Layers make lasting impression on fashion players

By Samantha Critchell

Associated Press

Published: Friday, March 16 2012 1:00 p.m. MDT

"Statement coats is something we'll be buying into," she says.

—Military: Military touches, including epaulets, patch pockets and metallic hardware, were consistent, although there was not a literal translation of camo and khaki, says Amanda Brooks, who attended shows as fashion director for Barneys New York. (She announced her resignation from the post this week.)

There was a sort of yin and yang with the strength that comes from straightforward military styles that was balanced by those elegant — and expensive — fabrics. "A simple item with a high price will be harder to sell than a simple item in high fabrics that look expensive," Brooks says, noting specifically Marni's military pockets on fur shrugs.

—Melancholy: There was an overall darkness to the collections, from the palette to the mood, says Wells. There were important flashes of embellishment that added some levity and whimsy, but Wells pictured a muse in the spirit of Leo Tolstoy's Anna Karenina. "It was all about the romance of the ill-fated lover. ... It was not a sad statement, but a poetic, romantic sad with indulgence."

Cuts of clothes were sometimes severe and had a seriousness in the details. It was not quite Goth, Wells says, but almost.

That vibe played into the covered-up sensuality that also cast its spell over the catwalks, Sherin adds. Instead of plunging Vs, there were high necklines, for example, but strategic use of sheer fabrics kept it all very modern, she explains. "It was revealing and concealing at the same time."

The beauty is in the choices, Holley says. "There wasn't a single breakout look that changed everything, but what the season did better than I've ever seen before is show wearable pieces. We don't need theater, we need clothes we can wear."

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