The knife-pleated skirt, re-introduced to fashion by Alessandro Michele for Gucci a few season’s back, shows no signs of slowing down. The skirts work in solids, menswear plaids or prints. The key is using fabric — whether lustrous satin, crisp suitings, iridescent organza or lingerie-worthy lace — that is firm enough to hold a pleat yet lightweight enough to achieve the requisite flow.
Hoods are happening for next fall, and not just for hoodies or outerwear. Cut-and-sew pullovers — in ribbed jerseys or stretchy stocking-weight nylons — have snug-fitting head-coverings that extend from turtlenecks. While many hoods are built-in, there are also free-standing balaclava versions with hand-knitted appeal.
Flat quilting, the kind usually used for industrial protection, gets an elegant turn for fall. There are diamond quilted jackets, circle skirts that borrow from bedspreads, and skirts that mimic moving blankets. While the thought of extra padding for apparel may make some cringe, lightweight constructions and clever cuts make these pieces wearable and desirable.
The newest kicks on the runways show lots of interesting details, signaling a movement away from the basic “dad sneaker” of last season. Design attributes range from the technical to the whimsical. There are ergonomic panels, fat-padded tongues, velcro ankle straps and furry accents. Black-and-white or brights still work, but newest are mirror-finish silver or pops of Day-Glo against a neutral upper. Soles include extended heels and checkerboard flatforms, spanning the divide between function and fashion.
Tailoring takes a sculptural turn for next fall. Arms are rounded, torsos are nipped, shoulders are draped and hips are molded. Fabrics with body are essential, often reinforced with padding, facing, plastic coatings or clever cuts. Simple menswear tweeds or plaids give ballast to these somewhat avant-garde shapes, making them more approachable.
Purple, with its symbolism of mysticism and utopian ideals, has long been a favorite of hippies. This season that bohemian spirit is still there, but it is refined with flower-petal shades, fluid fabrics and shapes that are soft yet precise. The hue looks particularly fresh worn head-to-toe in jumpsuits or frocks, or used as a surprise color pop — as in a diaphanous dotted swiss maxi-skirt styled with a simple white tee and easy trench.
As fashion goes, sometimes something is “so bad it’s good”. Acid-washed denim is one of those things. The runways abound with 80s-flavored treatments, whether acid-washed, bleached-out, sand-blasted or stone-tumbled. Many of the shapes are reminiscent of the Run DMC era as well, with rounded legs, pegged ankles, reinforced knees and myriad patch pockets. Some of the newest looks use panels of various washes, or lighter-and-darker mixes for gussets or trims.
Even when an item is a perennial, there are subtle shifts in material, proportion and silhouette that move the piece forward and speak of the “now”. Such is the case with this season’s trench coat. The newest must-have versions are boxy, with a straight, waistless shape. Firm fabrics or smooth leathers uphold the rectangular silhouette, and bellows pockets or flat-flaps echo the squared-off aesthetic. Sleeveless styles offer lots of options for easy layering. Most of the boxy trenches on the runways are minimalist, but Prada decorated the extended shoulders and flaps with an array of cabochons and colorful paillettes.
Plaids lose their winter connotation and move boldly into spring. Runways are awash in yarn-dye suitings, plaid chiffon dresses, tartan coats, overprinted windowpane checks, plaids on the bias and more, either worn as a statement piece or combined into one ensemble. Styling ranges from neo-grunge to preppy, and colors can be classic or offbeat. In general, the scale of the patterns are large, but specifics don’t really matter here — if it’s plaid, it works.
Warm shades of Burgundy and Bordeaux emerge as a fresh alternative to classic navy. Much like the universal dark blue, these wine tones are an understated way to wear head-to-toe monochrome color. Tints vary from garnet to plum, and look especially fresh in tonal layers or paired in floral motifs.