by James Whitely -
SGN Staff Writer
Two weeks ago, SGN brought you a comprehensive style guide in our report of the menswear that came down the runway at the seventh annual Fashion Week at the Bellevue Collection (BFW) - five days of shows spanning September 25-29 at the Hyatt Regency Bellevue. With the help of GQ, the Bellevue collection displayed the best of the best for the Pacific Northwest in fall/winter menswear. But GQ wasn't the only fashion-guru publication to dispatch a member of their editorial staff to assist with the event. Vogue's Cara Crowley was on hand to reveal the hottest looks in women's.
The Nordstrom Men's Shop & GQ Fall 2013 Runway Show, on Thursday, was understandably menswear-oriented, but a handful of women's looks offered a taste of what was to come. The standout looks? A Ted Baker London grape short drape jacket with Boss Hugo Boss grape ombré printed dress and a Burberry Brit black double-breasted leather jacket with rag & bone black 'Ilford' pants.
Crowley, Vogue's market stylist, hosted Saturday's sold-out Front Row Fashion event with the help of fashion and lifestyle guru Lawrence Zarian. The show was officially presented by the magazine and raised $60,000 in a single night for the Moyer Foundation, a locally-based nonprofit dedicated to supporting young children affected by loss and addiction within the family. 'Vogue is the number one trendsetter,' said Zarian.
The Bellevue collection seems to agree. As the best of women's wear dominated the runway in Front Row, as well as in Friday's Posh Party runway show, it was evident many of the trends and themes featured were straight out of the September issue.
LAYER IT ON
Yeah, it's cold. Getting out of bed in the morning is that much harder now. Accept it and try to look at it as an opportunity - when it's cold, you get to layer.
Start by knowing your sweaters: High-low hems will lengthen your legs; diagonal hems are slimming, as are full button-downs, as they break up your middle. Notice the diagonal hem of the Façonnable cashmere.
For the boardroom, forgo the looser fitting sweater - it's too casual, you'll want a tighter fit. Henleys, lace knits, and cardigans are great layering pieces, because they tend to run thin and can be worn over or under. This season, turtlenecks are a must. Keep a larger, thicker knit turtleneck on hand, as well as a mock turtleneck, which will last you well into spring. Try pairing a wool poncho with a turtleneck - this look will force anyone to do a double-take.
For your outer layers, Crowley specified one piece every woman needs: a leather bomber jacket. Fleece is in this season, too - whether in scarves, coats, or wherever you find it. Plaid is also going to be big this season - it walked in New York and Milan in revolutionary ways, and this will leave a lasting impression. Try contrasting plaid patterns in your layering. You might surprise yourself, but remember plaid's golden rule: a tighter pattern is professional, looser is casual. For a jacket, plaid + tweed = you fucking win. A few of the most exciting pieces to walk the Bellevue runway were the Asymmetric Mock Neck jacket ($875) and reversible shearling coat ($2,400), both by Vince, and Kate Spade New York's 'Briella' coat ($798).
When it comes to below the waist, Front Row seemed pretty forthright. A surprising trend permeated most of the show: ankle pants. Before you say anything, remember, Vogue is headquartered in New York, where it's even colder. All the same, Crowley made it clear, your ankles and your pumps are to be shown off this season. Vince and rag & bone's lines were the best ankle pants to walk, and the B Brian Atwood 'Macias' pump proved a fine choice to put just below them.
Don't forget, though, that how you finish off a look can make or break it. Here are a few tips SGN heard: Scarves, hats, and gloves are your opportunity to add color flare to an otherwise neutral-toned outfit. Mittens in particular are in this season - don't be afraid to get colorful with them. If your sweater falls off the shoulder, offset with a more structured bag, just like you would a dress. Lastly, cashmere, cashmere, cashmere!
Front Row and the Posh Party each dedicated a segment to color. Navy, greys, and burgundy in particular should be making an appearance in your outfit on almost any given day or, as the Posh Party showed, completely defining it.
The Posh Party pitched its monochromatic look as functional in any color except for black. The key to making this look work is diversification of tones - don't lend your outfit entirely to the chosen color, but rather the spectrum of your chosen color. Burgundies for instance, compliment both darker reds and brighter shades of red. Many of these monochromatic looks had matching heels, and these were the better looks.
Front Row's runway detailed how to mix these colors. Burgundies will complement greys, other reds, and navy. Greys go well with white, hunter green, orange, blue, pearl, and, of course, black. Navy is a bit harder to pin. It tends to function differently for different people - skin tone and hair color even factor in here. It can go with just about anything, provided care is taken not to overdo it. Judge for yourself and use your intuition. Honestly, some of the looks in Front Row mixed colors I personally wouldn't, but Vogue schooled me and left me wanting more.
Standout looks of Front Row's color segment were an Aldo Martins dress with Carolina Amato gloves, and a Marc by Marc Jacobs blazer and legging with Topshop heels.
A major theme in both shows, prints offer elegance with artistic edge and a wide range of possibilities for your look, especially if you're willing to incorporate vintage. We definitely saw some '60s influence in some of the print patterns, which was true for the spring/summer season too.
Another continuing trend comes to us courtesy of Hollywood. While most of my friends didn't like Baz Luhrmann's take on The Great Gatsby (I did, but whatever), the film had an unmistakable effect on fashion before it even opened. Miuccia Prada herself worked on the movie, producing partially modernized couture pieces drawn from Prada's archives. Tiffany, likewise, delved into its own past to produce a line. Once Vogue got exclusive access to these pieces, the editorial spawned an avant-garde Roaring '20s art-deco phenomenon. The film's lasting influence on the fashion world has frankly surprised me. If you're keen on the look, do it, but despite what Vogue says, I don't expect it to survive the winter.
One of the most consistently impressive lineups throughout BFW was by rag & bone, which had a very pattern-rich fall runway earlier this season. Houndstooth will be hot this season for both men and women. Look for these patterns in suits and coats. A lighter toned piece, such as one with a cream base, will make a bolder statement. Don't fret - houndstooth is a relatively low-risk pattern, so try something new with it.
Animal prints are always in vogue. These patterns are more risky, so bear these tips in mind:
o If your print is the centerpiece of your look (like your dress), stop there, seriously. Stick to basics for the rest of the outfit, including jewelry. What you can, and should, add is faux fur (you know you shouldn't be buying real fur, so don't). If you're going to match animal patterns, do it in your accessories, not in your outfits. For the most part, animal prints are making their biggest statement in accessories this season anyway.
o Snakeprint appears to be the most prominent pattern of the season, for which we could also credit Miuccia Prada. Match it with dark colors for a sophisticated look (burgundy usually works well) and lighter tones (nudes, whites, or pastels) for a more casual look. If you're sporting print on your footwear, pairing with simple separates is always a safe bet.
If there's one thing I'd most like to take away from the women's showcase, it's something Crowley said that struck me. This season, the best in women's wear shouldn't just be showcased or dictated by the young. Women in their 50s should be trying new things, experimenting with the same curious energy they did in their 20s. Crowley added that this doesn't necessarily suggest experimenting with the clothing of their 20s, but instead incorporating the most important part of any look into each outfit - confidence and attitude. This season, the most couture confidence will come from the older generation; it is their time to show the young ones what real style is.
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