I really love this fashion week so far. I know I can wax poetic about any runway trend, and most of the time I genuinely do like them or at least think that they could be pretty on someone, but this season...I want to wear everything. The '70s cuts and bohemian lightness and '90s layering, all with a dash of biker edge and a generous helping of fur--it's fun, it's sophisticated, and it's actually easy to achieve.
Monique Lhuillier, Monique Lhuillier, Devi Kroell: Monique Lhuillier never disappoints when it comes to gorgeous gowns, and what I love about her is that she can do classic and simple, or more out-there and ornate in the same show. This coral-red dress is so, so chic. The lines are insanely clean, the hue has just enough of a retro vibe, the skirt manages to float without being sheer, and the hint of bling from the brooch keeps it young. I will die if someone wears this second dress on the red carpet. It's got everything; asymmetry, the mermaid shape, a play on sheerness. The color palette works for the '70s or the '90s, and that smattering of beige flowers adds a bit of organic lightness to all that dark overlay. I want this Devi Kroell look on my body right now. Yes, trapper hats are back full force, and there's something so luxuriously non-chalant about throwing one on over an off-the-shoulder top and silk PJ pants. The sexiness and volume of the top are contrasted perfectly by the casual, slim cut of the pants, and minus the hat (or with the hat if you're really ballsy) you could totally wear that outfit now to just about anywhere.
Carolina Herrera, Lela Rose, Chris Benz: There's definitely no shortage of lovely gowns for Oscar season this year. Caroline Herrera went back to her collection's aristocratic roots and churned out a line-up of classics, including this mermaid gown. On paper the heavy floral brocade and that soft, dove grey tulle sound odd together, but it works so well in reality. The tulle springs out of the body of the dress, giving so much extra life to the somewhat staid florals, and the way it floats across the model's shoulders and kicks out from the skirt is truly dreamy. Lela Rose had lots of variations on her classic one-shouldered, draped light dress, but this gown version really stood out. The shape is very Grecian, but not in the usual, draped, toga-esque way. The way the sleeve slides over the top of her arm feels modern, as does the flash of gold at the waist and the subtle floral print of the fabric. It's country kitsch meets Hellenic, and it works. Chris Benz is the master of colorful layering, and his approach to styling is very much in-tune with this season's vibe. Tossing a camo-print, '90s inspired jacket on over that chic little sequined shift is a riff on the anorak-over-the-cocktail dress styling that we've seen a lot this season, and the limited color palette ties it all together seamlessly.
Thakoon, Herve Leger by Max Azria, Erin Fetherston: Oh, Thakoon. How I love thee. I seriously recommend checking out the rest of his collection for more '70s rocker chic furs and modern layering. Just look at this ensemble. He's got long john-esque leggings, a flimsy top, and a patchwork fur coat. Sounds crazy, looks crazy-amazing. The rag-tag feel of the coat ties into the post apocalyptic princess trend that we've seen for awhile, but the luxe nature of the furs and the contrast between the volume on top and slimness on bottom adds that rock and roll edge that makes this feel new. Surprisingly, Herve Leger felt a lot like Phi this season. I'm not complaining, but it was disconcerting. At least everyone can still supply their craving for leather-trimmed/studded/lace-up black legging pants? All that aside, this pastel hues, pieced-together looking dress combines a lot of this season's trends. The color palette is lighter and more neutral ('70s and '90s) and there's something raw, almost destroyed and then rebuilt about it. There's definitely glamour this season, but it feels more deconstructed. Even Erin Fetherston added a little edge, using a more muted, dusty color palette and adding what looks like leather trim to a lot of her fairy tale dresses. I think this would be a sweet, if safe, choice for a young starlet at the Oscars. It's not boring, the cut is flattering, it's on-trend, and it's far more likely to end up on the Best Dressed than Worst Dressed list.
Diane von Furstenberg, Peter Som, Altuzarra: DVF's show still had that slightly nomadic feel of last season (must be the adorable pom-pom hats, but with a distinctly darker edge. A sweet, '70s floral dress like this one gets an instantly modern vibe when you throw a '90s, boyfriend-esque blazer on top. And there's some leather trim, which (along with fur) seems to a be a staple this season. Peter Som layers prints and colors so well, it's almost mind-boggling. Purple, pink, red, and acid yellow/green? Done, and chic too. There's something almost Edie Beale meets grunge about the haphazard layering. The knee-length hemline appears to be making a come back, and that textural fur jacket/vest thrown on top compensates for that extra coverage by injecting a serious dose of fun. Altuzarra did furs so, so well this season. How hardcore is that coat? Get one piece of outerwear like this and you can be done for the season. The contrast between the different lengths of the furs adds so much drama, but the restricted color palette keeps it from being costumey. Oh, and emphasized collars have never been more chic.
Elise Overland, Alexander Wang, ADAM: When I think about an all-leather outfit, I don't immediately think polished or even remotely elegant, but Elise Overland has managed to accomplish both. The different finishes of the matte, quilted jacket and the high sheen of the skirt add a lot of visual interest and keep all that black from being too heavy. On top of that, the classic silhouettes--the high-waisted pencil skirt and cropped, boxy jacket--balance out the edginess of the leather nicely. It breaks my heart to say this, but I didn't like a lot of Alexander Wang's fall collection. Re-tooled office wear doesn't suit him. The drapey, asymmetrical sweater, on the other hand, is genius. Bulky knits are very much on-trend, and this manages to fit the comfy, oversized bill while simultaneously still hugging the model's curves and flashing some skin in an interesting way. It would be perfect over this season's slim pants and a sheer tank. I genuinely covet this ADAM dress. That sort of sleeve usually kills me, but here it's so delicate (maybe it's the sheerness) and refined. The slight boat-neck, not-too-mini length, and subtle, but ornate detailing on the body of the dress all scream class, but without being stuffy in the slightest. You could style this so many different ways for so many age groups and body types that it's sure to sell out.
Jill Stuart, Marc Jacobs, Marc Jacobs: Jill Stuart got a little more interesting this season with the addition of some menswear-esque pieces over their little mini dress and body-hugging cuts. I love the idea of mixing a cute, going-out dress with a rugby-striped, boxy jacket, a casual beanie, and some dominatrix, over-the-knee boots. It sounds bipolar, but is the perfect combination of opposites. And last but certainly not least, Marc Jacobs. I have to say, I usually appreciate the Marc Jacobs shows more than I actually want to wear anything from them, but this collection was divine. I'd wear all of it. It was soft, and sweet, and romantic, but still quirky, with lots of those '70s shapes and that '90s layering that we've seen this past week. There were oodles of gasp-worthy, fur-trimmed coats, like this little number. I mean, it looks insanely warm and comfy, and there's something so chic '70s librarian meets nomadic sheepherder about it that makes it feel both new and familiar at the same time. Aside from the lovely, lovely coats, there were some truly sumptuous gowns. I love this dress. The cut and the floral fabric both say sweet and kitschy, and then Marc takes that dress and drags it through a puddle of ink or mud or something amazing and gives it an ombre finish that's carefree and almost a little Alice in Wonderland-ish.
Monique Lhuillier: style.com, Devi Kroell: style.com, Carolina Herrera: style.com, Lela Rose: style.com, Chris Benz: style.com, Thakoon: style.com, Herve Leger: style.com, Erin Fetherston: style.com, DVF: style.com, Peter Som: style.com, Altuzarra: style.com, Elise Overland: style.com, Alexander Wang: style.com, ADAM: style.com, Jill Stuart: style.com, Marc Jacobs: style.com.