That's right, ladies. Everyday skirt lengths are falling way below the knee. But we're not talking about the tight, pencil-skirt variety; these silhouettes are looser, more free. In other words, these pieces don't require Spanx and are - breathe easy now - simpler to walk in.
"I really like the longer hemlines," said Philadelphia native Jennifer Davis of Bloomingdales.com after the Rebecca Taylor show, which featured longer skirts with pleats and polka dots. "I'm not sure if the customer is ready for this, because it looks different to the eye, and that will take some adjusting. But I think it looks very fresh and modern."
Main Line native Behnaz Sarafpour mixed the longer hemlines into her steely gray, black, and white librarian-style ensembles, as did Philadelphia boutique favorite Nicole Miller, who dressed up her comfy maxi pieces with a hint of tuxedo detailing. Fiona Cibani, the new creative director of Ports 1961, played with sapphires and emeralds for easy day dresses and floor-length gowns. No zippers. No grommets.
But what made these longer hemlines fresh and daring - and so millennial - was their asymmetrical construction. Designer labels Max Azria, Lela Rose, Jill Stuart, and Adam all presented skirts that were longer in the back. Soft eyelet dresses by Adam Lippes of Adam embraced the trend with a cute little kick pleat in the back, while Max Azria used warm beiges and cream blends so his body-skimming A-line skirts provided an "ease in movement," as explained in his liner notes.
Joe Zee, Elle magazine's creative director, referred to the emerging silhouette as the mullet - but he liked it. "The looser and fuller skirts are breezier. Everything this season is ultra feminine without being too vulgar."
As we trend toward simpler silhouettes and quieter embellishments - the spare use of metallics, a single exposed zipper - many designers are favoring nudes (blush tones, creamy wheats, and stark whites) like Victoria Beckham's surprisingly sophisticated grouping of scooped necks and belted frocks in shades of terra-cotta, ivory, and white.
"The runways this year were overwhelmingly clean," said New York-based trendspotter Tom Julian. "It's all about soft architecture and embellishments that are artistic vs. gimmicky," he said, referencing Alexander Wang's soft, gauzy looks.
Yet several designers mixed their groupings with punchy colors, too. Up-and-comer Prabal Gurung sent simple shifts down the runway that were pieced together, Mondrian-style, in teal and orange (sky blue and poppy, in his words) and ivory and coral.
And Diane von Furstenberg repeatedly infused bursts of color into the dazzling women's wear collection she named Goddess. Rich yellows and deep violets contrasted with electric blues and greens in a series of halter dresses, silken trousers, and wrap rompers. Rebecca Minkoff, the handbag designer who hosted her first Fashion Week presentation Sunday, went the rock-and-roll route with red hot pants and leather vests. (Yes, that's an odd spring combination.) Peter Som did hot pink and teal minis. Zac Posen's Z Spoke collection - which started with model Sessilee Lopez, a Philadelphia native - featured colorful one-pieces and fire-engine-red coats. Carolina Herrera kicked up her brights with ladies-who-lunch accoutrements like wide-brimmed hats.
Layers will continue to be a part of the spring fashion story, but they will now be tissue thin. Charlotte Ronson and Vivienne Tam featured sheer chiffons over matte jerseys for a series of flowy looks. Derek Lam's maxi dresses in dramatic black and white and blue prints received hearty applause. (A softly tailored pantsuit was truly a showstopper.)
The layering and bold colors also worked well with ethnic looks. Gulnara Karimova's Guli collection - a gorgeous grouping of harem pants and bold tops with ancient embroidery and silver details - was fashioned from ikat fabric.
This should all translate into beautiful red-carpet wear, so here are some Oscar predictions: We'll see simple, floor-length white dresses à la Derek Lam or Max Azria. Or there will be intentional overuse of tulle.
But starlets should follow the direction of George Chakras and go for the cocktail-length dress. Then we can anticipate some great fashion moments.
Contact fashion writer Elizabeth Wellington at 215-854-2704 or email@example.com. Follow her on Twitter at ewellingtonphl.