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Fall fashion weeks inspire new trends around the globe

Kelly O'Sullivan | Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Fashionistas all over the world look forward to the twice-yearly shows that make up fashion weeks across the globe. The weeklong festivities are composed of showcases of the newest designs from both up-and-coming and well-established designers.

The shows in the fall of 2008 brought more color and excitement into the lives of fashion followers everywhere, during what would otherwise be a dreary February.

Designers in New York sent their newest creations down the runways Feb. 1-8 during Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week. Highlights included Marc Jacobs’ Paul Revere-inspired collection, which focused on the blouson and showcased a quiet and muted Revolutionary War-esque style against a louder background.

Models walked down the runway in front of a Sonic Youth rock concert and images in a video installation by Tony Oursler that included crashing waves and one blinking eye.

Finalists for the fourth season of Bravo’s “Project Runway” presented their collections at Bryant Park, the results of which will be broadcast on March 5, naming a winner and providing them with the means to start his or her own fashion line. Other designers who presented in New York this year included icons Anna Sui, Badgley Mischka, Zac Posen, Ralph Lauren and Bill Blass.

London held its Fall 2008 shows Feb. 10-15, showing off the edgy and individualistic British style. Poltock & Walsh showed a collection that featured the color blocking of chocolate and jewel tones. Emilio de la Morena ended the double feature at London’s Science Museum with innovative tweed looks.

In Milan, the “Fashion Capital” of Italy, shows concluded even more recently. The end of the week’s festivities included a strong show created by Donatella Versace for the Gianni Versace line. The silhouettes of the collection were a far cry from flashier looks of past seasons for the designer.

Characterized by clean, architectural lines, Versace presented the look of a strong, independent woman. The industrial elements of individual pieces included the concealment of buttons along seams to avoid a cluttered look. The geometric feel was further shown in angular dress straps, pencil-thin pants and metal pin heels on shoes.

In contrast to the highly-structured constructional elements of the garments, many pieces featured prints that were echoed in the venue’s decor as models walked down the rounded runway. Compiled from historic Versace images, Berlin-based Dutch artist Timothy Roeloffs interpreted iconic elements of the brand using bold colors and graphic designs.

The Missoni show also presented some unique creations. Angela Missoni used fur in a playful and innovative way, while keeping the traditionally more mature material looking young by pairing it with floral prints and silk blouses and dresses.

Iconic Italian fashion brand Emilio Pucci showed a palette of icy pastels and trademark graphic designs to inspire the feel of an Alps vacation. From fur-lined parkas to skinny leggings meant to be tucked into ski boots, the designs looked ready to be worn either out on the slopes or by the fire in the lodge.

Burberry’s show, set to soulful music by Billy Bragg, showed off clothes in rich and delightful fall colors. Of particular significance were the collection’s coats. Whether they were wool or leather, olive or plum, double-breasted or cocoon, there was a coat for everyone paraded down the runway in Milan.

Of other interest, Roberto Cavalli’s new collection was reminiscent of Machu Picchu, Peru. The pieces included an alpaca vest, a woven straw hat and many pieces with rose embellishments, bringing attention to the details featured on dress skirts and bodices alike.

With reports in from New York, London and Milan, and Paris’s shows wrapping up at the end of this week, the fall 2008 collections are presenting many interesting new styles and ideas for the looks that will hit the streets at the end of the summer.

Contact Kelly O’Sullivan at kosulli2@nd.edu