NEW YORK -- All sights may be set on spring, but what to wear next fall and winter was the focus of Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week, which wrapped up last week after eight days of runway shows, parties and presentations throughout New York City.
Overall, Fashion Week's happenings seemed more pedestrian. There were the usual venues (Lincoln Center, Milk Studios, Metropolitan Pavilion, piers along the Hudson River, etc.) and the usual mix of reality show personalities, fashion industry insiders and the occasional Hollywood or music world big name celebrities (Kelly Osbourne, Joan Rivers, Shailene Woodley, Katie Couric and Jessica Alba) in the front row.
But the fashions did not disappoint. Looks ranged from soft, sophisticated hues to chase-away-the-cold bold brights, patterns and glitz. The inspirations behind the collections were as vibrant and varied, with designers giving nods to antique kaleidoscopes, the glamour of Gstaad, the works of Spanish architect Santiago Calatrava and more.
Here are some of the top trends to keep an eye out for in stores later this year:
Prints and patterns galore: Zig-zags, stripes, brocades and other geometrics (some embellished with sparkle or texture) aren't just for jazzing up a primarily solid color outfit anymore. Instead, they are the outfit, thanks to sweaters, pants, maxi dresses and trenches that are patterned from head to toe.
Military-inspired outerwear: It's baaack -- but with a twist. Sharp shoulders and button, zipper, epaulet and grommet details on peacoats, trenches and officer coats add a dose of fashionable force and edge to traditional pieces.
Sparkle and shine: Another trend that's not new but has been reapplied in fresh ways. Rather than all-over sequins, a smattering of sparkle on patterns, hardware, disc embellishments and thread are ways to sport glitz without looking like a walking disco ball.
Plaids: The crisscross print wasn't a major player this season, but it was a staple of a couple of major designers' collections. Look for it in its red-and-black incarnation on coats for men and women, shawl-like dusters, skirts and more.
'60s and '70s whimsy: Psychedelic patterns, modern mod-inspired black-and-white dresses and flirty feminine silhouettes bring the time of peace and love into the new millennium without looking like it's trapped in a time warp.
Colorful furs: Furs are about as synonymous with winter as crackling fires and freshly fallen snow. But designers are pushing them beyond their usual wraps in blacks, browns and beiges. Beat the cold with coats, vests and fur-trimmed clothes and handbags in brilliant cayennes, creamy winter whites and plums. Some combine several shades through color blocking.
Fabric blocking: Why just settle for one fabric or texture when you can mix, match and layer multiple ones? Leather and lace, houndstooth and herringbone, sheers and velours and a medley of other creative pairings all live in harmony within a single look.
Sheer and mesh inserts: Show some skin without actually baring any with sleeves, necklines, backs and cutouts in other places with sheer or mesh netting in nude or black. The sensuality sometimes gets a boost with sparkly embellishments or patterns printed on the material.
Autumn hues: Colors of the season come to life in ensembles that draw inspiration from nature's palette of pumpkin oranges, deep forest greens, candy apple reds, burgundies, chocolate browns and the golds of a harvest sunset.
Winter pastels: Seek out quieter moments during the holiday hustle next winter with clothes in soft mint greens, rosy blushes and winter whites.
Sara Bauknecht: email@example.com . First Published February 21, 2012 5:00 AM