On the Runway
New York. London. Milan. Paris. Around and around they go, fashion show after show. It’s enough to make one’s head spin. But what really makes us dizzy are some of this season’s crazy runway trends. When designers toss something memorable in their collection, something off the wall, we don’t forget it. It’s all about non-conformity — celebrating something new, strange and, often, totally unwearable.
Here are our favorite shocking looks from this season that were clearly not meant for a day at the office, plus our idea of real-life wearable alternatives.
The Bottomless Suit by Dolce & Gabbana
It’s all Lady Gaga’s fault, or Madonna’s or…well, who cares? But where are you going without your pants, lady? I’m guessing that Dolce & Gabbana’s intention here was to prove that the power of the black suit lives on — just minus the bottom half, of course. What’s, um, cheeky on the runway can be a miss in real life though. But don’t dismiss the beautiful jacket on the premise that it’s meant to be worn sans pants. We found a full ensemble.
Try this instead: ZARA’S Studio Dinner Jacket, $189, and Seamed High Waist Trousers, $79.90
Chic, sleek and timeless, the black suit is essential in every woman’s wardrobe. The cropped cut on the jacket is universally flattering, as opposed to longer jackets that don’t look good on everybody. A tapered leg trouser works whether you wear a cool low-heeled boot or a higher heel.
The Fur Mohawk by Fendi
Every fall, designers feature a ton of fur, both real and faux, and regardless of which side of the debate you are on, a furry accessory has been the height of chic lately. Now we’ve embraced fur hats and earmuffs, and maybe some of us have been bold enough to wear a furry headband. But a fur Mohawk? Well, as my grandmother used to say…now that’s something you don’t see every day.
Try this instead: Anthropologie's Lavish Collar in faux fur, $68
Brilliantly animal-friendly, this nice fuzzy accessory in faux fur is a stylish way to add warmth to your look without looking like an extra from Mad Max. The collar trend has been going strong for several seasons and, instead of a necklace or scarf (or fur Mohawk), a collar has structure and can completely change what you are wearing on top. Pair it with any high-neck top, T-shirt or even with a sexy slip dress (think Great Gatsby chic). For a change of pace, add a sparkly brooch or two to dress it up.
Pepto-Pink Polka Dots by Miu Miu
I can’t say enough about the endearing charm of polka-dots. I love them and wear them as often as I can, but Miu Miu’s long dotty coat in Pepto-Bismol pink with striped accessories is making me a little dizzy.
Try this instead: H&M’s Polka Dot Viscose Blouse, $17.96
Polka-dots are classically charming, and if you select one great dotted piece, it can be a fun addition to your wardrobe. A blouse is a great way to add print and personality to an outfit, and at this price, it’s virtually guilt-free.
Flowers Mask by Martin Margiela
Is it on right? Is it backwards? How can she see? Does it smell like flowers when she breathes? What if she has allergies? There are more questions than answers here.
Try this instead: ZARA’S Special Quality Dress, $79.90
There’s something quite lovely and luscious about the idea of wearing wintery flowers, especially when they lean more toward sophisticated than sweet. A blooming trend for many seasons now, it seems that we really don’t need any more excuses to wear flowers.
The clean, shift shape of this ZARA dress takes away any extra fussiness you might normally see on a floral dress. The jewel neckline and three-quarter sleeves give it that extra modern feel. The shift dress is the most important dress shape of the moment, its wearability (it looks great on every body type) and comfort factors make it highly covetable.
Winter White Nightgown by Ann Demeulemeester
I’m all for breaking those old-fashioned rules about retiring your white clothes after Labor Day. But a long, white cotton dressing gown with a matching bowler hat? I’m not sure if this unfortunate model is dressed to meet Jack The Ripper, or she just stepped out the door in her nightgown. Either way, I’m thinking she might feel a little chilly (and silly) in this look.
Try this instead: BCBG’S Runway Tula Silk Tunic, $248.
The winter white trend is big news this season and there are more practical ways to venture out of your house in a light, creamy palette without looking vaguely cuckoo. One that we love is BCBG’s off-white tunic. The clean modern shape is easy to wear and will float effortlessly over pants or even denim. It has the ease of a t-shirt but is grown up and polished enough for work and beyond.
Menswear “Suit” by Comme des Garcons
This lady’s houndstooth suit has sprung flowers. Giant buds are popping out of rather unlikely places. And excuse me, but is that moss growing on her head? Nature and fashion become one? Hmmmm...
Try this instead: Topshop’s Modern Tailoring Navy Textured Blazer and Trousers, $300
Just because we call the trend “menswear” doesn’t mean it has to literally look like a man’s suit. Slipping on the new version of a boyish looking jacket and trousers can be really flattering and cool. A jacket that fits a little more snug with cropped, narrow pants can change the way you feel about tailoring. No longer just confined to bulkier, sexless suits, this fresh, newer silhouette will turn you into a true believer.
This fitted navy suit with cigarette pants is the current alternative to a baggy pantsuit or a conservative skirt suit. The clean lines and sharp tailoring flatter a feminine figure and look great with a flat shoe and a buttoned-up blouse.
Allover Gold by Balmain
Hey ladies, it’s hammer time — again. I’m guessing this designer wasn’t old enough to see it the first time around. Metallics made a big statement on the runways and, as much as we love all our gold jewelry and gold evening purses, it’s much harder to wear a piece of gold clothing without feeling like you’re a Las Vegas circus performer. Like chocolate, gold is good in small doses and can be great for festive evenings out.
Try this instead: ASOS Gold Jacquard Bomber Jacket, $74.75
A classic shape, the bomber adds a bit of rock n’ roll to any look without all the hardware and zips of a motorcycle jacket. Try it with grey flannel trousers, a simple top and a pair of masculine brogues, or toss it on over a simple black dress to go from to work to dinner. It’s surprisingly more versatile than you might think.
White Thigh-High Boots by Chanel
Does anyone here know someone whose legs are long and skinny enough to pull off thigh-high, white leather boots? No? I didn’t think so.
Over-the-knee boots have been wardrobe staples for a long time, and those who have gams long enough to reap their stylish rewards should carefully consider stepping into this season’s white version. But talk about tricky. If you aren’t blessed with stick legs from ankle to thigh, then it’s in your best interest to embrace darker shades like black, chocolate brown, navy and bordeaux.
Try this instead: Franco Sarto’s Motor Boot in Black, $179
A long lean line on the leg is the most flattering, regardless of your height. This solid, over-the-knee boot with a chunky low heel looks modern and cool and can be worn with pants, denim, skirts and even dresses. The combination of a low heel shoe or boot this season with a skirt on the bottom looks stylish and brings a newfound touch of mobility and ease to the wearer.
Leopard Spot Hair by Jean Paul Gaultier Atelier
Holy hairdo! It’s Catwoman. Not that anyone can wear this ’do in real life, but it is kind of fun and fabulous, even if it’s just meant for show. Leopard spots are one of fashion’s favorite patterns and never go out of style. But we draw the line at your hairline.
Try this instead: Marais USA T Strap Haircalf Flats, $170
Animal prints resurface year after year, and it’s refreshing to experiment with them in new ways (just leave your hair alone). Leopard accessories are a great way to incorporate the trend, which will forever remain a classic, without committing to something you might regret. A leopard shoe, bag or scarf adds zing to neutrals.
We love these leopard print flats that are a fun cross between ballet flats and sandals. A tough-girl edge is added with the patent leather toe-cap and ankle straps.
A Full-feathered Dress by Chanel
No self-respecting woman wants to wear a piece of clothing that makes her look larger than she is, which is why I was a bit surprised when this black and white feathery number appeared on Chanel’s runway. However, there is something universally happy and fun about wearing feathers. Women’s clothing and accessories have been adorned with them for decades.
Try this instead: Sabine’s Chiffon Feather Skirt, $98
A feathery short skirt is a much more flattering silhouette than an overall covering of solid feathers. The pretty blush color is unexpected and can be styled with a simple, basic top like a white button down shirt or a slouchy grey sweatshirt which makes it fresh and modern.