All photos courtesy Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week.

Fall Fashion Preview

By Debra Simon

Spring 2008 isn’t an easy act to follow, so designers are avoiding fashion risks and turning to the classics this season. They’re embracing the grown-up idea that less is more while focusing on rich textures and precise tailoring. Their collections are generally conservative, austere, sober, toned-down.

Style icons are borrowed wholesale from history. Every decade of the last century is represented, including the flapper dress of the ‘20s, the oh-so-smart suit of the ‘40s, and the wide-leg pants of the ‘70s.

Black is crowned the new black. Gray, camel, olive and mustard join the resurgence of neutral. White, cream and metallic also pile on.

To heighten the drama are romantic pieces with ruffles, bows and other feminine elements while the waist finds new emphasis.

But there are flashes of boldness, too: Jewel tones, fuzzy material, shiny fabric, clashing patterns, bubble shapes, futuristic flights of fancy and over-the-top accessories all clamor to be divalicious.

In New York, perfect girls who appear like they need a BFF to take them home and feed them a warm meal, or two, paraded down the runways wearing designers’ dreams of fall.

In the Triangle, fashion-forward shops weigh the retro aesthetic against the glam that rocks our world to come up with a look that fits each of us. So here’s an overview of trends that can put wow in your wardrobe.

Jewel tones

The pure jolt of sophisticated hues, such as plum or emerald, confers instant elegance.

Plush texture

From shaggy faux-fur to deep velvet, fuzzy adornment to tweed suit, style setters are paying close attention to fabric.


Chic & shiny

Crystals, paillettes, sequins, flashy material – anything that shines and sparkles is fierce, fun and delicious.

Pretty in plaid

It’s checkmate in everything from classic tartan to blocks of fabulous color.

Grand volume

Designs from shirts with puffy sleeves to jackets with peplums to skirts with crinolines provide bold shoulders, pronounced waists and big hips.

Nouveau girly

Ruffles, bows, lace, pleats, big belts, gauzy sleeves, full skirts, blouses with rouching, dresses that enhance curves and adorable details are all utterly swanky.

Wide pants

Flared trousers suit the season’s sharp
tailoring and power dressing.