This fall expect bold designs and color to continue and costume jewelry to remain an important accessory. Necklace sets shorten up with chunky looks, still driven by classic trends. Imaginative designs using gemstone and Murano style glass fuel the continuation of classic jewelry with innovations.
What could be more in line with classic trends than pearls that are even more dominant this fall? Bold beaded strands come in creamy white as well as rich colors. Glass pearls provide weight and quality in the faux variety while dyed freshwater pearls make a genuine statement available in all the hues of fall.
Bracelets are huge in costume jewelry, continuing their march as the leading seller for department stores. Multiple bangles and bold cuffs dominate, worn in multiples and often on both arms. Gemstone and Murano style glass are especially important in bold beaded bracelets. Gold plating in all costume jewelry including bracelets continues to uptrend.
Expect black to be stronger than ever, showing up in every form of costume jewelry. Animal prints are also big. The rest of the season's palette will be covered in a separate report, but now let's take an informative trip around fashion's leading centers presented by an expert in the field, Mary McGarry.
Fall 2008 Fashion Report
Posted by Mary McGarry
ON THE EDGE: The fall 2008 season is breaking over the fashion field with intense drama and excitement from every part of the globe. The look is luxurious, rich, with fabulous fabrics and downplayed but still glimmering facets of shine and glitz. This is strictly an urban-oriented fashion presentation; even the casual styles are less country and more playlands of the city elite. Think the Hamptons, even in winter. San Tropez. Exotic ports of call in the South Pacific. But do not go native ... this is strictly an invasion of the privileged.
If the fashions were less Space Age, you might say there was an uneasy mixing of the late 1920s, with all of its mindless abandon, with the 1930s, and all of its serious, yet sensual darkness. But these are very today fashions, and even with their retro touches, they are still fabulous and forward thinking. They are almost all, the richest of the richest, beyond sophistication. Dubai. Berlin. Tokyo. Geographically, there are no barriers. Designs spill out from New York, Paris and Milan with easy exactness, but it is hard to tell what comes from where. Just as Athens and Sparta eventually became part of one country, these are designs written across a single worldwide canvas.
HOT ITEMS: Picking up maximum attention now are luxurious dresses with a casual bent. Think of plenty of appliqués and embellishments, full, even gathered skirts, low cut bodices, and ever-so expensive materials, even on little day designs. The Bohemian look is a winner. Think big shawls here, and threads and tassels hanging off everything. Also give attention to headbands, like the big bow stretched across the head by Philip Treacy for Donna Karan. Bring classic jewelry into focus, too, with long white pearls, and plenty of gold bracelets, such as super country star Carrie Underwood might wear.
Feathers are bigger than ever, not just as accents but as major fashion players. Feather dresses. Feathered skirts. Ahhh, but while we are on feathers, also think sequins, like sequined skirts, that are so big in designer quarters. --How can you wear them? Don't ask us! Then there is fringe. Put it in the same category as feathers. It is all over! Boots and booties. And oh, oh, oh! The heels. Wow! These boots and shoes are a podiatrists' nightmare. Heels higher than high. Pointy witchy toes. Want to see a contradiction? Power suits on women wearing shoes they can't walk in. What is going on here?
DATELINE MILAN: The glorious capital of all that is fashionable and guess what? ... more feathers! These are, at least, mostly black (along with everything else). Very sexy, very sultry. Dresses are again the mainstay of fall styles, and they too are mostly all black. Think big city living for these clothes, very major Capital City sensibility, very exclusive, sometimes a bit hard around the edges.
La Dolce Vita is revisited in more booties with killer heels. Dresses are billowy with tight, long sleeved tops. And there is fur: Alaskan night wonders of it! Lynx. Fox. Real and faux. Coats in leopard skin patterns. Big fur hats, Russian style. Long gloves, which are a must this season, along with small leather handle bags (they don't negate big, if not huge, totes). And that Power Suit we already mentioned? Here is one from Max Mara, grey, double breasted, with a short jacket over tight pants, and worn with a brown turtle neck sweater. Dynamite!
Look for some color here to offset or perhaps enliven the enormous amount of black. What would Italy be without it? Think brights, especially blues. Also big are tight little knit cloche hats a la the 30s. Coats are beautifully tailored, with an Armani sensitivity. Little black coats, as traditionally seen on the streets of Rome, straight lined. Wrap-around coats with flared sleeves. Hotsie Totsie little bubble-style fur jackets.
FRENCH INFUSION: Oh, nooooo ... not more feathers. Valentino's strapless blue dress with blue feathered skirt is, well ... trendy. Accessories are everywhere. Hot top model Rihanna wears feathers with aplomb ... see her on the cover of several top fashion publications now. She is also brilliant with big, bold jewelry and a timely look that breaks all the rules and is very individualistic! Befitting her style are couturier necklaces that hang down to you-know-where, long silver chains, often very heavy and bold. Berets are a little larger than usual this season, black or grey. And even though we're in Paris, we're seeing much that is Biker Tough: Harley is everywhere! Long beads dangling down to the knees ... huge!...with offbeat pendants swinging off them. There is plenty of motion here. Zoom. Zoom.
Long, above the elbow gloves are de rigueur. Patterned tights are seen with many outfits. Little booties are important. Some are flat; others are those insanely high heeled booties we've already talked about. Don't miss the heavy emphasis on all black witchy or bordello outfits right out of a Jean Genet play. Mid-calf length skirts with tight tops have a timeless French look, something a café owner might have worn during the occupation. Short, fingerless gloves in black leather pick up from Karl Lagerfeld, surely.
Bracelets are very big. Look for them running up both arms in multiples. Sunglasses are the finishing touch for many looks. Some are big, with designer logos screaming out. Others are little, black, Italian-styled. An interesting aside: Zippers are showing up on a number of clothing styles. Look for zip-zips up the front of jackets, on pockets, embellishing handbags.
Because France could not exist without truly wearable, refined clothes, there is a nod here to houndstooth materials, sitting room skirts with white blouses, lovely sheath dresses with soft draping, and beautifully cut suits with somewhat short jackets and medium-length skirts. There are big brimmed patent leather hats from Dior. Gossamer white chiffon dresses from Alexander McQueen.
And ... on many runways ... deathly black lipstick that is undeniably disturbing.
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Here are some highlights from some of the major stories weaving their fashion tales on the fall 2008 global picture book:
THE OUTER LIMITS: This is a wildly futuristic look, architectural and geometric. The lines in this story are strictly refined, arithmetic, and layered, with pieces on top of pieces much the same as building floors build on top of floors. Color-blocking comes to mind as a brown square-cut top fits on top of a straight shimmery silver-colored skirt, with everything topped by a short blocked red jacket (Marni). Most jackets are in contrasting color or texture (or both) to the underlying skirts or, in rare instances leggings or high, over-the-knee boots.
Sometimes this star-trek look is stark but exquisite, as when done by Jill Sander, whose all white three-quarter-length coat with high, space era collar doesn't have a millimeter of excess. . Most of the colors in this story are dark: brown, black, deep purple, grey. But also present are Mandarin red, tan, and white.
The hair here fits the mood of tomorrow. It is clean-cut, with a Sassoon sensibility. Some styles are sculptured blond-on-blond, medium length; in others, the hair is pulled back tightly into a ballet-dancer chignon. Look for Agness Deyn with her new short blond bowl cut. The British model does the starship look brilliantly!
*****THE HOT ACCESSORIES: This look has plenty of minimalistic design references, with accessories carefully chosen, thought-out, sane. Necklaces add importance to many of the outfits, but they are often choker-length, certainly not long and swinging. Movement is not a factor in this story; to the contrary, these outfits could still be set in stone.
Used judiciously, lace gives a welcome feminine infusion here, so do big bows tied at the neck. Belts emphasize the waist or can be worn below it, carefully wrapped around the body, not "slung." Medium length gloves, mainly in black, are also handsome and further the somewhat formal feeling found in the architectural pieces. You can play with a little glitz here, but keep it well-fitted to the body, and refined. Handle bags work well in this dimension, like leathery brown California-style pieces, medium sized (at best). Very Rodeo Drive.
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ELECTRIC COLOR WAVES: Watch out for all these intense, jewel tones making an aggressive runway appearance at many houses. Versace presents a heavy hot pink tent dress that is very creative, very identifiable. Hot emerald green shows up at Doo.Ri, in a big fuzzy green helmet hat. Mini skirts with big bow neck ties prance around the stage at Proenza Schouler. This little girl style is heightened by brilliant primaries (green, yellow) in long-sleeve over-blouses topping swingy short-skirted dresses. Other big colors here are blues (softened for cool temperatures) and purples.
Hair styles seen with this story are primarily long and hanging free, some blond, mostly brunette. A few styles are pulled back from the face into easy pony tails or loose chignons. Interesting clips keep hair in place but so would gem-studded combs. Hats are big, with wide brims, very Ralph Lauren or Dior.
*****THE HOT ACCESSORIES: This look practically screams out for accessories as a finishing touch to an otherwise bright, even intense fashion statement. But go carefully here. This is no place for glitz or jewelry overload. Think unstructured bags to go with the material softness that is found here. Also think handle bags, predominately, like soft leather hobos and medium sized black fabric bags. For evening pair an intense satiny purple dress with a little blue satiny clutch bag for a wonderful look.
Necklaces are among the more aggressive jewelry pieces seen in this story: Black fabric necks with heavy tassels from Zero + Maria Cornejo were an interesting new, soft take on jewelry. Medium length emerald green pendant necklaces, very original, oriental, crafty, were shown by Doo.Ri. Bracelets also work well with the look: refined, gold or silver bracelets, one or two or twenty at a time. Big brimmed hats further the feminine appeal of this look, but not too floppy, not too Southern Belle. It is all a little more serious, more sophisticated.
Try combining shawls and wraps with many of the different outfits making up this story, too. If you have any that are feathered, all the better. This is the perfect look for a cool night on South Beach. Imagine purple feathers with a purple dress and a little bright, snake green clutch. It's far out and conservative-hot, all at once. It's also a dynamite look!
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MIDDLESEX (If you haven't read the novel, start now!) What else would you expect? This is a street smart and boyish look, with streaks of girly hot and tough. Burberry Prorsum presents a great look here in a brown almost sculptured coat worn with a deep black hat. The long-haired model could have walked out of the streets of My Fair Lady. Oh ... this is a moneyed outfit on a poor (but sharp) damsel. Mini skirts are big here, along with large tweedy wooly jackets.
Boy outfits come on strong: rolled up pants, shortie sweaters over long undershirts. Plaids. Hot skin-tight black tops. Frill-bottom skirts that might have graced the streets of New York's Second Avenue, years ago. Some of the outfits have a definite Celtic flavor. Think The Gangs of New York, and then upgrade with luxe materials. This might be a poor look, but it also posh. Figure it out! Colors in this look are mostly dark or tan, some shine comes through in materials. And lace is pretty, aged-looking. --Some fashion pundits are referring to this look as "grunge," but we don't quite see it that way. This look is too clean and rich for that.
And wow! There are lots of redheads in this picture. Hair is frequently long, pulled back behind the ears, clipped, and then let to flow freely half way down the back. Long curly hair is also a hot look, along with deep auburn locks cut to the shoulder with full bangs. There is a little sleek retro here, mimicking Vidal Sassoon, but without the hard-edge pointy cuts. Hair accessories run the gamut from combs to headbands to pony holders, but nothing too female, please. This is a story that steals from the boys, so let's keep it that way!
*****THE HOT ACCESSORIES: Work first with hats. Streamlined, somewhat manly hats. Jaunty fedoras. Newsboy hats, straight out of a James Cagney movie. Boots galore: to the knee, mid-calf, and low. Lace-ups, a la a hundred years back. Long wooly scarves tied around the neck. Some gemstone pieces, hot stones on heavy chains. Driving gloves with cut-out fingers. Play! The ladies in this story are cool and street smart. You can take accessory direction from what you see in the clothes and outfits. Socks. A semi-sloppy look that almost asks "Who you calling you-know-what." Skirts out of a yesteryear saloon, worn with ankle-high booties.
--You really have to be young to look good in this story, because of the attitude alone. It is self-satisfied, edgy, sometimes baby-ish, and a touch anti-social. Don't go with conventional accessories here; classic pearls, for example, won't cut the mustard.
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LUXURIOUS, RICH AND RIVETING! Just look at the wild materials coming into play for fall! This is material madness of the first degree. Velvets. Crushed taffetas. Sleek silks. Soft, sensual wools. Shiny materials. Embellished materials, with metallic threads shot through the weave. Prints that are mesmerizing, from Mondrian color-blocking to spectacular Georgia O'Keefe-like florals to Asian/Cossack mixes. It is all intoxicating. The colors are fabulous. Brilliant orange-reds. Deep wines. Shimmery blacks. Blues, blues, blues. The look is very haute couture, very rich, very to-the-manor born. Dresses again lead the fashion parade. There are a few mini skirts, but most skirts break just above the knee. Long evening dresses come into play here, with ruffles and softly draped, somewhat Grecian elegance. Beyonce wears a long blood red evening dress fabulously; it expresses all the riches and elegance of the East in one look.
Sleeves are super-long, thin through the upper arm, full at the wrist. They are also three-quarter and full length, depending on the dress design itself. As far as hair is concerned, you might say here we go again. Many styles are long, worn behind the ear and then left to drop down long and free. Again, too: Lots of reds and strawberry blondes. Titian would love these ladies. So would Lautrec. They are obviously high maintenance, a little saucy, romantic and smart. Still, here and there: an untouchable, aristocratic brunette.
*****THE HOT ACCESSORIES: what would you wear with this look? It ain't easy, babe. An important accessory is a thin little belt, often snakeskin, sometimes hard but classy plastic. Shawls thrown over the shoulder give this a self-contained, heraldic look, very King Arthur's Court-ish. Big bows at the neckline work well on shortie jackets, blouses. Skinny slivers of gold or silver at the wrist are good looking. A single statement ring is always in fashion, especially one that looks very expensive, with large gemstone presence. Hair styles are traditional, even conventional, perfectly kept, no loose ends. Hair accessories work very well here. The looks can run from Boston-proper to Atlanta-Southern, to New York modern, but always very upper-crustie.
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LONG ISLAND PREPPY. This is a brilliant tome about separates and myriad, creative ways of putting them all together. Think Kate Hudson for an immediate idea of what we are talking about: jackets, skirts, blouses, sunglasses, all terribly right, proper, and great-looking. . You just can't ignore these designer specials, because they are extraordinarily big this season. Consider separates all pieced together and worn for perfection, on the street, in an art gallery, luxuriating by the ocean or all-decked-out to watch a rocket take off. There is a Southampton sensibility to this look that could carry the wearer anywhere in the galaxy. It is a casual look, but carefully constructed. Grays and whites are big here. Work with Italian-simple shirts and sweaters and Ts.
Skirts are hot here. Some skirts are mini, most are above the knee. Slacks are tight, tighter (as in leggings), or loose. Cropped pants bring back memories of yesteryear's pedal-pushers. Neckline collars are slightly intricate, as in doubled material folds. Let your mind play with a minimalist take on those big, medieval Gallic outfits, with their oversized collars. Sleeves are often short, ruffled, tailored but feminine. Other sleeves are way, way too long, and just pushed up for a kind of scrunched effect. Coat sleeves carry a Milan perfect-tailoring message, exquisitely balanced, just the right length, a little swingy.
As might be expected, hair is carefully controlled in this look, often sleeked back. Hair pins, pony holders, barrettes, and society-popular headbands all look good, too. Hats also come into strong play (think wide brimmed), along with imaginative hair pieces, like a fuzzy circle hair wrap, or a large hair accessory that breaks someplace between a hat and an alien head warmer. Hey, this is creativity!
*****THE HOT ACCESSORIES: This story replete with neck emphasis. Try using little neckerchief scarves in bright Versace-like colors, fur neck rings, big solid, satiny scarves swathed around the neck and held with a rhinestone circle pin. The fun of this look is that it leaves so much to one's creativity. Use scarves in myriad ways. Hang them around the neck and let them drop down the front of an outfit in a lazy, unstructured way. Put several long skinny scarves on at once. Play with scarves that have fringe, or sequins. Go in the opposite direction and use solid grey cashmere scarves or neck wraps. The looks are all terrific.
Handbags are also important here. Nothing is quite as perfect as a shiny black clutch. Possibly tooled leather, or quilted in a Coco Chanel manner. Hobos work for the slouchy separate look, while leather shoulder bags (in matching rather than contrasting color) in medium size, give a traditional and controlled look to casual combinations.
Jewelry works in place of scarves and neckpieces. Add pendant necklaces, or long chains (but don't go too swingy). Button earrings finish the look without competing with the neck work. Bracelets are always appreciated. The quieter the outfit, the more you can work with interesting bracelets. But again, this is not a hip, glitzy, wild look, so choose jewelry accessories accordingly. ---Boots combine like magic here: High and very high boots, short boots, lace-up boots, little Scandinavian-like ice boots.
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HARLEQUIN ROMANCE: Almost excruciatingly romantic, this look has all the pathos of afternoon soaps, all the allure of a Jane Austin novel. Flowers in the hair. Pretty prints. Lacy overblouses. Soft, loosely woven sweaters. Long skirts. Sheer black stockings. Sometimes the look takes on a nautical flavor, at other times it is more like garden party fresh. There is nothing too sexy here, and that control we've mentioned in stories discussed above, still holds sway. Things don't seem to want to get out of hand. Many skirt lengths hit at the knee. Waistlines are mostly softened, extremely present only in some wide skirted dresses. Oranges and reds are hot here, along with tans and whites and blacks.
Sometimes the hair is quite intricately done. Braided and piled on top of the head and dropping down the neck. Sometimes it is sleeked back, but with a little fullness. Look for beautiful, Germanic braided ponies. Or, long hair falling down the front of an outfit not unlike female TV announcers' look. Hair is often wavy. Girlie. Non-intellectual.
*****THE HOT ACCESSORIES: Don't miss out on feminine neck rings. Or black lacy neck pieces. Sunglasses work here, too, adding a