Forget the Gossip Girls, Joan Holloway, Bettie Page and those other retro chicks. There is a new feminine ideal this fall, and she kicks butt. If the last five years have been dominated by the preening and pristine women of "Mad Men," we are now shifting to a tomboy ideal.
We can look to Hollywood as well as the runway for inspiration — recent film heroines such as the bow-and-arrow-wielding Katniss Everdeen of
Lisbeth Salander in "The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo" has been influencing many designers this season, most notably Calvin Klein's Francisco Costa, who had the girl herself,
There were also plenty of nods on the runways to that distant silver-screen cousin
So, yes, the new tough is about borrowing from the boys. But it's more than that. It's about swagger in all its varied forms, from dandyish to downright dangerous. Here are a few manifestations of the trend:
Is it any wonder that leather is everywhere this fall?
At the extreme, the new tough is also defined by a bold new silhouette. Big on the top and the bottom, it's not for everyone. But if you could pull off one of
Stella McCartney designed the British team's Olympic uniforms, and her interpretation of the new tough for fall is also sporty, but with a collegiate twist — a varsity jacket paired with cherry-red pleated pants, for example, a silk button-down shirt in a clever print of collaged monograms and an electric blue coat with technical-looking asymmetrical zippers.
Chanel's Karl Lagerfeld takes the tough mood to more futuristic territory. His new three-piece suits (a skirt and jacket over pants) have a sharp geometry, with angular shoulders and polyhedron-shaped sleeves.
Gucci's Frida Giannini brings dark romance to the look with opulent equestrian-inspired floral jacquard jackets and tassel belts, riding pants tucked into tall boots, wispy chiffon blouses and dramatic velvet capes.
Several designers have added drama to everyday pieces with graphic lines and pops of color that could be drawn from a comic book. Consider
Bold silhouettes. Future shock. Dark romance. Drama. The toughest thing of all may be having to choose.
It's about swagger in all its varied forms, from dandyish to downright dangerous.