It seems that each season, when we report the fashion runway's highlights, we find some design statements that are holdovers from the previous season. That's because fashion evolves, as styles build on previous silhouettes, and then extend to a look that is more exciting, something that makes you drop your jaw and say, "Wow!"
So, while last season we remarked on the interesting prints the runway presented, this season-winter, when we usually expect woolen tweeds and solid cashmeres-we are finding all manner of surprising print applications, splashes of color, and demure patterns, many of which (from Erdem, Ralph Lauren, Rodarte, and of course, the perennial pattern guru, Missoni) will assuredly make you say "Oooh! There are also intricate, textured surfaces, resplendent with embroidery, fur, trims, and painterly looks.
Similarly, in winter, we expect suits and warm wools, of course, but the newest suitings draw on last season's unusual pairings: Mix-and-match suits that are simply not your mother's lunch-club outfits. What we have this winter are far more attention-grabbing ensembles-from Ports 1961, Balenciaga by Nicolas Ghesquière, and Marc Jacobs among the many-some with asymmetric jackets, or unexpected poufy skirts, or unusual leggings as a suit bottom. Suit jackets are not classic, either; they are tapered in some places and loose in others, sometimes with unusual collars, while sleeves are non-traditional, as well, with raglan, leg-o'-mutton, or even saddle shoulders.
This winter's finery draws on all the richness we've seen the past few season-lots of glitz and an abundance of fur-and at almost every show (Alexander McQueen, Balmain, Emilio Pucci, Rochas, Jason Wu, and Proenza Schouler, among the countless runway presentations) there was what we'd call (for lack of another name) sporty luxury: Woolen suits with lots of lace and opulent fur; or tweeds with over-the-top trims in glamorous Lurex; or fantastic necklaces on plain cashmeres; or solid Melton wools with dramatic embroideries. Fur was in evidence nearly everywhere-Fendi (of course), Lanvin, Chanel, Michael Kors, Gucci, Valentino, Thakoon, among the hordes.
The past two seasons we've seen lots of bare leg; this season legs are quite visible, but swathed in silhouette-hugging leggings, clingy Spandex, or in very tapered pants. Look to John Galliano, Akris, Dries Van Noten, Prada, and Vera Wang for some of these narrow-leg fashions.
The neutrals are still in full force, and the canvas that in past seasons so readily embraced ivory, vanilla, cream, beige, and tan, has now exploded to all tones neutral, from charcoal and pewter to mushroom and fawn.
When you start shopping for these winter wonders, show-stoppers are what you'll find.