Gentle reader,

New York Fashion Week isn’t over yet but we’re seeing some clear trends for Fall 2013.  It might all change by the time we get to Paris in about a month because, who the hell knows, Prada and Dolce could both show Big Top circus-inspired collections if their spring shows were any indication.  Anyway, this is what I got for you so far.

Reem Acra FW 2013

Reem Acra

The most noticeable trend, and one that isn’t going to sit well with the people over at PETA, is that everything is covered with fur.  Every.  Fucking.  Thing.  Jackets are lined with mink, necklines are trimmed in fox, Persian lamb panels appear on jackets and there’s even a fabulous chinchilla handbag at Pamella Roland.  Much of the fur came in its natural shades but you’ll also see it in green, blue, orange or the intense red of Reem Acra’s wild goat hair coat.  Black and white are cool, too, but you might want to steer clear of the big mittens at Altuzarra unless you want to look like you’re wearing skunk boxing gloves.

That Altuzarra show also represented the other major emerging trend of black leather in a big way.  Black leather isn’t really a shocking revelation for a fall collection, but it has been positively everywhere in the shows from fitted sheath dresses, jackets, coats and tops down to elbow-length gloves.  The girls at Rodarte even managed to fit a leather apron-skirt into their odd Grateful Dead tie-dye theme.

Altuzarra FW 2013

Say no to the skunk mittens from Altuzarra

Fall’s evening gowns have been another standout so far and my favorites felt inspired by the slinky shapes from the 1930s and strapless ball gowns of the 1950s.  Jenny Packham sent out some great looks in pale orange, deep red, ivory and navy that were encrusted with beads or obscured by chiffon and Jason Wu toned down his exuberance with some stately gowns that looked a bit like vintage Dior, accented with knife pleats.  Some designers like Badgley Mischka, on the other hand, sadly went with the “more is more” philosophy, probably thinking that it would sell in Moscow, and ended up with tacky messes.  Actually, they probably will sell in Moscow.

It came as some surprise that the show I liked most in New York was Carolina Herrera’s.  I don’t watch her collections closely because, though my impression is that she usually turns out well-crafted, tasteful pieces, they’re rarely groundbreaking or highly original.  This season may have changed my mind.  Sparing no expense, she commissioned a Beethoven adaptation that was played by a live orchestra in the Lincoln Center venue and booked all the top girls to open the show.

The 1940s inspired clothes with their very fitted waists and shoulder emphasis began with a pale peach printed silk dress with black velvet details and ended with a seductive green satin gown with green fox around the neck.  In between, there were lovely suits, boldly striped camelhair skirts and big winter flower prints that were used with daring.  I caught myself thinking things like, “I wish Valentino’s red dress from last season had this back instead,” and, “If only that sunflower dress at Rodarte had been cut like that!”  Arms and legs were often covered, but she knew when to use a deep neckline or peek-a-boo slit to keep it all from being too demure.  My favorite look even had a hood and long sleeves completely covered with glittering black paillettes over a long sheer black skirt.  Frankly, in this age of Kardashians and side-boobs, it was a welcome change.

Maybe I’ve been a Carolina Herrera fan all along and I never even knew it!  I don’t think so but stranger things have happened.

Much love,

xxJames

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