>> "Horse riding, Guy Bourdin, and Paris in the '70s," were Riccardo Tisci's talking points for Fall 2012 Givenchy. The horse-riding influence was present in the form of equestrian jackets, slouchy jodhpurs, and chap-like knee-high boots. But this wasn't your average English countryside jaunt; there were also ruffled peplums and undulating bustles, lacy boudoir slip dresses, ruffles of scarlet chiffon, and an eye-popping amount of slick black leather. The tough sexiness? Part of it was the Guy Bourdin '70s bit, sure, but mostly it was all Tisci.
>> It's not surprising that Stella McCartney would have athletic-wear on her mind — she is, after all, designing the British uniforms for the upcoming Olympics. Not surprising either, then, that a bit of sports influence would creep into her Fall 2012 ready-to-wear collection. And indeed, there it was in the form of baseball jackets, racing stripes, tennis dresses, and streamlined ski sweaters. But, as McCartney puts it, "the Stella woman is about balance," so there were plenty of elegant, grown-up elements on hand as well. Those tennis dresses? They were flippy, sure, but they were also cut in a serious tweed. And the speedy-looking ski sweaters? Those came neatly tucked into work-ready trousers.
Also on hand for more of that signature Stella balance: cable-knit sweater sets, sharply tailored jacquard suits, and a selection of electric-hued power coats that — with their asymmetrical zips, contrast panels, and oversized proportions — felt very right now.
>> There may have been bold prints and crimson hues, but the collection on offer from Giambattista Valli felt much more sober than usual this time around. The designer kept it straightforward for Fall 2012, eschewing his trademark embellishment and frills and opting instead for clean-lined silhouettes and tailored pieces. Tweeds, plaids, and patterned knits dominated in shades of black, ivory, and gray for day, while for evening, there were pleated chiffons, speckled furs, and even a smattering of metallic croc. It was chic and wearable, yes, but it would have been nice to see just a bit more of that signature Valli spark.
There was an ease to Maison Martin Margiela for Fall 2012, and even though the house promoted some interesting ideas — maxi skirt sliced halfway off, anyone? — the majority of the collection was filled with softly tailored separates and outerwear that had a clean, classic timelessness to it. But first, those interesting ideas: turtlenecks that covered models' faces, and dresses and skirts that looked like someone took scissors to a kimono and then stitched it all back together. It still managed to feel clean and precise, perhaps another reference to Japan.
- Trends: menswear, kimono-inspired dressing, peplum, deconstruction, and monochromatic dressing.
- Colors: black, white, red, camel, and brown.
- Key Piece: The menswear-inspired overcoats.
- Who Would Wear It: This is for the edgy girl who grows up and wants to look a bit more tailored, but not by mainstream standards — Kristen Stewart of the future.
For Fall 2012, Giambattista Valli honed in on the neo-lady — a different breed of ladylike sensibility that mixed edgier prints with classically tailored silhouettes. The result? A mashup of brightly patterned chiffon, major fur embellishments, matchy-matchy suits, an updated take on houndstooth, and sheer pleated skirts to start. While the overarching theme was markedly femme sophistication, Valli took care to never let that steer him away from a bright color palette (orange! red! gold!), prints on prints, and see-through details. A perfect example of this can be found in a menswear-inspired suit set decked out in a bold geo-pattern, or in the sleek frocks adorned with a dropwaist-esque hem and embellished with fur. It's an interesting mix of evening-suitable looks injected with a totally youthful quirk.
- Trends: Peplum sweaters, ladylike pencil skirts and modest sheaths, cinched waists, fur-lined hems, bold printed suits, sheer pleats, and patterned chiffon.
- Colors: Black, white, red, gold, orange, and burgundy.
- Key Look: We loved the fluid movement of the sheer pleated skirts — such a flirty feminine look — and the inclusion of bright patterns.
- Accessories: Metallic waist belts and super chunky ankle-strap platforms.
- Who Would Wear It: Red carpet A-listers like Emma Stone, Reese Witherspoon, Salma Hayek, and Diane Kruger.
Stella McCartney was in a sporty state of mind for her Fall 2012 collection (most likely inspired by her recent gig designing Olympic uniforms for the British team), showing bold color and athletic-inspired shapes. With a magical touch, McCartney injected a dose of luxe into every piece; lavish slouchy trousers were dipped in shocking cobalt and dark pink hues, while a selection of textural knitted sweaters looked cozy enough to sleep in. Outerwear also highlighted bigger shapes, but not overwhelmingly so, via polished coats with striped bomber collars and modern zip details. On the opposite end of the spectrum, McCartney showed fitted silhouettes via structured skirt suits and dresses. The latter featured silk and wool renditions with a sporty fit-and-flare shape, while evening wear options showed longer silhouettes with intricate embroidery. McCartney accessories are sure to leave a few smitten as well; we predict an antsy waiting list for the two-tone pumps, booties, and oversize clutches. More details from Stella McCartney's effortless Fall 2012 collection below.
- Trends: Slouchy trousers, oversize coats, sporty details.
- Colors: Black, blue, pink, brown, olive green, white, taupe.
- Key Piece: We loved the sporty luxe outerwear and skater-inspired wool dresses.
- Accessories: Two-tone boots and pumps, oversize clutches.
- Who Would Wear It: Girls with a modern and minimal approach to dressing like Kate Bosworth and Zoe Saldana.
For Givenchy's Fall 2012 collection, Riccardo Tisci showed a strong lineup of equestrian-inspired looks comprised of structural leather dresses, luxurious over-the-knee riding boots, and sexy lace. Precision-cut jackets were paired with jodhpur trousers, and full pleated skirts were styled with cropped caplet jackets, driving home the riding theme. Tisci's signature hard-edge style was present in every look; dresses ranged from architectural leather renditions to embellished boudoir-like slip dresses showing sexy slits and sheer detailing. For added texture, Tisci showcased sumptuous two-tone short-sleeve jackets and tricolor vests. There were also a bevy of leather pants dipped in bright red hues and our favorite: a standout pair of black quilted trousers. More highlights from the collection below.
- Trends: Leather dresses, structured coats, over-the-knee boots, jodhpurs.
- Colors: Red, black, brown, camel, tangerine, purple.
- Key Look: We loved the structural leather pieces and tailored blazers.
- Accessories: Over-the-knee boots, wide belts, leather gloves, silk scarves.
- Who Would Wear It: Girls who crave dramatic fashion-forward looks like front-row attendees Alicia Keys, Leigh Lezark, and Cassie Ventura.
John Galliano's Fall 2012 collection was the second solo show for Bill Gaytten, and the incumbent designer successfully set the tone for a charming, British-chic season. He showed gorgeous floaty gowns draped in silk charmeuse and accordion pleats, riding coats with ruffled collars, and sumptuous velvet cropped trousers, all in a decidedly autumnal palette of mustard, royal blue, and cinnamon. Seasoned models like Coco Rocha, Jourdan Dunn, and Lindsey Wixson walked the runway outfitted in sexy thigh-high tights, sheer gowns, and lavish feathered headpieces, punctuating a Fall collection that was a genuine mix of racy and refined, English polish and undaunted sexuality — something we can only imagine Galliano would be proud of.
- Trends: Ruffled poet collars, accordion pleat dresses, cropped riding pants, sheer and fur details.
- Colors: Black, royal blue, red, mustard, cinnamon, soft gray.
- Key Look: The sexy red riding hood: a black onesie with thigh-high stockings, topped with a red silk cape.
- Accessories: Thigh-high stockings, stately feathered chapeaus, lace-up booties, suede and leather gloves.
- Who Would Wear It: English sophisticates with a taste for ladylike glamour.
>> With Karlie Kloss opening the show, jewelry by Delfina Delettrez, and a front-row crew that included Diddy — not to mention the Magnolia cupcakes on the seats — it was pretty hard not to have a good time. Add Humberto Leon and Carol Lim's riotous mix of stripes, patterns, color, and prints, and the fun was practically guaranteed. But the duo weren't just focused on whimsy. "One of our new house codes is functionality," they explained in their show notes. "For Fall, we’ve created garments with zip-off pieces that provide an element of transformation — a coat will zip off to become a cropped jacket and skirt. We also focused on technological fabric treatments, like rubberized exteriors on coats to fend off rain." Fun and functional — now there's an idea.
Through her signature minimalist lens, Phoebe Philo brought forth a sportier chic with the season's call to volume on wide boxy coats and cropped leather jackets for Céline's Fall 2012 collection. There was a subtle departure here from Philo's typical stuff — though it may even be an exaggeration to suggest it's a deviation at all. Rather, Philo enhanced her usual minimalist-chic with a few bold pops of color and a little luxe texture. Shapes were wide and boxy in Céline's signature fashion, but we did get a taste of bold flavor on fuchsia-washed fur on a long coat and a puffed up sweatshirt-style top. The usual fare was a simplified, albeit volume-injected exercise in androgynous outerwear silhouettes, cropped pants, and slouchy track pants. In every pared-down piece, from the leather shells to the streamlined clutches each model had in hand, Philo honed her craft for an uncomplicated cool.
- Trends: Boxy coats, leather, color-saturated fur, colorblocking, minimalism.
- Colors: Blue, orange, black, white, pink.
- Key Look: The boxy navy car coat with brown leather lapels.
- Accessories: Wide oversize handheld clutches; white pointy-toe pumps.
- Who Would Wear It: Fashion's unfussy types.
All photos courtesy of Céline