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Spring back in black

  • Chicago Tribune
  • Published Monday, April 15, 2013, at 12 a.m.

Black retreated from runways and shop windows during the past few seasons as riotous color seized the spotlight.

Now fashion’s dark knight has returned to relieve tired eyes and reclaim a bright future in fashion, represented most refreshingly by Alexander Wang’s spring 2013 collection.

Black’s comeback may seem incongruous with the calendar. But juxtaposition is in season, whether it’s the mixing of improbable patterns or the championing of this starkest of colors just as the first bulbs burst from the earth.

“I always say that black is the presence of all color,” Michael Colovos, Helmut Lang co-creative director, said during a recent visit to Nordstrom. “It’s rich. It has many shades. It’s empowering.”

“In black, things look very sharp,” said co-creative director Nicole Colovos. “There’s nothing else to distract you.”

This is not your old fade-to-black friend, however. Black commands its share of attention this spring in five fashion-forward ways.

1. Black, white and bold: Whether with checks (Louis Vuitton), in stripes (Marc Jacobs), with flounces (Balenciaga) or color-blocked (Jason Wu), black and white spreads its graphic wings far and wide.

2. Getting grounded: Now that the entire female population has purchased a pair of nude heels, black shoes are returning to baseline. Black pointy-toe pumps balance a pink and yellow Dior dress, while black sling-back flats stabilize a furry white coat with red poppies at Prada.

3. Peek-a-black: Sheer panels (Tom Ford, Haider Ackermann, Akris), mesh (Gucci and Bottega Veneta, Calvin Klein) and cutouts (Wang, Jean Paul Gaultier) separate spring’s little black dresses from all prim predecessors.

4. Leather: Balmain, Prada and St. Laurent reinvent the black leather jacket as a statement of refinement rather than rebellion. And juxtaposing your nude pumps with a black leather handbag is one way to make those shoes look fresh and new.

5. Power suited: The black suit busts out of the boardroom, looking sultry (Dior and St. Laurent), big-shouldered (Balmain), slick and liquid (Theyskens’ Theory) and sleek and sexy (Victoria Beckham).

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