Models wearing cutting-edge designs are hitting the runways at New York's Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week,which is in its fourth season at Lincoln Center.
Thousands of fashion-industry insiders are in New York through Feb. 16 to see 90 of fashion’s most well-respected and emerging designers present their collections for the upcoming Fall season. Fashion trend forecasters expect designs to emphasize simplicity and employ more feminine shapes and fabrics.
Although the economy has shown signs of rebounding, industry experts say consumers still seem cautious about planning their luxury purchases.
High fashion continues to take note of consumers who wish to buy big names on a not-so-big budget. Several designers, including Jason Wu,Missoni, and Nicole Miller, have collaborated with mass-market retailers to offer collections with lower price points.
Click ahead for some highlights from the New York Fall 2012 fashion show.
By Katie LittlePosted 10 Feb 2012
Updated 13 Feb 2012
Models were decked out in ultra-feminine looks as the designer drew inspiration from 1930s Shanghai, the Chinese city’s golden age. Many of the highly embellished dresses in Tadashi Shoji’s collection featured high necks and extended hemlines.
Roseanne Morrison, fashion director at the Doneger Group, predicted designers will incorporate more feminine looks in their collection this year. But more ladylike looks will be balanced by a competing edgier look, she said.
Launched in 2003 by designer Kati Stern, Venexiana is known for rock 'n' roll inspired collections with focused tailoring and highly embellished pieces. Combining feminine and edgier designs is a style Venexiana used throughout the collection and a trend that Morrison forecasts will be big for the Fall 2012 season.
“I think we’re going to have two influences — I think we’re going to have the Kate Middleton and the real edgy,” she said. “I think it’s going to be push and pull.”
Known for their slim figures, runway models at Herve Leger’s Fall 2012 show squeezed into the designer’s signature bandage dresses. The models’ outfits were held in by equestrian-inspired leather harnesses.
Max Azria, the fashion house’s chairman and CEO, said both Herve Leger and BCBG, which offers consumers designs at a lower price point, have been selling well despite the economy.
“Honestly, both of the two brands are on fire so they are doing very well. I don’t see a recession at all,” Azria said. Rather than completely scale back their spending, women are shopping more cautiously, he said.
Tracy Reese, who launched her eponymous brand in 1998, featured colorful prints and metallics in her Fall 2012 collection. Several of the looks featured oversize sunglasses and baseball caps.
Reese is one of several designers who teamed up with eBay and the Council of Fashion Designers of America to create a collection of totes to raise awareness against counterfeit goods and celebrate original designs.
“It happens, and it will continue to happen unless we really continue to fight it,” Reese said.
Inspired by Spanish architect, sculptor and structural engineer Santiago Calatrava, Lela Rose’s Fall 2012 collection featured graphic prints and ladylike silhouettes.
Jenna Bush Hager, the former first daughter and a childhood friend of Rose’s, admired the collection from the front row. Lela Rose designs are a staple of her work wardrobe. Hager is also a fan of J.Crew and often mixes higher-end pieces with lower-end pieces.
“I think what makes a modern woman is you’re constantly wearing different labels — you know, this is a really expensive jacket with a nicer dress,” Hager said about her outfit.
The fashion maven splashed the runway in bright reds, pinks, blues and yellows. Known for her wrap dresses, Von Furstenberg channeled the color-blocking trend in this look on Sunday.
A model walks the runway at the Mara Hoffman Fall 2012 fashion show during Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week at Lincoln Center.
At BCBG, color blocking using hues such as teal, coral and dark green dominated the runway. This model’s outfit also features bits of fur and pleats, which were common throughout the collection. Lubov Azria, the company’s creative director, said the Fall 2012 looks were inspired by the Bauhaus art-school style, which lent a geometric feel to the architecture-reminiscent designs.
Break out the hairspray — with teased hair, models donning Chadwick Bell’s latest collection wore a variety of vivid colors and gold jacquard.
This menswear-inspired look echoes a trend that Maren Hartman, trend analyst at WGSN and director of content operations, is seeing this season.
“There is still this level of waist definition that we are seeing in women’s wear,” she said. “It’s juxtaposed by these boxier silhouettes.”
BCBG offers luxury buyers the lower price point of the two brands that Max and Lubov Azria will be presenting this year. In the past, they have also shown a third brand, the Maz Azria collection, but stopped with the Spring 2012 season — in part due to the economy.
In a sea of grays and blacks, the Richard Chai collection was both functional and wearable in everyday life. Consumers are increasingly drawn to looks that will offer them the most bang for their fashion dollars. This model’s outfit shows a menswear influence with a feminine skirt that is visible underneath.
High necklines and ultra-feminine dress were present in many of Tadashi Shoji’s designs at his Fall 2012 runway show in Lincoln Center.
The designer drew inspiration from two pieces of art to craft his Fall 2012 runway show — Picasso’s “Boy with Pipe” and Arlene Gottfried’s “Midnight.”
A model walks the runway at the Chadwick Bell Fall 2012 fashion show during Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Fall 2012 at Lincoln Center in New York.
Lubov Azria, BCBG’s creative director, said the Fall 2012 collection featured more looks that were "seasonless" than in years past.
The Fall 2012 marks the fifth collection for Honor. Giovanna Randall, a former premedical student and opera singer, is the head designer and CEO of Honor. Although designers are using fewer patterns this season, Honor breaks the mold with this feminine look.
A model in a menswear-inspired look hits the catwalk at the Honor Fall 2012 fashion show during Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week in New York.