Marc by Marc Jacobs? Click here for a slideshow and tell us which runway look you like best.
Having just tied the knot myself, I’ve still got canapés, floral arrangements, and, yes, dresses on the mind. I wore Fendi Spring ’09 to my ceremony and 3.1 Phillip Lim for dinner and dancing, but I couldn’t resist cataloging the inspiring creations from the recent Haute Couture and Resort collections. From Christian Lacroix‘s flight of fancy to Alexis Mabille‘s garden-party-ready lace frock, here are the looks that caught my eye and the kind of settings they’d work in, should I decide to pull a Gisele and Tom and throw another wedding. Tell us which dress you prefer and why, but please, don’t mention this to my husband.
Click for a slideshow of all my top wedding dress picks.