New York Fashion Week Report

High Style, Low Hemlines Rule Runways

Whites. Brights. Long hemlines and peekaboo sheers. The biggest trends coming out of New York Fashion Week Sept. 9–16 were a study in sartorial contrasts. Whether it was the color-happy ’70s-inspired looks at Marc Jacobs or the cool minimalism at Narciso Rodriguez, designers presented a wide range of styles for Spring 2011.

Which is good news for retailers. “The runways saw many easy-to-wear pieces,” says Jamie Cadwell, director of the Diamond Information Center. “Simple diamond studs, bangles, and cocktail rings would work well with many of the collections. This season, ­jewelry will be more of an accent than a statement.”

One of the biggest trends: shades on the paler end of the spectrum. Whites, champagnes, and beiges were everywhere from Alexander Wang (in sporty silhouettes) to Michael Kors to Donna Karan, who showcased the palette in ruched jackets and long, flowy skirts. Karan accessorized her Raw Romance collection with chunky stacked bangles, which provided a counterpoint to the softer, lighter feel of the clothes.

Not that bold colors weren’t in full effect: Intense yellows, purples, and oranges were spotted at Marc Jacobs (in the form of dramatic peasant shirts and jumpsuits), as well as Michelle Obama favorites Prabal Gurung and Jason Wu.

For evening, awards-show staple Monique Lhuillier paired her signature
embellished gowns with small beaded earrings, and fellow red-carpet
regular Reem Acra chose long necklaces with flat stone pendants. And
Marchesa—whose show-stopping dresses have been worn by Jennifer Lopez
and Sandra Bullock—added just two headpieces to adorn their latest
collection. “Even when it comes to evening wear, jewelry will be more
about detail and less about size,” says Cadwell.

As for hemlines, maybe it’s the Mad Men effect—or backlash against the mini-minis of the past few seasons—but knee-length and longer styles dom­inated the runways. Diane von Fur­­stenberg, Jill Stuart, and Derek Lam were among the designers working the more demure length. The shift toward ladylike looks also extended to prints, with Carolina Herrera showcasing some seriously big florals in her show.

So what does this mean for jewelry? “There were higher necklines on the runways,” says Cadwell, “which seems to indicate that large necklaces won’t be as popular this season.”

And if Victoria Beckham has her way, rose gold might become the metal of the moment: She asked shoe designer Brian Atwood to create rose gold heels for the models in her runway show—to match the shade of her new Rolex.

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