2012 February 10

Fall 2012: Richard Chai Love, BCBG Max Azria, Chadwick Bell, Libertine

Richard Chai Love Fall 2012 Richard Chai Love Fall 2012
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(NEW YORK) Richard Chai Love 
Color-lovers beware; minimalists rejoice. Richard Chai's Fall 2012 collection is stark but clean and utilitarian. The coed collection kicked off with 15 or so monochromatic looks in a grey scale. Thick vertical stripes adorned wool blazers of the over-sized cool variety and flared skirts for women, and cozy baseball jackets for the boys. Color was slowly introduced into the collection with a few long purple tie-dyed pants (with pockets of course!). The practicality of the collection was kept in check the entire time with leather buckle details on coats cinching in the waists of men and women's looks alike. Pockets looked big enough to hold canteens! A subtle Navajo influence towards the end in the form of boiled wool anorak coats in blue and gray stripes. Even the hiker extraordinaire needs a few dressier looks for evening, which Chai showed with louche maroon pants and a dusty pink and red print that adorned coats, blouses, and skirts. 

BCBG Max Azria 
The BCBG girl is grounded in her geometric silk paneling, but she might blow you away with wispy chiffon frills underneath it all. This is how Max Azria started the fall collection, beginning with a neutral palette of dove grey interspersed with white, camel colored leather, and soft taupe that developed into a more vibrant array of corals accents with graphite black. Always a lady, hemlines were kept below the knee and silhouettes followed suit, quite literally with long, loose silk pants topped with oversized silk blazers. At points, the dresses looked a little more like Mondrian canvases than clothes, but we'll applaud the artistic reference anyway. For savvy trendsetters, it's been made clear that cobalt blue is still the go-to color for accents and primary base alike. And no girl about town can be complete without her furs; and in this case, chubby bolero versions with a few neon yellow streaks. Bon chic is in the name after all! 

Chadwick Bell
With a promise of rich reds, gamely greens, and brilliant blues for the season, Chadwick Bell’s collection was a seductively conservative mix of knee length overcoats and skirts to keep everyone guessing. Understatedly sexy and classic silhouettes in white croc leather segued into full-on forties femme fatale frocks—accents of black leather showing up on suit jackets, lapels, and elbow-length gloves. It was one of those something-for-everyone situations, with the looks seamlessly transitioning from the necessary workplace suit, (equipped with pretty serious power shoulders) to floor-sweeping gowns, like a lovely style tied to perfected with gold bodice detailing But it isn’t a fall collection until a piece of fur makes its debut, and Bell trotted out a sole stole to up the opulence factor just a tad. making its way down the simple runway, and upping the opulence factor to an already rich array of fabrics and colors.  

If ever there were an occasion for men and women to rejoice in androgynous dressing, the rolling out of Libertine’s latest crop of looks might well be just that. With ladies and gents in silver studded leggings, jackets with skull and cross bones designs made of buttons, and embellishments that ran the gamut from beading to rhinestones. The pieces surmised that more is more on cold-weather days.  Staying true to Johnson Hartig’s mantra that he has yet to meet a color he didn’t like for this season, the collection was an amalgam of hues that amounted to a veritable, coed Crayola box of knits. Plaid, anchors, letters, hearts, crowns and buttons all joined forces, sometimes simultaneously. And hello, rainbow-hued sparkly skinnies! Zany and decorative showed up in everything from tights (for both), to stacked heels, proving that Libertine’s vision for autumn certainly isn't one for the faint of fashion heart.