Bonnie Bing: Fall previews from New York

02/20/2012 5:00 AM

02/20/2012 10:34 AM

Fashion writers, bloggers, buyers, design students, a few celebrities and an assortment of others interested in fashion crowded into Lincoln Center for Mercedes Benz Fashion Week in New York last week.

While many of the outfits seen off the runway were not the least bit believable, designers seemed to be taking themselves seriously when they put together their fall/winter 2012 collections.

Some were obviously thematic. Tommy Hilfiger, for example, had a collection of military looks. Not just a brass button here or an epaulet there, but some outfits that could pass for an official uniform. Another theme in his collection was equestrian, with looks ready for the hunt. Max Azria must have been inspired by equestrian looks with the harnesses he added to his signature couture detailed dresses. And some of Reem Acra’s beautiful little short dresses would have been perfect for a ’20s flapper.

Peek-a-boo transparent details were prominent in a wide range of dresses for both day and evening. Several collections included delicate lace that was not lined or lined in a nude color. That showed up in skirts, such as Michael Kors’ silver lace, or dresses in other collections.

Parts of Carlos Miele’s collection were surely matador-inspired, with bolero jackets trimmed in tarnished gold metal and gaucho belts. Schoolgirl looks showed up in several collections, including Douglas Hannant’s Pink collection. A section of Nicole Miller’s fall collection was a flashback to the ’60s, complete with floppy hats.

Coats ranged from slim and belted to almost cocoon-shaped.

“I really liked the coats at Libertine,” said New York trends analyst and stylist Robert Verdi. “They were almost like the ’50s and had great embellishment.”

Exiting the Dennis Basso show, Verdi said, “Someone has to wear that gold dress to the Oscars. It would be perfect.” The shimmering gold evening gown was one of many seen throughout the week that were glamorous and red-carpet-ready. Not only were there fabrics that looked like liquid gold and silver, there were feathers and furs added to evening gowns. Feathers were used as trims or for entire skirts. And the skirts ranged from very short to floor-length.

Fotini’s show featured a teal green satin dress accessorized with a feather stole. Black took second to head-to-toe sparkle with beading, sequins, crystals and anything else that would reflect light.

Also in the evening category were a number of chiffon gowns with skirts that floated as the models walked.

Red was a frequent addition to a designer’s collection, and it seemed orange — the color that will be hot for spring — will carry over into next fall and winter. Nanette Lapore was one of many designers who used copper colors. She combined them with a bright blue, which turned out to be a combination to brighten gray winter days.

Fur also appeared in everything from a voluminous poncho to a cropped vest. And some designers brought out furs dyed in colors such as orange or green.

Chic dresses remain a No. 1 item with simple but richly detailed styles topping the list. Pants will remain narrow, but a few designers — including Nanette Lapore and Wayne Lee — added wide legs that seemed very elegant after seeing so many leggings and very skinny silhouettes.

It’s a few months before you’ll need to worry about next year’s fall wardrobe, but it never hurts to have a preview. And designers are already working on next spring’s hot trends.

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