Byline: Rebecca Kleinman

Whereas spring and summer’s trends are playful, youthful and fun, fall returns to the Old World standards of luxury, beauty and glamour. It’s a very sophisticated, classy feel, reminiscent of the long-gone days of studio stars or aristocrats. Looks remain feminine, yet womanly.
“People still want pretty and detail, but now it’s the grown-up or dressed-up version of spring’s ethnic and peasant looks,” said Nanette Lepore, designer and owner of the eponymous New York-based contemporary line. Describing her fall line as woodsy glam, she drew her inspiration from watching old movies and attending the Marilyn Monroe auction.
With the trends looking to define fall, more women can feel like movie stars. Beginning with last season’s ubiquitous pashmina shawl, luxurious goods once reserved for the upper classes are accessible within the contemporary and misses’ markets now. Reaction is strong.
“Women want to look important. When they mix all these leathers and chiffons, they look and feel fabulous,” said Emma McPherson, head designer for Emma Black, a New York-based contemporary firm.
Manufacturers don’t think retailers will have a hard time selling luxurious items with higher price points. “The economy’s good, so we’re seeing a surge in luxury, structure and beauty,” said Elissa Bromer, president of New York-based Bill Burns, a signature suiting line, and Burns, a separates line that bowed in February.
She attributes fall’s high level of quality to the saturation of spring and summer’s trends. “Women became frustrated that everything was too trendy. They couldn’t find clothes that fit, either,” she said.
But fall isn’t a complete abandonment of preceding seasons. All of the elements that worked, including color, stretch, shine, prints, embellishment and novelty silhouettes, will move forward, albeit in many cases in less casual reinterpretations.
Color remains fierce, from muted tones to intense brights. Unlike past seasons, anything goes, including black, brown, loden green, gray, burgundy and plum for basics, accented with bright oranges, greens, pinks, red and turquoise.
Stretch combined with luxurious fabrics such as silk, tartans, iridescents and even leather, is important. Kenar, a New York-based better sportswear line re-introduced in February, does short, fitted, stretch silk blouses of 95 percent silk and 5 percent Lycra spandex. Some colors are tomato, bright green and orange. Reporting that luster remains big, head designer Regino Collazo also incorporates stretch iridescent rayon into the line.
Riding on the print trend, tartans have reentered the market. For its version, Burns offers a red and black, stretch tartan, strapless cocktail dress that falls below the knee. The tartan group includes separates, too, while another interpretation is a straight skirt in a turquoise, green and plum madras print with green beading around the hem. Nanette Lepore also picks up on the trend with its trenches in fuzzy plaids.
Even more widespread are novelty leather and suede. “Everyone has her basic leather pants already,” said McPherson, describing her debut leather groups as sexy and chic rather than of the rocker variety. She’s particularly enthusiastic about an exclusive stretch leather for one of her many leather groups. Silhouettes are low-riding, narrow pants with Velcro closures; long-sleeved shirt jackets; backless halters, and three-quarter-length skirts. Although it only comes in black, McPherson plans to offer colored stretch leathers in spring. Even with high wholesale prices ranging from $160 for the halter to $360 for the pants, she reports a great reaction.
Leather groups that don’t incorporate stretch come in cracked, metallic cobalt or python-printed.
Silhouettes are the same. Other groups also feature leather, in the form of inserts, bands and ties. She plans to move forward with suede next spring.
Further examples of the trend are Burns’s red leather, three-quarter-length skirt and black five-pocket pants and motorcycle jacket with Velcro closures and zippers, Nanette Lepore’s knee- length skirt in a rose-stenciled leather, and Kenar’s fake leathers in shiny black and green or brown matte stretch.
Johnny Was, a Los Angeles-based contemporary firm, does both python-printed pleather items such as a long, A-line skirt and low-waisted pants, as well as an embroidered, suede group with ruffles and string ties in fitted shirts, dresses and low-waisted pants. “The looks are clean, but with feminine details,” said designer Theresa McAllen.
Aside from python, a variety of animal prints are trendy, including alligator, leopard, zebra and even giraffe. Nooshin, an updated misses’ and contemporary firm based in Los Angeles, trims its jeans and long and three-quarter-length skirts with a snakeskin-printed, mesh fabric that shines. Emma Black also chooses fake python for an above-the-knee skirt, jacket and pants in beige, burgundy or teal.
Burns offers many animal-print items. A cotton, zebra-print pencil skirt trimmed at the top with leather comes in brown and camel, while beaded, leopard or zebra-printed sweaters can be paired with a laser-cut, camel hair jacket.
Nanette Lepore goes with fake crocodile for a short, zip-up jacket with puffy sleeves. And Johnny Was has a leopard-print silk shirt with three-quarter sleeves and ruffles on the front and cuffs, along with a sheath dress hemmed with ruffles. There’s also a giraffe-print, fake fur skirt.
Fake fur and even real fur are major components of the luxury trend. “It’s going to be up to the retailer to decide whether to sell real or faux fur,” said Lepore. For thick, fluffy sweater knits, she opts for real fur collars in bright colors. Colors are burgundy, dark green and honey brown. Fur collars are on boucle knit sweatercoats as well.
Kenar also does fake fur collars on short jackets in melange wool. Another group includes a short, fitted jacket with bell sleeves and a knee-length slim skirt in brushed camel. Other fake fur looks are Nooshin’s use of velvet to simulate sheer mink, and Burns’s scuba jacket in a high-quality, black and white, fake pony fur.
Lepore also incorporates a couple of embroidered, fake pony fur items like mini- and knee-length skirts.
Prints, another trend that moves forward, aren’t limited to tartans and animal. According to Nooshin Malakzad, Nooshin’s designer and owner, polkadots are coming back. She chooses a medium-sized, black and white polkadot print for flowy skirts, tops and halters trimmed with ruffles. There is also a bustle skirt, one of fall’s hottest silhouettes, in a polkadot print, as well as in a mesh knit and doupioni.
Other important prints are floral and geometric. Along with solid black, red and copper, Burns’s silk taffeta, full tea skirt comes in an orchid and plum cabbage rose print. Bromer describes the style as a garden party skirt to be paired with a matching T-shirt with pique trim around the neck and bottom.
Some examples of geometrics are Kenar’s multicolored group and Emma Black’s jacquards in black and raspberry or black and cream.
Embellishment moves forward, too, but it won’t be as heavy. “It’s more sophisticated now, rather than all over an entire garment. It’s classy, but still sexy, or more of a couture look,” said McPherson. Her reinterpretation includes chiffon blouses with beaded inserts, such as a band around the bottom. Colors are teal, navy and plum. She also does embroidered, chiffon blouses with ties on the sleeves, creating a bohemian look.
Nooshin plays with subtle embellishment, too. Nylon T-shirts in 12 colors come plain or embellished with rhinestones, sequins or lace. Malakzad reports the line also includes some subtly embellished pants.
Other lines showing the trend are Burns, which does black, sequined, cashmere knits in silhouettes like a tank and a scoopneck top with three-quarter sleeves, and Nanette Lepore, which applies rhinestones, paillettes or sequins to chiffons, wool tweeds, velvets and jacquards.
Regarding knits, looks run the gamut from fine-gauged to chunky to loose, in a variety of yarns. Manufacturers agree that knits are slightly roomier this fall, yet still keeping contemporary shapes, necklines and sleeves. To pair with its slim skirts, Nooshin has flowy rayon knits with trim in a variety of necklines including V, cowl and crew.
Collazo goes the fine-gauge route with his sexy, bareback halters or fitted tops with pullstrings around the waist. Both bodies are to be worn with a jacket.
Johnny Was and Emma Black show looser yarns, like the latter’s thick, heavy wool and angora blends in an open weave that are cut on the bias with bell sleeves.
And Burns sticks to cashmeres, which come in 10 colors, including tangerine and bright yellow. Silhouettes are an undershirt style, mockneck and cardigan.
Aside from the blouse and mini- and bustle skirts, other important fall bodies reflect a return to more traditional, structured clothing. Collazo reports the most important silhouette trend is the return of the jacket. “Unlike previous jackets, the new look has smaller shoulders, a fitted shape and more femininity,” he said. Kenar’s jackets are further updated, through trendy interpretations like faux leather inserts, embellishment or bell sleeves.
The men’s trouser a la Annie Hall has also been reinterpreted. Rather than show the traditional pleat, manufacturers stick with the flat-front look of the contemporary market, while making waists lower and cuffs wider. Some, such as Kenar, even add an updated pleat in the form of a raised seam. That version comes in a stretch rayon, and depending on the delivery, in black, slate blue, brown, camel, loden green or plum.
Emma Black plays on the Annie Hall look, too, with its pinstripe group. The pants have a wide, fringed cuff to be paired with a sleeveless vest or blouse. “It’s not office at all, but sexy,” said McPherson. Johnny Was offers trousers in denim, corduroy or UltraSuede. Although the samples have clean fronts, McAllen considers adding pleats.
Malakzad thinks trousers will be big in cosmopolitan areas, but won’t take off this fall elsewhere. “The return of structured clothing will take a while. The days of the big, fitted suit jacket are over. They want comfort now, so if it’s going to happen, it’s going to have to be classy,” she said, adding fall’s sophisticated, luxurious trends will last approximately two years.

load comments
blog comments powered by Disqus