Is it just me, or are the Pre-Fall collections particularly awesome this year? It feels like we're coming out of a period of seriously somber and heading towards an Argentinean tango party with nomadic influences. It sounds absolutely ridiculous but it's happening, I swear.
Carolina Herrera, Carolina Herrera, Oscar de la Renta: I'm not generally a big Carolina Herrera or Oscar de la Renta fan. I mean, they usually have one or two gowns that make me drool, but overall I generally find them both a little prim and stodgy. This year, however, they both seemed inspired by a '50s era Cuba or again, the Argentine tango. If that's any indication of where Fall 2010 is going, I want to go with them. This Carolina Herrera cocktail dress is like a grown-up, streamlined take on Marchesa's draped Grecian gowns. The color palette is very Caroline Herrera, with the bordeaux red and flash of brightness at the waist, but the cut is surprisingly modern. It's on-trend without being trendy. The second gown is just gorgeous. I love the juxtaposition of the very simple, timeless cut against the deconstructed geometric pattern, and the navy is so crisp against the white. This would be a fantastic red carpet dress--it pushes the envelope just a little, and wouldn't land anyone on a worst-dressed list. How adorable is this Oscar dress? It's almost plain, but the sweetness of the '50s swing-dance silhouette is perfectly balanced by the black. The cut is insanely flattering, and you would style this so many different ways: glam, retro, edgy, a little boho. It's really a perfect LBD, and I really like what he's doing with the sheer black tights.
All Oscar de la Renta: I have to be honest, I hate yellow. It's not a generally flattering or easy to wear color. That being said, I love this first look. It's equal parts aristocratic, in the Chanel-esque jacket, and peasant-inspired, with that lovely dress. The urban scarf ties together both halves of the outfit nicely, and have I mentioned how much I love the hair and makeup? The hair is so modern Brigitte Bardot, and the eyes are insanely glamorous, and almost a little deathly. It's a really interesting contrast. This second look reminds me of that Jackie O DVF look from yesterday, but in a younger way. The circle scarf seems to be sticking around for at least another season, and here it's all dressed up and ready for work or cocktails. The print on the coat is divine, and the stiff nature of the pattern works perfectly with the fluidity of the scarf. The teal dress reveals that there's actually a waist under the boxy coat, and the red flower is the finishing touch of contrast. This last dress kills me. Oscar takes the sheer/nude trend that's been circulating for a few seasons now, and simultaneously makes it tasteful and yet infinitely more sexy. The scattered flowers are a fantastic, organic transition into the sheerness at the bodice, the seaming reminds you that it's lingerie-inspired, and the grayish tint of the sheer panel makes it so much more intriguing than if it had been nude. The necklace (if that's attached to the dress it's really genius) and the belt add the glam factor, which contrasts nicely with the softness of the flowers.
Oscar de la Renta, Oscar de la Renta, Thakoon: I realize that this coat is absolutely ridiculous. But I want to throw this outfit on and wear it around my non-existent boudoir right now. It's just so frivolous and pink, and fluffy that it actually works. It's not ashamed of being absurdly feminine and campy. And can we just talk about how cute that scarf is? It ties together all the colors in the outfit perfectly. This Oscar gown is my favorite look of the day. I mean, one, it deserves to be worn to the Oscars, and two, it's like Glinda the Good Witch got a little bit of an attitude and decided that she wanted to be the center of attention for once. If it didn't turn to dark red at the bodice it would be over-the-top, but that depth at the neckline anchors the rest of the sparkly pinkness. You can just look at this dress and see the hours of work that went into it. They don't make a lot of dresses like this anymore. Thakoon went in a completely different direction, but it was just as interesting, if a little simpler and sportier. There's something very appealing about the minimalism of this outfit. Yes, the top is a little nautical and the skirt has some trailing fringe, but overall it's just skirt and a tee in black and white. And yet it's interesting, very casual but very chic.
All Thakoon: I really like the cut of these dresses. Really, really like it. The mullet hemline is very on-trend, as is the exaggerated shoulder, but here it feels fresh. Thakoon's managed to call attention to the shoulder without adding volume to it, and managed to channel the spontaneity and uniqueness of the the half-gown cut without actually going down the Balmain/Versace/Gucci route and making a half-gown. This cut is edgy and sporty, but also flattering and even a little feminine (see how well it highlights the collar-bone?). On top of that, it works in different fabrics and patterns for completely different moods. This first dress is definitely a little day dress, and the second is very much a cocktail dress. I bet you could belt them for even more versatility. Props to Thakoon. He also tapped into the nomadic, oversized and open cardigan trend that's been building. I love the drama of the collar here, and how he compensated for the extra length by adding a strong belt. I think this sweater-coat would actually be a really great investment. Wear it open, and it's a sweater, closed, and it's a coat. It's a twofer!
Twelfth St. by Cynthia Vincent Oversized Navajo Sweater, $350 at shopbop.com, Frye Engineer Boots in Gaucho Tan, $198 at shopbop.com: Continuing on that open cardigan trend, I love this Cynthia Vincent version. It would look equally good belted or open, the folksy print is very on-trend but also very classic, and it's a blend of wool and cashmere and other warm things, so it's actually practical! I'd pair it with a drapey white tank, a pair of straight leg jeans, and these Frye boots. The visual weight of the boots would ground the cardigan without distracting from it, and they have a similar organic but practical feel to them.
Caroline Herrera: style.com, Oscar de la Renta: style.com, Thakoon: style.com, Cynthia Vincent sweater: shopbop.com, Frye boots: shopbop.com.