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Sunday, September 18, 2005
Fall in Love
For every person who believes fall fashion and the tropics don't mix, there's another who yawns through summer in anticipation of the season of luxury, even if that means stowing finds until the rare occasion that temperatures dip below 70 degrees, or leaping from one air-conditioned venue to the next.
The riches of last fall are multiplied this season as designers continue their love affair with metallics, furs and every form of ornamentation. You might want to raid your mother's and grandmother's closets for salvageable pieces, because many of today's silhouettes and baubles are based on pieces from the past.
Maybe Mom wasn't around during Edwardian times, but she might have witnessed the British Invasion and the rise of the New Edwardians in the dandy '60s, decked in frilly blouses and shaped velvet jackets.
Try to forget the 1970s, when the look was co-opted by pornographers and lounge lizards.
Think classic. Think romantic. Then take it slow to avoid looking back one day with regret. In the wrong hands, a frilly blouse could have you looking like an extra on a costume epic or the "Pirates of the Caribbean" sequel. Tone down luxe pieces by pairing them with go-anywhere denim.
Designers have picked their rebel moment, and this is it. Covered-up chic continues into spring to provide a major antidote to pop-culture images of bared bellies and butt cheeks.
Neiman Marcus will be showing some of fall's best, with informal modeling sessions Wednesday through Saturday at "Uptown: The Fashion Event," celebrating the season's start. Here are key trends:
AccessoriesThe year closes with shine that's more muted than spring's sparklers.
Shoes and handbags are stitched from burnished and antiqued metallic leathers in bronze, gold and platinum, adding a sophisticated sheen.
Fur and gemstones also bring a luxe touch to handbags, boots and shoes, while animal prints bring a touch of nature to wardrobes, often dressing up denim.
Boots abound, and any length goes, from ankle- to knee-high, with heels that range from zero to 5 inches in height.
The ballerina flat is back, except now it's likely to be shown in an abundant, textured, multicolored patchwork of suede with added details of beading and bows.
One of the newer shapes is the elevated loafer pump, more feminine and elegant than its flat counterpart. These are also shown in earth-hued suede, like adobe and sage of the New Mexico desert.
And you won't be able to go anywhere without seeing long ropes of gold tone, jet and crystal beads layered with glorious abandon.
TextureDon't be surprised if strangers want to reach out and touch you. Fall's new pieces offer a full tactile experience, with shearling and furs, real and faux, adding texture to hemlines, wraps and collars.
If you prefer not to rouse PETA's ire, texture is plentiful elsewhere, whether in designs punctuated by beads, gemstones, grommets and matte sequins, or fabric itself. You'll see a lot of metallic brocades and lace, and new techniques allow velvet to be gilded and burned out for extra dimension.
Designers inspired by the Siberian Plains also bring a folkloric look to embroidered pieces and knitwear patterns.
SilhouetteThe bubble is back, in keeping with fall's pairing of full, diaphanous shapes with lean, fitted ones. The new bubble is more sedate than Christian Lacroix's famous pouf of the '80s. Marc Jacobs offers a softer bell-shaped skirt in sturdy denim for body. It's more extreme than a dirndl skirt, full at the thighs and tapering in at the hem.
Structured tops and jackets are often paired with full skirts or full-leg pants that are tailored and fitted through the waist.
There's a strong menswear influence, and perhaps because we are a nation at war, the military influence has crept into our consciousness. The military jacket has made a comeback, except the inspiration is more Revolutionary War than Iraq war, more Sgt. Pepper than American GI, trimmed with epaulets, braids and oversized buttons. Paul Revere -- either one -- would feel right at home.
ColorGoths will be right at home this season. All hail Victoria! Black is the new black, kicking out all the poseurs to its throne in reasserting fall dominance. But it's back with a split personality. Textural mixes of matte and shiny blacks create more visual interest than the single solid black of old. Pleating and tonal embellishment add even more subtle details.
Just so you don't look like you're in complete mourning, add a spot of color, even if normally bright hues take on a shadowy mystique. Look for blood reds, or, for nonvampires, luscious shades of berry, plum, Bordeaux and eggplant. Rich caramel and chocolate browns sweeten the palette.
Especially for men, purple reigns and will be available in a range from lavender to royal violet, gracing velvet blazers, vintage-look paisley shirts and, for the conservative, ties.
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