“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.
There’s really never been a better time to be a model. Many will argue with me that the pinnacle of the profession was the glory days of Naomi, Christy, Linda, and Cindy. But they never had social media. In 2013, we witnessed the rise of a new class of supers who have since become household names. Cheeky Brit Cara Delevingne has amassed over 3.5 million followers on Instagram and is trailed by paparazzi everywhere she goes. Last week, Joan Smalls, Jourdan Dunn, and Chanel Iman became pop stars in their own right with the release of Beyoncé’s “Yoncé” music video, in which they dance like divas alongside Queen B. Hell, they’re even reclaiming the covers of fashion magazines.
This year, I was also thrilled to see a few of my favorite catwalk veterans make comebacks. Naomi herself had jaws on the floor when she opened and closed the Atelier Versace show—looking fiercer than ever—back in July. After a couple of years off the runways, Catherine McNeil walked in forty-two Fall shows (she’s kept the momentum going with a profusion of ad campaigns and editorials, in addition to an impressive Spring season), and Daria Werbowy had a cameo at Balenciaga. Who doesn’t love @dotwillow? As for the hottest newcomer? That prize goes to Edie Campbell, who was crowned Model of the Year earlier this month at the British Fashion Awards.
All of us love animals, but designers seem to have a special place in their hearts for little critters. They were virtually impossible to miss on the runways this year. If Givenchy’s Bambi was the most memorable, 2013 found plenty of other designers channeling their inner spirit animals: Miuccia Prada reasserted her love for cats at Miu Miu, with playful kitten coats that echoed her Spring ’10 collection. Diane von Furstenberg took us on safari. And Milan newcomer Stella Jean perched owls on top of her African “wax and stripes” prints. Most recently, Phillip Lim featured poodles for Pre-Fall. Animals came in like a wrecking ball off the runway, too. Who can forget Miley Cyrus at the American Music Awards in her high-cut catsuit?
Need proof that fashion has become increasingly seasonless? Look no further than the Spring runways. Despite the spring season, there was no shortage of statement-making furs. Miuccia Prada sent out vibrant intarsia furs printed with trompe l’oeil bras and female visages, while Fendi’s Karl Lagerfeld and Silvia Venturini Fendi whipped up shaved-mink toppers that weigh mere grams, as well as fuzzy ear cuffs, handbags, and playful “buggies” charms. Elsewhere, pelts were incorporated into accessories like Michael Kors’ twisted cashmere shrugs backed in sable, and Burberry Prorsum’s shaggy clutches. Showing fur alongside summery dresses makes sense, given these collections hit stores in February, but then you have a designer like Francisco Costa, who threw that reasoning out the window by whipping up a pale lilac shearling for his latest Calvin Klein Collection Pre-Fall outing. Even if it delivers in May, that coat was covetable enough to buy now and wear later.