By Amelia Rasmus


Bye-bye black.

This season is all about the lighter side of life.

Fabrics float, colors whisper and styles project an air of weightlessness and innocence.

From dainty, baby-doll dresses and school-girl coats to earthy-chic natural fibers, such as cotton, linen and silk, the following runway trends can help give you wings this spring.


the little white dress

A feather-light dress in elemental shades of chalk, bone, ivory, alabaster and pearl is the anti-black.

A lacy tunic at Michael Kors is trimmed with a sweet bow belt around an empire waistline.

Tiny flowers stripe a diaphanous Anna Sui baby doll.

A wisp of an intricately laced jacket is paired with a more shapely strapless number at Oscar de la Renta.

Marc Jacobs’ lacy sleeve cut-outs add a feminine touch to a minimalist, drawstring minidress.

Delicate circles dot a sheer, floaty, Calvin Klein trapeze.

The simplest frock at Diane von Furstenberg cuts a clean silhouette, and a very-mini, lace smock blouses prettily over a tied-on belt.

The subtly printed, Monique Lhuillier Jacquard day dress buttons neatly on either side of the waist.

Miniature pockets bedeck Jil Sander’s breezy shirtdress.

An obi-like, black belt lends structure to an oversize, gauzy shirtwaist by Donna Karan.

Similarly, a richly colored leather belt adds interest to a curve-hugging, boucle sheath at St. John Knits.

To anchor these angelic pieces to the ground, many designers are pairing them with the chunky, clunky platforms, made of such down-to-earth materials as wood, leather and rope.

Michael Kors

the shirt

It’s time to celebrate the shirt — whether as a white wardrobe classic with a modern twist or in the form of a belted dress.

Long-time fan of the white button-down, Carolina Herrera shows hers with ruched, three-quarter-length sleeves, worn tucked into pants or as a swimsuit cover-up.

Proenza Schouler’s sheer, drapey version ties at the neck and perks up a conservative skirt.

At Donna Karan, the linear, white shirt is remixed into a kimono-style top.

Diane von Furstenberg is the queen of the shirtdress, and this season, she doesn’t disappoint, with cotton pieces in bold prints.

Gucci’s shirtdresses have a sexy spin, showing low-V necklines, revealing cut-outs and flirty, chiffon hemlines.

Ruffles and black seams edge a simple, white shirtdress at Oscar de la Renta.

Marc Jacobs’ elongated shirts serve as dresses; slouchy versions tuck into skirts and shorts.

A full-length, Michael Kors shirtdress looks fresh in lace and cinched with a wide, leather belt.

Carolina Herrera

the arts & craft museum

From handicrafts to gallery staples, design imitates art this season.

At Diane von Furstenberg, crochet detailing trims the cropped jacket and pencil skirt of a suit.

Proenza Schouler’s simple, linen dress boasts a flourish of white embroidery along the bust and straps.

Filmy, asymmetrical nets overlay Jil Sander dresses and tanks.

Like a wearable antique doily, Anna Sui’s abbreviated, lace tunic serves as a chic, bohemian swimsuit cover-up, especially when paired with ropes of hippie-trippy beads.

Sheer, black or white, crochet-lace capes, shawls and wraps cover everything Chanel — from eveningwear to swimwear.

In a nod to modern art, painterly strokes of Mondrian-esque primary colors boldly streak Donna Karan dresses and coats.

Similarly inspired, Calvin Klein dresses are splotched with oversize graphics, a la Finnish textile maker Marimekko.

Calvin Klein

the new silhouette

Forget skinny pants, unimposing prints and delicate embellishments. Designers are cranking up the volume.

Roomy jackets and pants make up a relaxed, chocolate-brown Marc Jacobs suit.

A calf-grazing, Michael Kors sweater coat looks as cozy as a favorite blanket atop cropped pants and a tissue-thin tee.

St. John Knits brings back one of the best trends of the ‘70s, with an airy, blue-and-brown striped caftan.

Diane von Furstenberg pairs a bubble of a camisole with knee-length shorts. Even her prints are oversize, with blow-ups of wicker, bamboo, palm, kelp and other botanicals.

At Proenza Schouler, trousers, dresses and skirts don’t hug curves, they float above them, while tops billow and slip off the shoulders.

Anna Sui’s sheer blouse and flowy, cropped pants look soft and earthy rendered in shades of wheat.

Flowers the size of dinner plates bloom from the bust and hem of Chanel’s strapless, white dress.

A gold-ribbon belt holds down folds and folds of feather-yellow fabric on a Donna Karan dress.

Like cartoony, human-size bells, Oscar de la Renta’s evening dresses give Scarlett O’Hara a run for her money in the hoop-skirt category.

Donna Karan

the prim coat

A beautiful coat is the perfect antidote to air conditioning.

An unfussy Marc Jacobs coat features a double row of buttons, a Peter-Pan collar and a youthful A-line cut.

Ornate, white embroidery frosts a shimmering chartreuse version at Proenza Schouler.

Monique Lhuillier’s butter-hued, Jacquard jacket features ladylike, bracelet-length sleeves.

A white, funnel-neck, belted car coat by Jil Sander looks crisp and mod.

Tied at the waist with a black-ribbon belt, Oscar de la Renta’s A-line dress coat features a faint flower pattern.

Traditional trenches rule at Michael Kors, in militaristic shades of fatigue green and khaki.

Cropped and cute or long and swingy, Hitchcock-heroine-worthy toppers at Diane von Furstenberg sport sleeves neatly rolled to the elbow.


Cover photo courtesy of Anna Sui.


Diane von Furstenberg