After hundreds of shows in New York, what will work in stores for spring?

09/15/2013 9:35 AM

09/15/2013 9:35 AM

Now that we’ve seen hundreds, maybe thousands, of outfits on the New York Fashion Week runways, what’s going to stay in our collective memory?

And we speak of the big, giant WE. Fashion editors, stylists and retailers fill the seats at shows but the looks are beamed everywhere – and pretty much instantly. You'll start seeing consumers copying them sooner – and maybe more inclined to shop, said Sally Singer, creative digital director at Vogue.

But she still thinks spenders like direction from insiders.

“Ultimately, retailers pick trends. They decide what people will buy because it’s what they believe in to put into stores,” she said. “Things that work at retail are things that might not be from this season’s runway.”

Hello, cropped tops?

But there are some trends that do work, she said: The great menswear-inspired button-down shirts, for example, from the placket-front nightshirt to the crispest collared shirt, the flashes of sheerness, the fuller skirts and even palazzo pants for evening.

There wasn’t, however, a huge, groundbreaking swing from aggressive tough girl to a hippie chick, for example – and don’t expect that to happen again soon. You'll notice the evolution of a tight, nipped shoulder to a rounder, softer one, or skinny jeans to wide-leg pants instead, Singer said.

“You realize it has shifted when you feel like you are in the wrong thing,” she added.

Marc Jacobs

Jacobs closed eight days of spring previews with a memorable show. He put on a stifling parade of dripping hot models against a decaying beach backdrop in an armory that felt like a billion degrees.

Catwalkers, including Cara Delevingne, wore high-necked wool and lace numbers decorated with tassels and beads on a boardwalk above black sand strewn with garbage and an abandoned bus.

The lucky models wore Hawaiian print Bermuda shorts and sequin tourist sandals, the flat Velcro-close ones that grandma might wear with socks.

That floral print, though, turned into some fabulous eveningwear.

Jackets with puffy sleeves and wide shoulders seemed most likely to land on the must-have list of Jacobs fans or the coolest marching band player you know.

Calvin Klein

The name on the label still reads Calvin Klein, but the women’s collection is clearly Francisco Costa’s now.

It’s been 10 years since Klein picked the Brazilian-born designer as his successor, and Costa presented his anniversary collection this time around.

Costa said the mix of looks reflected all the sights and textures of New York when he first arrived here in the 1980s. “I was inspired by a lot of energy,” he said.

The opening sand-colored wrap tank top and wrap skirt were signature minimalism, save the flash of pink lining, but over the next 35 outfits Costa offered a luxe, refined snakeskin tank and skirt; twill painter’s pants with exaggerated pockets, cuff and rear; and a black woven leather jacket with multicolored thread fringe.

Rachel Zoe

It wasn’t a coincidence that so many fashion watchers at Zoe’s show were snapping photos of the models’ feet each time a particularly comfortable-looking shoe – a glittery metallic Birkenstock-style sandal – came by.

The shoe epitomized what Zoe seemed to be going for in her clothes, too: Outfits that you can travel far and wide in. Either on safari, or just out on the streets.

Leather was prominent.

One suit, in a luscious chocolate brown, had a belted safari-style jacket over short shorts. There was an appealing belted leather mini-dress. There were up-to-there miniskirts but also long, lacy dresses. There were slouchy satin pants, and comfy sweaters. And there was a good deal of denim – distressed, in short shorts or baggy pants, and not distressed, as in a suit with a denim coat and high-waisted pants.

Ralph Lauren

A good percentage of the collection was black and white: low-slung patent-leather minis paired with printed floral trenches, a black knit dress with a sharp white menswear-style collar, a perfectly tailored white pantsuit with a black mock-neck top.

Even the round-toe, chunky-heel pumps made a statement different from the other scores of designers who either preferred delicate pointy-toe stilettos, aggressive booties or flat sandals.

Lauren saturated a handful of looks in bright lime, orange, red and yellow in both daytime ribbed dresses and leather coats, as well as eveningwear.

Reed Krakoff

Krakoff used a lot of light, ethereal colors and garments. He seemed to signal his intentions with the first look: a flowing chiffon dress in the color of lobster bisque. He stayed with bisque for much of the show, throwing in white, nude, and, for those who can’t live without it, some black at the end.

“I was playing with the idea of weightlessness, and overt femininity,” Krakoff explained in an interview after the show. “And combining it with some classic attributes of the brand,” as in more sculptured, tailored pieces.

The duality resulted in some fascinating combinations. One of the better ones: A white grain leather top, to provide weight and structure, paired with a filmy white chiffon and cotton voile skirt. And to cap it off: A square-toe pump with a pedestal heel in hi-liter yellow.

Anna Sui

In her quiet sort of way, Sui has started a rebellion.

She said her spring looks, inspired by the romantic English pre-Raphaelite painters, was her way of bringing a little beauty back to the catwalk – and the closet. “It’s a reaction against the world right now. I want to bring back poetry to the way we dress.”

Sui also infused a little bit of the 1960s, seemingly her favorite fashion era, to her new romantic vision. There were shifts and vests, tapestry bags, gladiator sandals and Balinese headdresses.

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