new york autumn winter 07/08

Carolina Herrera
by Marilyn Kirschner | photographed by Yannis Vlamos

For fall, Carolina said that she was inspired by Edvard Munch's 1889 portrait of Hans Jaeger. This translated not only into a muted but artistically interesting color palette of 'captain' blue, grape, ash, poppy, and bark, but was evident in the way the colors were further layered through hefty fabrics like perforated felt, wool jacquard, Shetland starburst plaid, floral lame and wool-looped organza. Sounds like a lot going on? There was (sometimes a bit too much it seemed). It was all about the almost dizzying mix of color, texture, and dimension.

And talking about texture and dimension...there was a lot of fur proposed (PETA be damned!) and in the early days of Fashion Week, it seems that fur (especially unusual uses of fur or unusual ways to wear fur) will be a big part of the story this season. Fur is being treated like any other luxury fabric. For example, Carolina trimmed a black fisher sleeve coat with wool felt, showed a bark broadtail cropped jacket over a pleated blue taffeta pencil skirt and embroidered blouse; she used massive beige muskrat cuffs on a 3/4 sleeve tunic and popped it over a back and poppy optical plaid skirt; she trimmed an ash cashmere belted cardigan with a massive fox collar and threw it over a poppy chiffon blouse and captain blue plaid fishtail skirt (a good example of mixing day for day...hard and soft).

There was a mix of silhouettes: both narrow and easy. Though there was one long black wool felt coat shown over a black and ivory long dress, short lengths (but not too short—at the knee or a bit above) were the order of the day, lending a youthful, modern, and practical air, and Carolina dressed the legs with Wolford's heavy black opaque tights. Footwear was provided by Carolina Herrera for Manolo Blahnik- high heeled lace up shoes (which grounded the weighty pieces) or tall boots (which were also proposed for short cocktail dresses..another modern and youthful idea). Where last season it was all about the dress for day, this time sportswear separates are taking the stage (another key trend developing on the runways here) the important message. Though dresses were not completely forgotten.

When she did show pants for day (and there were just a few), they were cut wide (which admittedly doesn't always work and is not necessarily the easiest proportion for most women to pull off). The silhouette shown was both narrow and somewhat easy and unconstructed. There was just enough beading and embroidery to create surface interest (rhinestones were added to pockets of a plaid strapless cocktail dress, embroidery decorated the pocket flaps of a grape moiré three hole dress; and embroidery was found on the straps of a dress shown under an ivory wool coat.

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