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Stone — Donna Karan
Lest we need reminding, New York isn’t a fashion capital that embraces rubber sequins. Clothes the colour of Starbucks coffee have always gone down a storm and 2015 is proving no different. Except that, henceforth, beige shall be known as stone. Why? Because this most bland of shades has had a makeover — in jute at Victoria Beckham; thick, industrial-looking twill cotton at Rag & Bone, and swishy-tastic linen everywhere else. It will be a fashion-forward, confident woman who wears “stone” (forgetting for a minute the two million other commuters who get on to the Tube each morning dressed in beige). In a twist of fashion irony, “stone” will mark out the individual dresser who is not perceived as trying too hard and who, as the French would say feels bien dans sa peau.
Vertical stripes — Altuzarra
Can you imagine getting through a summer without wearing stripes? Me neither. Yet put away your Breton tops, because vertical stripes are a-happening next year. Forget all you’ve read about them making you look wider or resembling a clown: vertical can work if you mix stripes of varying thickness while also adding a slight curve. Altuzarra mastered this on pencil skirts while Beckham — who appeared to have nailed most of the trends on this spread — showed them swirled over long, jersey-knit dresses. They weren’t confined to monochrome either. Bold clashing stripes were popular; so too were the candy-coloured ones at Suno. Rejoice: you will look “every-day normal” — but console yourself that, in fashion speak, you will still be “working a look”.
The flatform — Coach
Frustrated by having to choose between being comfortable and feeling shorter and dumpy-looking? Now you don’t have to. It was only going to be a matter of time before someone combined the comfort of flats with the positive psychological uplift of a bit of added height. “Pah!” said New York designers in unison. “What Birkenstock can do to the shoe-scape, we can do better.” Flatforms ruled the New York catwalks, appearing in many guises, from sleek, minimal-looking, rubber-moulded versions at Coach to sportier, beachy styles at DKNY, or minimal wooden ones at Thakoon. Be warned, spindly heels — your days are numbered.
Socks — Versus
You know socks are going to be a thing when even Anthony Vaccarello, the latest designer to produce a cling ’n’ bling collection for Versus, Versace’s diffusion label, sticks a pair of black socks on half the stiletto-sandal-clad models he sends down the catwalk. Never mind that they were dressed in the shortest, glossiest, black-leather miniskirts or thigh-grazing, laser-cut, va-va-voom dresses with safety pins, recalling a youthful Liz Hurley. Anyone who wants to affect nonchalant student cool in socks and sandals will need to up their game pronto.
The even longer skirt — Victoria Beckham
Ignoring for a minute Vaccarello’s ode to a woman’s thighs and buttocks — the designer might be Belgian but he is of Italian descent — hemlines on day dresses and skirts at the New York shows looked positively Victorian. Some designers hovered halfway between the knees and mid-calf, with varying degrees of success, so it took a decisive Brit to champion skirts that fell way below the shin. Beckham pulled off the remarkable feat of showing you how to wear an elongated, slim-ish silhouette with flat shoes (pointed ones help) and still look elegant. Granted this isn’t great news for shorties, but it’s a easier to navigate than the midiskirt.
The long jacket — Phillip Lim
The longer-length jackets seen on the Lim catwalk made me realise how used we’ve become to thigh-grazing cropped jackets and short-length coats. New proportions are always a tricky thing to get your head around. Does the whole outfit need a radical rethink? Should your trousers be longer or can you still get away with cropped? What sort of skirt? More importantly, which shoes? The resounding advice from the New York catwalks was to go for long as you can on your bottom half, to create lean, column-like proportions. As for your feet: blocky, chunky sandals and the “flatform” (soon to be seen on every high street) are the wisest, most stylish options.
Neoprene — DKNY
Thick, padded neoprene isn’t an obvious choice in the Big Apple when the mercury rises and humidity levels soar into the high 90s. Let it never be said, though, that New Yorkers are not devoted to the cause. How else to explain the number of “spongy” ensembles spied both on and off the catwalk in the past few days? The most winning came from DKNY, a label that created oversized parkas, scuba dresses and voluminous swishy skirts in bold-coloured graphic patterns, and even thought to include a wedding dress — a white Hepburnesque affair, cut low at the back — in its collection.
Gingham — DVF
With houndstooth all the rage this winter, thanks to Hedi Slimane, it’s little wonder that gingham — a sort of summer version of the lumberjacket check — is going to be a hit next year. At DVF there were womanly bosoms heaving in Bardotesque gingham, while Altuzarra cut his gingham skirt suits into a plainer, Amish style. Why does it keep on coming back? Because checks are classic and timeless, some would argue, yet bold, subversive and always a bit “cool”. Just beware the flimsy cotton summer dress, which will have the unfortunate habit of resembling your children’s uniform.
Polo in the park
America, as taxi drivers keep reminding me this week, is the land where everything is bigger and better. Certainly the mind boggles at the financial heft required to hire out Central Park for an evening. The great, the good and the etiolated turned up for the celebratory launch of Ralph Lauren’s Polo line for women on Monday night, with the promise of a musical extravaganza emerging from the lake. Rumours swirled it might be a Kardashian. More thrilling yet — and surely a digi first — was the giant 4D water-screen projection of a Polo catwalk that rose up from the water. Be warned, London, Milan and Paris: the catwalk pyrotechnics war has just begun.
Brand it like Beckham
I’m reluctant to believe — as last weekend’s papers suggested — that David Beckham has become little more than an Addie Lee driver, ferrying his sons to football practice at Arsenal and whizzing Harper off to her ballet lessons. For there he was on Sunday morning, next to Anna Wintour at Victoria’s show and popping up yesterday afternoon at the launch of his Off Road book, a celebration of the out-takes from his Belstaff campaign shot by Peter Lindbergh. With reports stating that he is game for the role of football manager, his cab-driving days may be numbered.
One night only
In New York, where depressingly corporate fashion can so often be the norm and fashion shows are nearly always overshadowed by celebs, Humberto Leon and Carol Lim, the founders of Opening Ceremony, came up with the high point of the week. Spike Jonze and Jonah Hill were asked to create fashion satire: a one-evening-only one-act play about a catwalk show in which the new season’s clothes became theatrical costumes in a play exploring the shenanigans of your average fashion week. This ambitious idea, starring Elle Fanning as an underaged model, was declared “pure fashion gold” by those tricky old fashion editors.
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