Fall Fashion Week

As falling leaves usher in the month of October—and possibly even the chance of cooling temperatures—fashionistas around the world are saying “au revoir” to the most important month in fashion. September was filled with fashion weeks in New York, Paris and London, each bringing new designers and ideas to the runway. The designs hitting the runway were from Spring 2010 ready-to-wear (RTW) and haute couture collections, and focused on mixed prints, structured jackets and leather pants and leggings, all while returning to fashion essentials.

During the Fall ‘09 RTW shows, designers such as Marc Jacobs and Rodarte emerged as trailblazers, taking a trend that grandmothers were often seen sporting in the ‘90s and re-establishing it as something chic and refreshing. Swirls of color were intertwined with neon prints that often resembled a throwback to Andy Warhol. This season, more designers picked up this look and refined it, often with a tribal or floral theme. The theme was particularly prominent on the runways of Thakoon, Proenza Schouler and Peter Som, all designers who are well known for their eccentric patterns and color combinations, as well as their fearlessness when trying out new trends on the runway. The larger florals were often reminiscent of the ‘50s, while the smaller, more vibrant prints looked like something right out of the ‘80s and early ‘90s.

Mixed prints were often paired with sharp-shouldered jackets, another trend that was seen during Fall RTW. Jackets were broken down into three categories: military, classic menswear and Victorian luxe. Military jackets played a dominant role in shows like Balmain, which used traditional combinations of navy and brass, accented with sequin. Philip Lim produced power suits in offbeat pastel shades while also turning out a beautiful sharp-shouldered pea coat, while Alexander Wang focused on double-breasted jackets. Zac Posen, whose entire collection drew from the Victorian era, was another dominant force behind sharp shoulders, with simply tailored jackets over flowy dresses.

Finally, in another throwback to the ‘80s, leather made a comeback. Leather pants and leggings were everywhere, from Matthew Williamson to Derek Lam and Diane von Furstenburg, and were certainly not for the faint of heart. Topshop is already selling out of their pairs, while Romeo & Juliet Couture on Bluefly provides a more reasonable pair for $35. For those who were hoping the legging look was a fleeting trend, the fall shows proved that leggings are here to stay.

As another Fashion Week drew to a close, there were still reminders of the recession everywhere. Designers and followers alike were still reeling from the summer fall of the Christian Lacroix house, and strove to keep things decadent while still catering to the needs of the consumer. Max Azria, who showed a total of three runway shows during New York’s Fashion Week BCBGMaxAzria, Max Azria and Herve Ledger had basics interspersed with ethereal gowns and velvet minidresses. Though fashion is a reflection of the times, it also is an escape from the times—a balance which was, for the most part, captured perfectly during Fashion Week.

So, what about those fashionistas who just aren’t quite ready to put down their copies of Vogue? They are in luck; the Vogue documentary, “The September Issue,” hit theaters just at the end of New York Fashion Week. This real life version of “The Devil Wears Prada” will hopefully be enough to tide us over until next season’s set of runway shows.

For more information on Fall Fashion Week, log onto www.style.com.