By Amelia Rasmus
Fashion is on a flight of fancy.
From travel gear for jet-setters to light-as-a-feather fabrics to pieces that look as though they were imported from exotic lands, spring styles are, far and away, luxurious, worldly and otherworldly.
Prepare for takeoff. Here’s your passport to this season’s designer trends.
Monique Lhuillier's explorer suit.
Designers show their adventurous side with safari references, earth tones, utilitarian cuts and wild prints.
Reminiscent of British exploring garb, circa 1920s, Monique Lhuillier’s khaki suit tied to cinch the waist and buttoned up to a high neckline. But slim, cropped pants added sex appeal.
Pairing an unstructured shirt with silky, mud-colored shorts, Diane von Furstenberg mixed soft fabrics with rough-and-ready style. Another outfit in her collection featured straw-hued Bermuda shorts and a leopard-print tank shimmering with a wash of bright jungle green.
Shape-shifting dresses, skirts, leather jackets and sheer shirts in every shade of the Sahara drifted down the Calvin Klein runway. A simple, drapey sheath lacked all adornment save for its rippling, clay color and a back-bearing cut-out. Cropped leather jackets topped sheer shirts and relaxed pencil skirts, all rendered in a range of dusty desert tones — from charcoal, sand and ash gray to ivory and white.
At Proenza Schouler, jackets, skirts and shirts of heavy-duty linen and even evening gowns were bedecked in banana-leaf patterns and island toile and lined in striking violet fabric. One outfit combined the two prints for a surprisingly harmonious duet of mahogany and beige.
Jungle print skirt and
shirt by Proenza Schouler.
High fashion took to the high seas.
Inspired by yacht-side glitterati as well as salty-dog sailors and distinguished Naval captains, a drop of the mariner made it into designer pieces.
Like an officer’s starched dress whites, a Monique Lhuillier suit had a jacket with a high collar, structured seaming and breast pockets. Cute, cropped pants brought a touch of femininity to the uniform.
The Michael Kors runway was awash in turquoise, the color of a clear-blue ocean. His resort-inspired collection included island-white Capri pants, paired with blueiped tops and jackets and a knee-length coat trimmed in white.
Carolina Herrera’s print of vintage swimmers on a pale aqua background splashed across floaty, little halter dresses, tight shirts and even sweeping gowns.
Chanel’s white, drop-waisted dress with pleated skirt and black trim resembled a ‘20s sailor suit.
Jil Sander featured a Navy peacoat, which extended to the knees and was perked up with a jaunty white scarf. In another ensemble, a skin-tight, marineiped shirt topped off a pair of navy-blue, sailor-size pants.
At Versace, white, womanly-cut pants and jacket sparkled with gold buttons and made for a sexy suit. Paired with gold, wedge-heeled sandals, the outfit seemed perfect for disembarking a private jet and stepping onto a yacht.
A breezy, off-the-shoulder, black-and-white tunic, paired with slim, white pants, sailed down the St. John collection runway. From the sport collection, red-white-and-blue casual duds got the preppy treatment with a sweater tied around the shoulders.
Retro swimmers on Carolina Herrera’s halter dress.
Birds of paradise flocked together at Proenza Schouler. Feathers rimmed the bottom of a skirt and covered a wild, cape-like top.
A fluttery, evening wrap dress from St. John couture, floated along in a riot of blue, purple and red tie-dye, mixing sophistication with psychedelia.
The keyhole opening on the chest and a fierce, yellow-and-brown tiger print were the highlights of a Micheal Kors chiffon dress.
Carolina Herrera’s simple, white column of a dress was adorned at the hip with a circle of turquoise and beads.
Oscar de la Renta’s bright, ethnic prints vibrated with energy. Jackets, trench coats and full skirts boasted these Technicolor patterns for a hand-crafted look. A flowing dress and long, sheer tunic sported Indian prints flecked with gold.
In keeping with the artisan feel, Chanel offered long, shapely, white dresses that flowed along the curves then dissolved into a froth of crocheted lace along the hem. And a hip-hugging, black skirt ruffled and shimmered like a gypsy’s. Sparkling beads swung like fringe from skirts and bloused around dress bodices.
Diane von Furstenberg’s strappy sheath zigged and zagged in pink, yellow, red, black and white and brimmed with fringe. A stack of red bangles gave the look a colorful touch of culture.
St. John’s tie-dye dress.
Heavenly, lighter-than-air dresses can turn any woman into a deity.
At Calvin Klein, a wave of a dress in shades of sea green and cool-water blue looked fit for the bride of Neptune.
Like a gray-green cloud, a Carolina Herrera dress draped, toga-style, from one shoulder and clasped with a gold-metal strap on the other.
Diane von Furstenberg’s filmy, white number V’ed deeply at the neckline and rippled freely from the sleeves. Gold, flat sandals laced intricately up the calf.
The pointed bustier bodice of Luca Luca’s gauzy white dress gave the effect of wings. And the strapless, black-and-white floral gown swept down the runway like a breath of spring.
A regal, Oscar de la Renta gown featured an empire waistline and a wispy, sheer, gold-flecked layer that floated over a layer of white.
St. John’s model in a form-fitting white dress looked as though she were walking through a mist of ruffles that swirled around the hemline.
Floaty Oscar de la Renta gown.
With its full skirts, boxy little jackets and combinations of simple colors and fun prints, this season’s outfits conjure up Audrey Hepburn as Princess Ann perched atop a Vespa, careening through the streets of ‘50s Italy.
A flirty, ruffled skirt perked up Marc Jacobs’ prim, minty-fresh sweater with 3/4-length sleeves and a jaunty bow. A rustic, flowered frock tied at the shoulder conveyed youthful exuberance. And sunshine orange-and-yellow houndstooth bedecked a cropped, easy jacket.
In the St. John sport collection, yellow-and-black stripes played off black-background florals of giant, yellow roses. A relaxed, full skirt brushed the knees, while a boxy jacket with pushed-up sleeves added a fun, chic-tourist feel.
At Luca Luca, short-yet-generously-cut jackets and swingy skirts the color of pressed powder looked as though they came straight out of one of grandma’s catalogs. A knee-length coat with abbreviated sleeves topped a shimmering peach skirt and ladylike white blouse.
Diane von Furstenburg’s crisp, green, leaf-print dress, tied to nip in the waist and unfurled into a circle skirt.
Flat sandals, fit for walking the streets of a foreign city, were everywhere — gold and strappy at Oscar de la Renta; sparkle-dusted leather at Calvin Klein; bejeweled at Michael Kors; and bright orange-red at Carolina Herrera.
Boxy jackets and
cropped pants by