The growing ‘trend’ for New
York Fashion Week (as it has been in Paris, Milan, and London) is for
a decided lack of one trend, one theme, or just one catch phrase
with which to hitch a season. It’s increasingly about variety and
options and Spring 2006 will undoubtedly be defined by a wide variety
of looks and messages created by New York’s strong, independent
designers who are intent on honing their skills, perfecting their signatures,
and simply doing what it is they do best.
But that said, if I had to single out a
few ‘trends’ we will probably be seeing , I’d have
to say that the designers’ love affair with black (which started
in earnest for fall 2005) has just begun to tip the iceberg,
and though the shade is perfect for the winter season, it also lends
itself beautifully to spring’s rich fabric mixes (‘think’ silk
organza, linen, patent leather, lizard, tulle, ribbon, cotton ottoman,
re-embroidered lace, feathers).This is also the most effective way to
use this color I might add.
Black is also the perfect grown up hue
with which to explore shape, silhouette, and couture like detail and
construction. And then there’s the ‘little black dress’.
I’m sure there will be many different versions of this perennial
favorite being shown in September. Of course, where there’s black,
there’s bound to be its polar opposite: white. Black and white
forever! And after seeing the way Karl Lagerfeld so brilliantly mixed
black with pink for his celebrated Chanel fall 2005 couture collection,
I couldn’t help but feel that the main reason for black’s
existence is to be used in combination with pink. I predict this will
be another big color story going forward for spring.
Volume will continue to be explored and
designers will play with volume and proportion (counterbalancing voluminous
with skinny). I think Mod and Victoriana, two time periods that were
given a lot of attention for fall 2005, will continue in importance,
as well as the idea of ‘restrained’ luxury (there won’t
be as much over the top, in your face excess and embellishment as we
have been seeing).
It will continue to be all about individual,
eccentric mixes, and arts and crafts touches a la Miuccia Prada, and
global, ethnic themes will continue. But again, nothing too costumey
or literal and always juxtaposed with something unexpected to keep it
modern, fresh, realistic.
And talk about ‘schizophrenic’ and
going to extremes….while feminine romantic lace will be ‘big’,
look for innovative uses of streetwise denim . There were recent announcements
that two plugged in and influential young design names (Zac Posen and
As Four) will be working with this all American favorite fabric. Zac
has collaborated with 7 For All Mankind on a denim collection exclusively
for Neiman Marcus, and As Four will launch As Four Denim for spring which
will replace the spring 2006 collection.
The Paris Shows for
Summer 2006, scheduled to grace the runway this October, are likely
to be highlighted by several houses repositioning for better traction.
First and foremost on this list is Givenchy, with the debut Ready-to-Wear
collection signed by Italian artistic director Riccardo Tisci due
to be unveiled. His first haute couture collection brought much-needed
accolades from the fashion press, a veritable shot in the arm for
a label recovering from a bad stretch. His couture-like approach
to design, clothes with a dark romantic vein running beneath the
surface, might well define the current moment.
At Ungaro, Vincent Darré will be faced with the formidable task of designing
a second collection that does not appear to be a remake of dusty archival sketches
from the 60s. How he choses to make the venerable label relevant to today’s
woman may well determine how long he keeps his job.
Lest it be forgotten that Ready-to-Wear is the for profit arm of fashion, expect
to see a solid, chic and commercially viable collection from Karl Lagerfeld
for Chanel. Last season’s gray, black and white might burst into color,
but the underlying theme, that of understatement distilled into contemporary
elegance will not change.
Another place to watch is Paco Rabanne, now remade under the watchful eye of
American designer Patrick Robinson. Will he continue his dark, refined interpretation
of Rabanne, or will he acquiesce to add a few sparkling effects in a nod to
tradition? Stay tuned.
Los Angles is a melting pot, brewing with eclectic influences from
the four corners of the world. Yet, regardless of its diverse mix of
style and impressive line up of imaginative designers to boot, LA fashion
has long had a bad rep as a conveyor belt of mediocrity. I beg to differ
with this misconception. Without a doubt, the City of Angels holds the
promise to breathe revitalizing oxygen into the lungs of American panache.
Cutting-edge, youthful, innovative, and chic to the core, the clothes
conceived in this town, are bursting with flair.
For the past 3 years Louis Verdad’s name has been
synonymous with distinctive West Coast élan. Drawing his inspiration
from his native Mexico, the exceptional talent creates a beautiful retro
ensembles tinged with a 50s pizzazz. I predict for Spring 2006 Louis will continue to steer his namesake line
along a similar path, while experimenting with new colors, fabrics,
combinations, and silhouettes.
In addition to the trademark strong shouldered Verdad woman, clad in
a sharp pinstripe suit, also expect to see exaggerated volumes in the
form of plumed skirts, flamenco arms, and wide flared slacks. Rigorously
tailored jackets paired with silk chiffon or organza blouses are bound
to remain a staple, but in stead of the smoldering, deep, rich palette
of Autumn 2005, these basics are likely to reemerge in pretty pastels.
Another trend to watch out for on the Verdad runway is luxurious Latin
flavored embellishments incorporated into modern attire. Last time I
spoke to Louis over brunch, he mentioned certain tunnel-vision types
telling him to “leave
the drama to Galliano.” My instinct tells me this might just be
the season he will prove exactly why not.
Jenni Kayne is an international fashion icon in
the making. Despite her young age the gifted designer’s creations
have a timeless quality. Touched by a Victorian sensibility, her garments
are underscored by classic elegance. Diverging stridently from the
need to be trendy, Jenni’s
spring look is destined to reveal lady-like opulence. Made from the finest
fabrics a lá silk, linen, lace, chiffon, lightly woven cashmere,
and various leathers, Ms. Kayne’s collection is expected to highlight
feminine essence that defies the predictable marks of overt sexappeal.
This spring Jenni Kayne’s easily recognizable sequins will surely
reappear in metallic hues. Nonetheless, true to form, the monochromatic
solemnity of the season past will be upstaged by the use of exuberant
For autumn Petro Zillia experimented with the
70s theme, epitomized by Bianca Jagger and Lauren Hutton’s legendary
Studio 54 days. In stark juxtaposition to the fiery womanliness of
that strand, Noni Tochterman is guaranteed to bring back operatic color
and theatrical silhouettes. Pinning corseted torsos against ballooning
skirts, cast in sorbet colors, the brilliant designer shall reclaim
her legacy of electrifying exuberance. Tochterman may also toy with
patterns, peppering her pieces with colorful rainbows, carousels, and
In Autumn 2005 Coco Kliks used the circus and
its stirring cast of entertainers as her muse. Before that, the all
American lifestyle gave direction to her vision. This time around the
diminutive girl with vast talent is assured to come up with a captivating
point of reference. Perhaps the Luna Park or Gone with the Wind? Regardless
of its origins, Coco’s
spring will be girly, cheerful, and in vogue.
Michelle Mason is famous for her conservative
tendencies. Aiming to reveal by concealing Ms. Mason will continue
to delve into the endless possibilities of cut, construction and tailoring.
Hence, do not expect the Mason femmes to start showing a lot of skin
even as the mercury rises. Instead, form articulated along equestrian
lines will define Mason’s
brand of sexy.
Rachel Pally, whose jersey conceptions put a new
spin on the ubiquitous fabric, will plot a course towards bold geometric
designs. Clinging to the curves these pieces will inevitably demand
renewed respect for the controversial material master Alaïa catapulted
to the fashion front during the 80s.