NEW YORK—The first thing women might want to put on their shopping list for fall is a pair of long leather gloves. They've emerged at New York Fashion Week as a surefire trend.
And they're practical, too, considering many of the coats and sweaters on the runway have only 3/4-length sleeves.
TUESDAY, Feb. 7
Bill Blass: Michael Vollbracht shed both the legend and the curse of the Bill Blass brand and finally turned out a collection Tuesday that took advantage of his strengths: timeless and classic suits, coats and eveningwear.
Since taking over design duties at the house more than two years ago, it seemed like Vollbracht, a personal friend of Blass, first tried to mimic the late designer's style. That prompted criticism that the clothes were too old and dowdy for today's woman. In a knee-jerk reaction, he then turned to girlie looks that were out of character for the label.
This go-around, though, he struck the right balance. A sheer black blouse with a bow around the neck worn with a trumpet skirt and embroidered coat could be worn by a stylish woman, no matter where she lives or how old she is.
Coats were strong, including a winter white wool coat with paisley embroidery and a green and olive coat with embroidery done in a graphic box pattern.
Casual cardigans were thrown over the shoulders of models wearing sophisticated evening looks -- a black ballskirt with embroidered ivory-colored roses paired with a white tuxedo shirt was particularly nice -- acknowledging the way real women dress, mixing up dressy and casual pieces.
Other noteworthy evening outfits included a brown tulle gown with a strapless draped top and full hand-woven skirt, and a backless red silk chiffon halter evening gown. Hopefully, though, when that gown turns up on a Hollywood star, it'll be without the thick black belt.
Monique Lhuillier: Lhuillier's days as a bridal gown designer pay off whenever she goes near lace and tulle, and the red-carpet gowns she previewed were delicate, feminine and pretty. She alternated shapes between slim seamed sheaths and tufted ballgowns.
But the starlets who wear these dresses need to ward off autumn's chill, and Lhuillier offered them fur capelets, brocade coats and, for daytime, a salt-and-pepper brocade peacoat.
Lhuillier used a beautiful peacock blue jacquard fabric for a corseted cocktail dress and matching bolero. It was a refreshing change from all the black and other dark colors that have dominated the season's palette.
The Los Angeles-based Lhuillier took her bow just weeks after having her first baby. She said the collection was strongly influenced by the furniture fabrics and wallpapers she studied when she was in her "nesting" phase.
Marc Jacobs: There was no marching band this time, but Marc Jacobs' show was a crowd-pleaser nonetheless with a fall collection that was more Edie Sedgwick than Grace Kelly.
The Penn State Blue Band kicked off Jacobs' show last season at the New York State Armory, but the theatrics this time were limited to the clothes.
Jacobs cleverly took some ladylike standbys of his past few seasons and turned them into tough-girl accessories. Dainty tea party gloves became leather, elbow-length gloves; mary janes got a patent-leather makeover and their heels were raised to dizzying heights.