Lacoste

Lacoste's latest proposals for sporting life (on and off the tennis court) looked like a CZ Guest and Jacques Cousteau style sandwich. Making scuba preppy was an interesting challenge that led to some intriguing hybrid results. Classic, dense stretch materials, sporty zips and colour blocking all recalled deep-water plunging - but the constructions and silhouettes somehow seemed appropriate for a poolside garden party. New to both Guest and Cousteau, however, would've been the leather wedge booties: footwear that was decidedly 21st century

Lacoste

Lacoste

Lacoste

Lacoste

Alexander Wang

Billed as the hottest and freshest New York fashion talent, Alexander Wang has a lot to live up to each season. Part of his allure is his ability to keep his fashion stories short and sweet. And this time around he did not disappoint with a collection heavy on coats in black and burgundy. To our eyes it looked like Alexander's Army: a regiment of severe outerwear with flared collars and shiny gold buttons stiffened into a carapace of leather or done in oil-slick patent versions. Waxed-leather jackets offered a more casual counterpoint to the sexy, body-clinging dresses. Best of all were body suits that could stretch up over the lower face for extreme weather, and black tops with stringy sheer panels traced out as if a lawnmower had run right over them

Alexander Wang

Alexander Wang

Alexander Wang

Alexander Wang

Altuzarra

We love a good design reference, especially one as esoteric as the well-travelled Italian comic-strip hero Corto Maltese, to which New York-based designer Joseph Altuzarra paid homage for Fall. Maltese's air of swashbuckling dash - seen in 19th-century naval coats, horsey cargo pants and high, shiny boots - was given a creative mash-up with the introduction of geometric Berber-carpet patterns and Indian coin embroidery. Dresses shimmered with silver sequin fringe, while schoolboy sweaters worn with crisp white shirts were trimmed in Indian bobble braiding. Curly black shearling gave a darker edge to the homespun feel while rich embroidery and rug-knot details swathed the collection in originality
 

Altuzarra

Altuzarra

Altuzarra

Altuzarra

Victoria Beckham

The cling-fit dress has become a signature for Victoria Beckham since the former pop singer launched her eponymous fashion brand three years ago. Ironically, neither the designer nor her models possess a real set of curves, yet the body-hugging silhouettes seem especially beefy for Fall, thanks to preppy horizontal stripes on the fronts of dresses and industrial-sized zips running vertically up the back. The graphic touches this season - from electric-blue tips on collars and socks to two-toned handbags and sliced sleeves - gave a fresh veneer to the collection. Our favourite pieces were the military-inspired dresses with brass buttons, army pockets and epaulets
 

Victoria Beckham

Victoria Beckham

Victoria Beckham

Victoria Beckham

DKNY

Even without the yellow cab backdrop to yesterday's show, we'd have no doubt that Donna Karan's diffusion line collection for Fall 2012 was designed for the kind of woman who could beat you to a taxi in platform heels. That woman is all business and the look is sleekly urban in prized shades of black with a heavy hand in leather and Alaïa-esque belts. Karan's silhouettes were often very specific - short, tight and cinched - and unforgiving to anyone not blessed with the legs of a gazelle. But then again most New Yorkers start their day at the gym at 6am, so no problem there

DKNY

DKNY

DKNY

DKNY

Y-3

Though Yohji Yamamoto normally waters down the Y-3 collection to fit into its broader audience and its parameter of informal sportswear, it's always a treat when the collection gets a kick in the pants from his badass, avant-garde design hand. You can sense Yamamoto just can't hold back on twisting his fashion architecture. Whether he's proposing flared leather jackets with nipped waists, piles of asymmetrical winter layers or the odd curly lambswool wig-hat, these are downtime clothes for the artistically inclined
 

Y-3

Y-3

Y-3

Y-3

Thakoon

Hats off to Thakoon Panichgul for giving the nod to Amsterdam's red-light district without involving the usual clichés of soft drugs and light porn. Rather, the NY-based designer created a striking print - horizontal tubes of red neon lighting - that glowed across the front of otherwise prim satin dresses. Just as subtly racy were the red-hot tops and dresses with a slick, liquid glaze

Thakoon

Thakoon

Thakoon

Thakoon

Tommy Hilfiger

For Fall, the slickest outerwear comes with a liquid-like glaze that looks as though its wearers have already been pummelled with a wet downpour. At Tommy Hilfiger, the American designer took this idea to the max, and his trenches came in shiny burgundy patent leather or in a biscuit-coloured buff leather. In either case, the cool detail came in square pockets and triangle collars that were outlined in contrasting colour lines. The same trimming was applied to small check dresses, plaid wool coats and quilted brown suede skirts, which gave the collection a neat graphic edge


 

Tommy Hilfiger

Tommy Hilfiger

Tommy Hilfiger

Tommy Hilfiger

Donna Karan New York

A construction detail as humble as a crisscross can sometimes make a whole lot of noise. The simplistic technique was employed repeatedly at Donna Karan on the front of simple black evening gowns or cross front cocktail dresses, on chevron shaped belts and even on satin chokers. The charming result skimmed the surface of origami techniques without ever dipping too heavily into a geometric discourse. But the shrunken top hats and rosy red eyeshadow added an overly staged and somewhat unnecessary theatrical effect

Donna Karan New York

Donna Karan New York

Donna Karan New York

Donna Karan New York

3.1 Phillip Lim

What would designers do without Phoebe Philo and her clinical clean up of excessive lines and embellishment? Certainly Phillip Lim seems to be entranced by the new minimalistic route paved in Paris. His sharp white belted jackets had crisp sleeves and oversized front pockets, while other silhouette-focused pieces were stripped of ornamentation. Though his abstract houndstooth print felt refreshingly new, Lim let the collection bubble up with a series of already-brewing trends like clipped collars, graphic colour-blocking and the pairing of camel with hot orange
 

3.1 Phillip Lim

3.1 Phillip Lim

3.1 Phillip Lim

3.1 Phillip Lim

3.1 Phillip Lim

Thom Browne

However fantastically futuristic Thom Browne's Fall collection seemed, there was nonetheless a hint of the past buried in the clothes. Chest torpedos that protruded from wool and velvet jackets, for example, had a glimmer of Jean Paul Gaultier's naughty cone bras, while the razor-sharp 3D shoulders were an homage to Thierry Mugler's dangerous tailoring. Of course the overall effect was anything but nostalgic. Only Brown could make the silhouette of a dress look like a zig zag or wrap his models' waists in what appear to be cashmere plaid inner tubes. The show turned out to be a fun mash up of references: black voile hats had the bluntness of a test tube tip, while the silver glitter mouths looked like they had arrived fresh from the stage of a KISS concert

 

Thom Browne

 

Thom Browne

Thom Browne

Thom Browne

Marc Jacobs

Minimalism - what minimalism? Piling on and layering his Fall looks like a kid making his own ice cream sundae, Marc Jacobs proved that there's more than one way to present the future of high fashion with his latest collection. A wool dress, for example, studded with wasp-sized embroidery, was worn with satiny leggings, a printed blouse, a wool jacket with fur tufts that looked like golf divots, tricked-out Pilgrim shoes and a multi-coloured fur hat that had the pluckiness of Janis Joplin. And that was just the 7th look out of 54. For Jacobs, more is more, and, as always, his sure hand at blending colours, silhouettes, decoration, and inspiration made this maximalist outing a delicious treat

Marc Jacobs

Marc Jacobs

Marc Jacobs

Marc Jacobs

Rodarte

Researching a show is never a superficial exercise for the hard-thinking fashion sisters Kate and Laura Mulleavy. For Fall, the LA-based girls mined the hard-knock life surrounding the building of Australia - resourcing old photographs from the Victorian period to the 1930s. Manipulating war-era silhouettes with a fresh hand and appliqued details, the result was shabby and fragile all at once. Until, that is, sizzlingly black leather - pierced with voids or cut with horizontal lines - was introduced into the lineup. Skin-tight and shearling-lined, the black and white leather pieces created a futuristic fusion with the retro prints inspired by aboriginal motifs. As usual, it was an unlikely mix that resulted in an even unlikelier home run
 

Rodarte

Rodarte

Rodarte

Rodarte

Diesel Black Gold

We love a close encounter with animal print, which is exactly what happened backstage at the always-fiesty Diesel Black Gold show. A spotty cheetah pattern printed onto ponyskin found its way onto belted coats and puff skirts, while the coloured croc (to mock or not to mock?) ran down slim skirts and jackets. In between, there was enough worn calfskin and shearling to outfit a big house on the prairie. The skins were tamed with a dose of men's tailoring such a buttoned-up blue and white pinstripe shirts that brought a straight-laced edge to the cacophony of beasts  


 

Diesel Black Gold

Diesel Black Gold

Diesel Black Gold

Diesel Black Gold

Marc by Marc Jacobs

Rocking red hot lips and an attitude to match, the Marc by Marc Jacobs girls seemed oblivious to their repressive hairdos. Such dichotomies are normal in the face of fun fashion, where grid-like studded bags and checkerboard satin dresses can be made to look prim and not preposterous. When it comes to his second line, Jacobs always seems to blaze the path for easily digestible trends to come. Case in point - dots, though tiny in scale, will be monumentally big for Fall, while thickly-framed glasses are still on top of the eyewear ziggurat. While you're at it (we're talking to you, boys and girls), grab yourself something in shimmering metallic

 

Marc by Marc Jacobs

Marc by Marc Jacobs

Marc by Marc Jacobs

Marc by Marc Jacobs

Ports 1961

A cutting-edge lady: that's how we'd sum up the woman the Ports 1961 A/W 2012 collection is destined for. It may have been heavy on the kind of pale grey, shaved mink your grandmother stuffed her closets with, as well as the non-body-con silhouettes that were staples in the 1960s, but the collection was given modern heat and pace thanks to several special touches. The shift dresses were fashioned from an incredible stiff metallic fabric, printed with oversized, two-tone square blocks. Meanwhile, the fur came sliced and piled up like reptile scales or floor boarding, which made the overall effect graphic, daring and utterly unlike anything your Grandma may have handed you down
 

Ports 1961

Ports 1961

Ports 1961

Ports 1961

Proenza Schouler

There was plenty to love on the Proenza Schouler runway (deerskin clutches, for example), but there were two things that jumped out with real wow factor. The first was the quilted, multi-panelled chinoiserie jackets that were completely reinterpreted with a modern edge and sporty look. Who knew appliquéd peacocks on a background of honey, sea green and tobacco brown could look so cool? The surface of these jackets bubbled and zig-zagged, offering a special texture much like the effect of Wow Item #2: micro woven leathers. The intricate woven techniques created multi-colored plaids or tight basket patterns on otherwise super urban clothing with a 1980s twang.


 

Proenza Schouler

Proenza Schouler

Proenza Schouler

Proenza Schouler

Ralph Lauren

As if women didn’t have enough to get confused about in their closets, Ralph Lauren is now proposing they pilfer (heavily) from the wardrobe of the nearest male. A great-grandfather’s closet would do just the trick, as Lauren offered glen plaid trench coats, three-piece suiting, wool office ties, round cornered shirt collars, driver hats, crocodile brief cases and the odd pair of knickerbockers that looked plucked from another era


 

Ralph Lauren

Ralph Lauren

Ralph Lauren

Ralph Lauren

Calvin Klein Collection

A long-sleeved black leather dress is as good a starting point as any for a conversation in pared-down, powerful luxury.  The first half of Francisco Costa's great Fall collection saw the debut of a shiny bonded leather dress with a buttercup yellow lining, exposed through slits while the model walked. Style-wise, it was a slam-dunk. So too was the built-in, controlled volume featured in many of Costa's looks, which included rounded shoulders and skirts that bubbled ever so gently. The exuberance of course was all contained in that recognisable Calvin Klein way, with weighty fabrics and a tightly cinched waist
 

Calvin Klein Collection

Calvin Klein Collection

Calvin Klein Collection

Calvin Klein Collection

Lacoste

Lacoste's latest proposals for sporting life (on and off the tennis court) looked like a CZ Guest and Jacques Cousteau style sandwich. Making scuba preppy was an interesting challenge that led to some intriguing hybrid results. Classic, dense stretch materials, sporty zips and colour blocking all recalled deep-water plunging - but the constructions and silhouettes somehow seemed appropriate for a poolside garden party. New to both Guest and Cousteau, however, would've been the leather wedge booties: footwear that was decidedly 21st century


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