Friday, September 7, 2012

Reading the Runway

charcoal grey,black, white fall combo

As New York Fashion Week 2012 kicked off yesterday, I thought it might be timely to say a few words about reading the runway. By reading the runway, I mean seeing the current collections and interpreting them in relation to real life and your personal sense of style. No. I'm not kidding. When viewing these shows it is easy to be distracted by the costume like character of the garments and the mannequin like figures of the models, but there is inspiration to be had for the eye that sees. And here is how to see.

Take note of the colors and patterns. Within a group of collections you will often notice that a particular color recurs in its various shades and hues. For the upcoming season some such colors are burgundy, blush, and grey.

Take note of the fabrics. The Fall collections include many of the cozier fabrics associated with cooler weather. This year there is a particular emphasis on non-synthetic fabrics such as fur and most especially, leather.

Take note of cuts, lines, and silhouettes. Is there a particular something, such as a sleeve style, that is ubiquitous? This fall there seems to be a focus on the cropped pant  as well as a return to a wider, more trouser like pant.

Look at the shoes. Pointy toes, enough said.

Those pointers (pun intended) ought to be enough to get you started. Sit down at your computer with a few minutes to spare and a cup of coffee and do a little exploring of the Fall collections here (the collections previewing in NYC this week are for Spring 2013). And don't forget, the woman that is truly chic is one who owns the trends; she takes what resonates with her coloring, her body type, and her personal sense of style, and she rocks it.

Post script (again, pun intended): Upon rereading this post, it dawned on me that you might be asking why you should even care what is in the designer collections. The fashion world works in such a way that elements from the couture and pret-a-porter shows gradually filter down into the mainstream market, even unto its lowest levels. For example, certain patterns take hold so firmly that three years after they show on the runway they are available on everything, even an umbrella at the dollar store. It's nice to have the chance to interpret a trend on your own terms and while it's still fresh. Also, you are going to be drawing inspiration consciously or unconsciously for what you choose to wear, why not make it an intentional process that allows you to express your own creative genius?

A special thanks to my guest photographer


  1. gorgeous!!!!

    I love it. I hope you keep these posts up.

  2. Agreed, I absolutely needed to read this-- and you look fabulous, Mary!

  3. Your writing is lovely, Mary! I love this post as well. Great pointers for taking what you see on the runway and turning it into a realistic outfit.

    Cheers. I am so excited that you're blogging. I will be looking out for more ;).

  4. Thanks for checking out the blog, Camille!


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