Spring/Summer Trends 2012
From the Runways
By Emily Kochanek
Year after year, the spring aesthetic tends to be soft and floral. However, spring and summer 2012 runway trends transformed the season’s conventional feminine look, offering an unconventional and ultimately more conservative style. That is not to say you won’t see plunging necklines, but the overall essence of haute couture lines this spring is a sophisticated woman who has no need to bare excess skin.
This season, designers noticeably leaned towards a relaxed silhouette. Brands such as Ferretti, Ralph Lauren, and Gucci designed many of their dresses with a dropped waist reminiscent of the flapper style. The dropped waist was complemented by a relaxed and boxy silhouette in many collections, utilizing garments that gave volume to the body instead of clinging to it. Although fabric choices appear sheer and lightweight, a subtle bulkiness in the clothes is prominent. There is no longer a need for form-fitting outfits to display femininity.
Hemlines have also dropped to a conservative length, many appearing no shorter than knee length. Much of the Valentino collection consisted of floor-length dresses as well as knee-length A-line skirts, resulting in a traditional feminine shape. Calvin Klein designed multiple tea-length dresses, creating an elongated silhouette in a trend notable in many of this spring’s lines. Conversely, Alexander McQueen had the highest hemlines, most knee length, and used an unconventional skirt style: the trumpet skirt. The fit-and-flare trend that was popularized in fall 2011 is a newer trend that has infiltrated the runways.
Stylistic elements aside, color appeared to be the most striking aspect of this spring’s fashion. Neutrals dominated the catwalks but were often offset by coral, sorbet, and light pink hues. The expected spring pastels made the runways again, but with a vibrant, neon flair. Unexpected for the season were the darker muted tones accompanied by black. Mauve and maroon paired with dark cobalt was prevalent, as seen in the Miu Miu line. Many other lines, like Oscar de la Renta, combined the hard edge of black leather and lace with pastel, bright colors, and sheer chiffon.
Along with chiffon, lace and satin were standout fabrics on the runways this year, lace lasting for its third year in a row. Accompanying these fabrics were the more ornate decorative features such as embroidery and fringe, which both debuted at this season’s shows. Many designers have sewn fringe on the ends of dresses or skirts, some even making full fringe dresses such as the Marchesa line.
Designers appear to be moving away from animal and tribal patterns, many opting for nature-inspired prints instead. Chanel and Versace emphasized an under-the-sea theme using coral, water, and pearls as inspiration. Houndstooth check is still fashionable and can be an asset to the working woman’s style. Floral prints are still seen but are fading out and are being replaced by geometrical designs like the art deco style. The Gucci line, in particular, revisited the early twentieth-century art form that appeared subtly in the fall 2011 styles. The geometric style is cohesive with the color-blocking style, now on its second season.
Although many of the silhouettes and shapes have become less form fitting and boxy, a feminine look still pervades for spring and summer 2012. Because of the many atypical trends for the season, the more conservative style is a fresh and chic look. Patterns, textures, and fabrics give life to otherwise dull shapes and turn a traditional spring style into an avant-garde season.
To the Streets
By Amanda Ehrenreich
To create a relaxed silhouette, a basic, tailored tangerine blouse tucked into a brown high-waisted skirt will be a perfect pairing for the office. If you’re going out that night, bring accessories such as an evening bag and layered necklaces, to transform this look into after-office-hours attire.
If you’re a fan of 1920s fashion, you’re in luck, because trends from this time period were prominent on the runways this season. Wearing either a dropped-waist dress or a garment with beading and fringe will emphasize the ‘20s-inspired look. To incorporate the look more subtly, add on hair accessories such as sparkly headbands with feathers or a statement piece of jewelry. For example, for the office, you could add soft accessories like a long pearl necklace and flats to a dropped-waist dress. For a more formal event, try adding heels and a clutch bag with a bold headpiece and your pearls. People will be complimenting you on your outfit all night long!
Sheers and lightweights are the two fabric aesthetics of this season, so embrace them. One sheer fabric in particular that has been seen on the runways is chiffon. This fabric is made from cotton, silk, or synthetic fibers and allows the garment to drape and pucker fashionably. Chiffon is soft and pretty, giving any garment made with this fabric a feminine, light feeling. Watch out, however, because this light fabric can be transparent. Therefore, make sure that you wear a slip of some sort underneath for coverage unless the garment has one built in. The trumpet skirt, for example, with a light sweater or blouse, a pair of flats, and statement bracelets, creates a chic look for a day out in Boston.
Color blocking is still in style, which is good not only for your personal styles but also for your wallets, as your color-blocked pieces from last season can transition right into spring and summer. This color-combination technique allows you to incorporate the range of colors in this season’s palette in one garment. Color-blocked dresses are always a fun, flirty attire when attending a party or gathering and will make you stand out in the crowd.
Lace can be added to any type of outfit, whether it’s in the form of a vest, stockings, or sleeves; it’s still in! Another detailed look is fringe on any type of clothing, such as dresses, skirts, or even a shirt. This detail creates a hip, bohemian feel and would look great paired with boots and indie accessories, like headpieces and bold statement jewelry, to get the full effect.
Patterns that agree with simple pieces of clothing include houndstooth check, art deco, and geometric styles. These three patterns and styles not only create a bold statement, but also make outfits stand out and look trendy. Pair these patterns with basic tees, flats, and simple jewelry like studs and one bangle for a fashionable look.
Photos By Bill Downey