The world’s most beautiful women gathered in New York City last week for the fashion Olympics known as 7th on Sixth — and the rest of us showed up to see what the heck we'll be wearing next fall.
What we learned: the '80s revival, from bold prints to cinched waists to leggings to bulky sweaters to big bows, will still be going strong.
Here's a peek at what you'll be running to the stores for at the end of August:
The New Sweaters
“This season is about playing the game of seduction without showing too much skin,” ladylike designer Carolina Herrera announced last week.
Sweaters are certainly the new cover-ups — and they've taken on new proportions, coming in slouchy and oversized shapes with a feeling of looseness and volume.
Newest are the long sweater coats, sometimes grazing the floor at Michael Kors and Anna Sui. The sweater dress paired with a cashmere coat was a big hit at the BCBG show, and the “Hepburn” sweater vest was a showstopper at Tracy Reese.
These chunky longer sweaters that are belted provide a strong contrast when worn over satin slip dresses or chiffon skirts.
Proportions in trousers ran the gamut from the classic to the extreme. Menswear-inspired trousers with wide legs, pleats and cuffs at Marc Jacobs looked fresh when paired with clingy ribbed turtlenecks. On the other end of the spectrum were the unforgiving skin-tight pants that were seen across the board with the new full sweaters or shrunken jackets.
Making mega news was the comeback of the leggings. Leggings were worn cropped to the knee at Derek Lam, under a skirt at Charles Nolan and with long sweaters at Twinkle.
The tulip skirt, previously thought to be a one-season wonder, has made a comeback.
Still a regular is the full skirt cinched at the waist. Also popular were the sassy skirts with ruffles, skirts that draped, skirts with pleats and skirts that wrapped. Some skirts were worn over pants.
However, the classic cigarette skirt that stopped at the knee still looks classic and fresh (DKNY, Behanaz Sarafpour, Narcisco Rodriquez).
Jackets came in so many unusual and unpredictable shapes and fabrics: boleros, capelets, puffys, trapeze and shrunken jackets with portrait collars. The common denominator is that they are all cropped and all have unconventional interesting neck treatments (BCBG, Derek Lam, Kenneth Cole, Nicole Miller, Oscar de la Renta).
Seen on the runways were many jumpers with preppy refinements. This popular theme was made with menswear fabrics such as flannels, glen plaids and pinstripes.
Best was by Bryan Brantley for Tuleh with his homage to the Vassar girl. These jumpers were paired with white shirts with Peter Pan collars (Alice Roy), ruffled Edwardian blouses (Luella Bartley) and Kors adorned his with argyle knee highs.
“I wanted to create a new kind of sexiness, something sensual-chic and romantic. Voluminous silhouettes, everything oversized — oversized buttons, sleeves, collars, bubble skirts, and baby doll dresses,” proclaimed designer Monique Lhuillier. This statement reverberated throughout the week with designers pumping up the volume of their clothes.
This was evident in the oversized proportions of Marc Jacobs' blanket coats, the full bloomers at BCBG, the puffball skirts at Narcisco Rodriquez and the ridiculous empire bow dresses at Peter Som. This trend should not be used as an excuse to give up your gym membership.
Gone are the low-slung belts of "bohemian chic" that adorned peasant shirts and dresses. The belt is back home at the waist. This element is used to reign in the fullness of the new full proportions. We see waist treatments such as wide obi sashes, ribbon ties and bow belts. Most popular is the 1950s wide leather belt with refined hardwear, worn with a full cinched skirt.
Fall is the season for luxe fabrics such as cashmere, mohair, corduroy, velvet, leather and fine wools. These all made appearances on the runways. Unpredictable was the use of home furnishing fabrics such as brocades and luxurious jacquards.
Wanderlust went wild when designers used metallic fabrics in gold, silver, copper and also any other fabric that remotely glittered or shimmered. These metallics punctuated the cozy fabrics and were unconventionally used for day, which lent an edgy touch to the season (Proenza Schouler, Ralph Lauren, Michael Kors).
“Fall 2006 is a time to transition back to more dependable colors,” said Pantone Color Institute Executive Director Leatrice Eiseman. “We are looking for colors we can wrap ourselves in."
Autumnal colors dominate the palette with black, somber smoky grays, camel, taupe, chocolate browns, navy blue, apple cinnamon, red mahogany, plum, pistachio and spruce. Blue leaning toward teal was popular. This is a rare shade that universally complements all skin tones.
Makeup and Hair
Makeup was kept to a minimum; it’s mostly a very natural look, youthful and not contrived. Each designer picked one feature to play up, whether the lips with a more pronounced color or the eyes with smoky shadow.
New are the fuller eyebrows. Hair was kept straight and long. Waves were kept to a minimum and started at the bottom of the hair just to create movement. The long ponytail won for being most popular.
Best in Show
This reporter's pick of the shows was Vera Wang. The clothes were masterfully crafted, and the silhouettes were innovative and fresh. Having proven herself in the bridal market, she is also showing that she can carry her own in ready-to-wear. Donna, Ralph and Oscar ... move over for the new star on the block.
Cheat Sheet: Fall's Must Haves
Shimmery tee for day
Slouchy full pant
Wide leather belt
Ankle length booty
Oversized knit rosette pins