Vests. Who needs them? On men, they can look old-fashioned and stuffy. On hipster girls, who tend to wear them with vintage T-shirts and fedoras, they’ve always struck us as a studied affectation. But this season, designers have us rethinking our stance. Newly relevant with tweaked proportions, fall’s elongated vests are more like sleeveless coats to wear layered over sweaters when it’s cold, and then bare-armed long into spring. Dior’s Raf Simons showed a vibrant, ultraviolet style that energized the Dior runway, and we also spotted long vests at Céline, Givenchy, and Victoria Beckham, where they functioned as unexpected, casual alternatives to standard tuxedo jackets and blazers. One thing’s for sure: We won’t be skimping on our chaturanga push-ups in yoga class.
The long and bitter winter we’ve endured has brought out the inner survivalist in we editors at Style.com. And based on the influx of updated utilitarian gear we noticed on the Fall ’14 runways, the extreme conditions got designers thinking more practically, too. Alexander Wang made references to hunting, mountain climbing, and other outdoor sports with his new collection, which featured functional pockets of all sorts. His Brooklyn Navy Yard show was a parade of cargo pants, suede workwear jackets, canteen bags, and efficient shifts featuring individual compartments for Moleskine notebooks, smartphones, lipsticks, and lighters—everything his downtown customer needs to pound the pavement in style. Olivier Rousteing, meanwhile, transported us to a different kind of jungle (one stalked by Amazonian supermodels, no less) with his glam safari-inspired wares at Balmain. Surplus details also turned up at Rag & Bone, Isabel Marant, Acne Studios, and 3.1 Phillip Lim. Elsewhere, Tommy Hilfiger put his own all-American spin on the industrial trend by whipping up a series of raw denim pieces and “Marlboro Man” coats that suggested, as he told Style.com, the “real heartland America.”
These fashion-forward riffs on blue-collar uniforms will appeal to girls who’ve been rocking Carhartt jackets lately. At the very least, the spacious pockets will give us reason to forgo a purse. We’ll be ready to drop everything and run when the zombie apocalypse (or the next Polar Vortex) strikes.
To infinity and beyond! The new Fall collections found designers thinking intergalactically. Who could’ve guessed that we’d see Star Wars motifs at not one, but two shows? Rodarte’s Laura and Kate Mulleavy revisited their favorite childhood films with a buzzy finale of gowns featuring familiar characters like Luke Skywalker, C-3PO, and even Yoda. Just five days later, Preen by Thornton Bregazzi crossed over to the dark side with Darth Vader-printed looks and an entourage of stormtroopers who mingled with the models backstage. Others weren’t quite so literal with their outer space references. At Fendi, Karl Lagerfeld sent out a series of sheared fur coats and floaty silk velvet maxi dresses that resembled celestial charts. Elsewhere, Coach’s Stuart Vevers whipped up an Apollo sweater that echoed the one worn by Danny Torrance in The Shining. And Albert Kriemler, working closely with the German photographer Thomas Ruff, incorporated up close surface shots of Mars into several looks at Akris. Meanwhile, our award for the cleverest take on the cosmic trend goes to Undercover’s Jun Takahashi, who printed tiny UFOs on the borders of his Delft-china-patterned pieces.
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.