It's the dead of winter, which means that while the rest of us get ready for spring, high fashion is already showing us fall.
Photos from recent shows in Europe left us mostly breathless — except for a disaster from Chanel. From the monochromatic patterns by Marc Jacobs, and floral frocks of Prada, to the iridescent garments from Alberta Ferretti, Bottega Veneta and Louis Vuitton, designers ran the gamut of colors, textures and shapes.
Expect nothing less in New York City this week for Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week, which runs Feb. 7 through 14.
September's spring shows brought us collections filled with airy fabrics, metallic-dipped materials, pants and flared skirts. Now, for autumn, we expect richer colors, meatier textiles and more substantial silhouettes.
Here are a few of the veteran designers we know will have an impact with their fall collections, and what we expect to see from them.
Rebecca Taylor (showcasing Saturday): The Australian designer promises modern and clean silhouettes with organic architectural embellishments, color blocking and fabric mixing. The collection will also feature soft silks in opaques and sheers. The subtle textures will be contrasted with modern structured tailoring and leather. "Prints are textural and graphic composed with a color palette grounded in muted neutrals and accented with blushy pinks, cognacs and scarlet," she said.
Christian Siriano (showcasing Saturday): The "Project Runway" favorite showcased a ballet-inspired collection that floated down the runway in September. This season, the Annapolis native said he was influence by the golden age of Russian opera. "The lavish interiors of St. Petersburg's Mariinsky Theatre inspired me to begin work on what became this glamorous and opulent collection, rich with sophisticated shapes, gilded and embossed fabrications and deep jewel-toned colors," he said.
Diane von Furstenberg (showcasing Sunday): Her recent collection for Gap Kids was darling. And her spring collection in New York soared. From the metallic birds she hung above the runway to her use of lightweight, flowy fabrics that gave the models the appearance of fluttering down the runway like the birds, she easily glided to the head of the pack in September. Her pre-fall collection (pre-fall collections debut in December and January and make it into stores in early summer) featured menswear influences with tweeds, skinny pants and vests. We'll see if these become full-on trends in the fall collection from the designer known for her ability to showcase the female form.
Tracy Reese (showcasing Sunday): The Detroit native looks to follow a successful 2012 with a New York-inspired line. Reese will combine a variety of textures for a dress-heavy collection that will focus on "sexy silhouettes," she said. There will also be an emphasis on the hourglass figure, longer slim skirts, sweater tunics and bold, "meaty" jackets and coats. Black will be the go-to color, with highlights of scarlet, cerise, teal, aubergine, tan and litchi.
Vera Wang (showcasing Tuesday): From expensive wedding dresses to her fashion and home collection at Kohl's, Wang offers fashions at a variety of prices. For pre-fall, she showed pieces that blurred the lines between daywear and the cocktail hour with simple constructions in luxe fabrics and a long skirt paired with a cotton button-down. Perhaps we'll see more of the same next week, as designers often test out trends with the pre-fall collections.
Tory Burch (showcasing Tuesday): The queen of prep, with Philadelphia roots, is a go-to brand for everyone from Anne Hathaway and Halle Berry to Taylor Swift. Her spring collection focused on the smaller details such as the use of fringe at the bottom of garments, or a metallic stripe or an unexpected pattern. We're hopeful that more small surprises are in store for this show.
Milly (showcasing Wednesday): So far, this year looks to be a good one for Milly and Michelle Smith, the brand's designer and creative director, with a much-anticipated collaboration with Banana Republic We expect more of the feminine party dresses the brand is known for but hope to see those dresses paired with edgier pieces, like the motorcycle jacket Milly showed for pre-fall.
Trina Turk (showcasing Sunday): Last year was good to the Los Angeles-based designer, who teamed with Banana Republic for a 60-piece summer collection that included bikinis and patio dresses in her eye-catching prints. This year, she joined forces with M-Edge, an Odenton-based company that specializes in protective covers for hand-held devices. Her collection in New York will be showcased in "The Box," an area of Lincoln Center where the audience is able to walk up to the models and examine the garments up close.
Carolina Hererra (showcasing Monday): Carolina Herrera's September show attracted lots of celebs: actress Julianne Hough ("Footloose") and tennis legend Boris Becker, as well as top models Joan Smalls and Lindsey Wixson. Her sophisticated, red carpet-ready gowns, jacket dresses and simple separates were all in lightweight fabrics. For pre-fall, she showed a collection brimming with celestial motifs. Could that starry viewpoint segue into fall?
Badgley Mischka (showcasing Tuesday): The designing duo definitely got the metallics memo in September. Their futuristic-feeling collection was a hit in New York. Their ready-to-wear clothing actually outshined their bread-and-butter business, which is gowns. For pre-fall they showed a Mayan tribal influence on their gowns with loads of graphic, intricate beading and embroidery. We're hopeful the idea carries through in the fall collection.
Rachel Zoe (showcasing Wednesday): The celebrity stylist had a hit with her September line for spring. She partnered with American Express for an exclusive show that closed out fashion week. For pre-fall, she showed lots of black leather and metallic tweeds over the flowing chiffon blouses she is known for. We hope for that kind of mix for the fall show.