By Amelia Rasmus
You know the old advice: Before a woman leaves the house she should take off one item, lest she look overdressed.
Fall fashion is all about piling it on, when it comes to jewelry, patterns, layers of black, accessories, leg warmers, anything.
Why wear one belt, when you can double up with two? Why choose jeans when you can rock out in velvet trousers? Why clasp on a fragile gold necklace when you can jangle around a giant, clanking chain? Why put on a sensible jacket when you can bundle up in a major, statement-making overcoat?
Why return to that plain little black dress when you could don a really little black dress with a fluffy skirt, bows, lace, feathers and ruffles?
The following trends show that this season, more is...well…more.
Hemlines are on the rise.
Australian crystal, fur and a sparkly film make up Dolce & Gabbana’s little cloud of an evening dress, which hovers about mid-thigh.
At Anna Sui, a strapless sequin number balloons into layers of black chiffon that twinkle here and there.
A net of glittery, black brocade hangs over wisps of lingerie-colored fabric at Diane von Furstenberg.
Whether worn naughty — with fierce, thigh-high boots — or nice — with dainty, strappy sandals — Chanel’s crew of gossamer little black dresses are cut well above the knee, making the models look like quickly sketched pen-and-ink drawings.
Channeling the greatest hits from ‘60s Courreges, Proenza Schouler’s black-and-white minidress makes for a mod moment when worn with knee-high boots and a cheeky hat.
YSL’s flouncy concoction is cut to cartoon proportions and trimmed in ruffles and bows.
Dolce & Gabbana
Goodbye, Gauchos and flares, fall’s bottoms have less legroom.
Designers at Gucci, masters of the skinny trousers, feature shimmering versions as long and sleek as a cigarette holder.
Jil Sander updates the stirrup pant by pairing it with metallic-bronze flats and a militaristic black coat.
Anna Sui’s cocoa-colored velvet slacks are tucked into furry boots and worn with a ‘70s-rocker belt and loud-print shirt.
Fringy tassels swing from the leg of a pair of slim, Diane von Furstenberg tapered-leg pants.
Black and satiny, Chanel’s pool at the ankle and tie, with a big, girly bow, just above the knee.
At Yves Saint Laurent Rive Gauche, midnight-silk britches taper above the ankle for a whole new take on the feminine silhouette.
A truly fabulous coat does more than shield you from the elements.
Gleaming down the runway at Diane von Furstenberg, a metallic silver version meets its fancy, futuristic match: a slouchy, mirror-shiny handbag.
A Jil Sander trench cuts a clean line, with a bit of a rugged, military styling in the form of a utilitarian grommet belt.
In a pleasantly haphazard way, a leather belt contrasts with a double row of black buttons on Proenza Schouler’s pea-green coat.
At Dolce & Gabbana, Persian lamb’s wool trims the pockets, cuffs, shoulders and collar, while blue-black velvet ties the whole thing into a tidy package.
Part cozy sweater, part wooly coat, a wide-necked, mustard-seed-hued topper by YSL Rive Gauche resembles a monk’s robe.
Diane von Furstenberg
Even classicist and minimalist designers couldn’t completely abandon last season’s bohemian trend, and many include shape-shifting dresses with bold colors and designs in their collections.
Proenza Schouler’s sheer sheath is decked out in geometric diamonds in a wine-stain palette.
Turquoise pop patterns brighten up a swingin’, chocolate-colored frock, with matching bandana and tights, at Anna Sui.
Red-velvet platform shoes are the perfect match for Diane von Furstenberg’s drapey, knee-length dress, which is smudged in the shades of stained glass.
Like ethereal nighties, YSL Rive Gauche dresses, made of lighter-than-air white and yellow fabric, whirl around models’ legs and float down the runway.
Little tufts of gold thread speckle a skin-toned Bill Blass halter that falls straight to the ankle.
A diaphanous, salt-and-pepper-flecked gown catches the wind at Carolina Herrera.
YSL Rive Gauche
Designers mined ancient history of the areas of Russian Astrakhan, Persia and Mongolia.
An oversize fur hat, pinned empress-style with an ornate brooch, tops a gold-metallic dress at Anna Sui.
Dolce & Gabbana covers skirts, coats, boots and hats in glossy black Persian lamb’s wool.
Chanel’s group of gray, Cossack-tapestry dresses mix baroque elements, such as fur trim, with contemporary shapes or tight bodices with cut-out shoulders.
Like KGB spies, Gucci’s models hit the runway in svelte slacks, dark shades and fur-trimmed, high-neck jackets and oversize bags.
A stole shrugged over one shoulder, a St. John’s outfit features a suede skirt the color of Turkish apricots and a double-chained gold belt.
And a paisley cashmere jacket and matching suede skirt, rendered in burnished gold and rich orange, serves as the background for a Mongolian-wool messenger bag.
Fuzzy trims aren’t the only animal influences showing up in fall collections.
Like a bird of paradise, Dolce & Gabbana’s exotic cocktail dress is covered in pure-white plumes.
A sparse fringing of feathers sprinkle a risqué, transparent Bill Blass minidress.
Cream-and-blush-toned snakeskin print slithers over many Bill Blass pieces, from nipped coats to curvy skirts to billowy evening gowns.
Leopard print dapples St. John’s skin-tight, high-neck, slinky-as-a-cat dress.
Cheetah and crocodile accessories add bite to Carolina Herrera’s lady-like, all-business clothes.