Big story: Pops, blocks of bold, bold colors

Color-blocked skirt and top in Nicole Miller's Friday presentation.
Color-blocked skirt and top in Nicole Miller's Friday presentation. (JASON DeCROW / Associated Press)

Shades are rich, saturated pastels; there's an active vibe, and feminine details.

Posted: September 14, 2011

Color is still the big story for spring 2012, a direct extension of the bold color trends we're seeing in fall 2011. However, for spring, viscose fabrics in heavily saturated pastels were the main stars of the 75-plus designers' ready-to-wear collections at Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week 2012.

Carolina Herrera gave us a sophisticated grouping of tulip skirts, tiered maxi dresses, and evening gowns in pigment-strong minty greens, chalky blues, and sunshine yellows. Nicole Miller gave her color-blocked leggings an athletic rocker vibe by pairing them with leather tunics, stripes, and leather.

And Tuesday, Tory Burch mixed prints in shades of mulberry and mustards for a sophisticated collection of walking shorts plus ruffle-trimmed and pleated skirts.

Feminine details and color blocking are major looks for spring 2012: look for maxi dresses, shorts, and frilly blouses. Blazers with short sleeves and color-blocked detailing will jazz up sheaths and ankle-length skirts.

Pocketbooks are big. Heels have a serious wedge. Shoulders and backs are celebrated this spring with deep V's and cut-out detailing under collarbones. Rachel Roy ended her presentation with a belted teal blue gown with a deep cowl neck that was an absolute stunner.

Designers Peter Som for Tommy Hilfiger (a Michelle Obama favorite) and Tracy Reese changed up their historically neutral, tailored games in favor of presentations that surprised us. Som sent color-blocked caftans down Hilfiger's runway. And Reese paired sparkling cap-sleeved tops with roomy knee-length shorts in deep blues and florals.

BCBG mixed deep oranges and blues with soft grays for a winning collection of ankle-length dresses baring decolletage and, of course, ankle-length hems. The get-up-and-go never looked so good.

"All this tells me is that people are in the mood to travel," said trend watcher Robert Verdi as he strolled out of the Carlos Miele ready-to-wear show Monday morning.

Miele, known for red-carpet gowns in sparkling red and black fabrics, presented a formal collection bursting with glorious citrus colors. Think off-the-shoulder coral and orange gowns, stunning sparkling creams, and amazing blues.

"Everything is packable, sheer, and light," said Verdi. "I mean we are seeing patterns with literally birds on them, like in Carolina Herrera. People just want to get away."

- Elizabeth Wellington


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