If you want to look fashionable next fall, follow the flock.
Feathers were a surprising trend Tuesday at New York Fashion Week, showing up on coats, dresses and hats. In tough economic times, perhaps feathers seem a little less showy than fur.
It's only the most literal bird influence, though. Look for colors next fall called goldfinch, cardinal and peacock, and some ornithology-inspired prints from Carolina Herrera.
Fashionably feathered models walked the runway Tuesday at Badgley Mishka, Monique Lhuillier and J. Mendel. Feathers were used as hair accessories for the Marc by Marc Jacobs line, and earlier in the week they were prominent at Carolina Herrera, Oscar de la Renta and Proenza Schouler.
Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week runs through Feb. 8, with shows still to come from some of the standard-bearers of American style, Ralph Lauren, Donna Karan and Calvin Klein among them.
Badgley Mischka Badgley Mischka offered a complete fall collection — from furs to cashmere T-shirts. But all eyes were on the gowns.
"There's no question that Badgley Mischka customer goes for the gorgeous beaded eveningwear," said Suze Yalof Schwartz, Glamour magazine's fashion editor at large. She would not be surprised to see her favorite look, an amethyst-colored wrap gown with hand-painted petals of navy, dark purple and burgundy, on the Oscar red carpet later this month.
Another Oscar contender was an off-the-shoulder fuchsia organza gown with horizontal tucks on the bodice and vertical ones on the bottom.
The design duo also brought elements of their signature eveningwear to their daytime clothes, including using taffeta and lurex fabrics. There was also a hint of the 1970s in some of the more casual styles, and a peek at another emerging trend for next season: the over-the-knee boot, especially in suede.
Marc by Marc Jacobs
The closing show of New York Fashion Week this season is Marc Jacobs' signature collection, largely considered the most influential line previewed on this side of the Atlantic. But Jacobs' second label — Marc by Marc Jacobs — is probably in more closets, with the cost of a dress about half that of the signature collection.
On Tuesday, Jacobs showed what he has in mind for his trendier Marc customer come fall. He is offering schoolgirl skirts and mini shift dresses with the increasingly popular exposed zipper detail. The zipper looked great — and rebellious enough for urban trendsetters — against black, hot pink and yellow.
Only the young, slim and confident can pull off leather dresses, satin gaucho pants and an exaggerated and oversized houndstooth pattern — in neon, no less.
Men also get their turn at the Marc show, and the key look for them was short pants and long cardigan sweaters.
A flapper, one with a smoldering, smoky look, served as the inspiration for Monique Lhuillier's fall collection. The clothes she wore this time around were not an exact copy of the styles of the 1920s but they had the right spirit: fun and sexy. The daytime looks on the runway were also luxe, thanks to fur trim and metallic fabrics.
Art Deco influences were evident in mirrored beads, and feathers had a strong presence here, as did other fall trends: ramped-up outerwear, the colors of mustard and teal, and one-shoulder and strapless dresses.
Stylist Mary Alice Stephenson picked a black-and-gray ombre strapless gown with an asymmetrical gathered skirt and jeweled belt as her favorite look. During the show, she leaned toward her friend, the actress Kim Raver, and said, "That would look great on you."
Stephenson said after the show that as Lhuillier continues to develop, she has the potential be the next generation's Oscar de la Renta or Carolina Herrera. "For her to understand embellishment and glamour on the red carpet is one thing — she has that down. But now she's incorporating it into daywear," Stephenson observed.
Cynthia SteffeCynthia Steffe is forgoing the season.
Creative director Waleed Khairzada unveiled a seasonless fall '08 collection, with lightweight wools, layered knits, ribbed arm and leg warmers and clothes that are able to transition with removable sleeves.
The clothes were extremely wearable, ranging from pencil skirts and pencil shorts to lightweight wool and silk chiffon dresses. The opener was a classy vermillion wool textured trench. Some of the best looks were a camel-colored cabled cowl neck sweater dress with a matching knit capelet and a houndstooth miniskirt and matching jacket.
The cigarette pants were flattering, elongating the leg, and paired with a blue wool jacket and silk blouse created a great ageless career look. Loose cuffed trousers were worn with a black leather jacket and polka dot silk blouse.
DieselAside from the models, there weren't many skinnies on the Diesel runway. Most of the looks were baggy and drapey.
Diesel premiered its new venture: Black Gold Diesel, a line "bridging luxury and casual." But that's if you consider fur shrugs and spacesuit-like big shoulders luxury. The casual was ultra casual — a taupe PJ-like jumpsuit swallowed the model.
The dresses were baggy, many in a drapey bubble shape.
"We were trying to redo power dressing and powerful dressing that was inspired from active sports and also sometimes from the 80s," says creative director Wilbert Das.
Diesel introduced a couple of "new" denim trends. A carrot fit, slightly oversized at the hip, wider leg, and then tapering — and what Das called a Japanese worker pant, high waisted pants that are really oversized in the leg but then drop in completely at the ankle (think Jasmine from the animated movie "Aladdin").