New stories

Spring Style Trends: A Fashion Week Recap

Bright colors ruled the runways of Tracy Reese, Duro Olowu, Stephen Burrows and more.

Models at the Thakoon show (Getty Images)

For Spring 2012, the fashion world is urging fashion fans to cheer up and chase the blues away.

Light, bright and breezy were the themes of the week as designers displayed their Spring 2012 collections on the catwalks of New York's Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week, which began Sept. 8 and ended Thursday. The semiannual event featured almost 300 collections in runway shows and presentations around New York City, including the special Fashion Week tents at Lincoln Center.

Designers included heavyweights such as Diane von Furstenberg, Marc Jacobs, Tommy Hilfiger, Chado Ralph Rucci, Michael Kors and Ralph Lauren. Popular labels -- Rachel Roy, L.A.M.B., BCBG Max Azria and Badgley Mischka -- were also part of the mix. And the contingent of newer but increasingly influential designers like Prabal Gurung, Thakoon Panichgul and Christian Siriano continued to show a remarkable awareness of what suits women best.

The schedule also saw a number of leading black designers weigh in with their visions for spring, including Tracy Reese, Cushnie et Ochs, Duro Olowu, B. Michael America, Stephen Burrows and newer designers like Project Runway alumni Korto Momolu and Mychael Knight. Also showing collections were several small, regionally known designers like Thomas Lavone Woodard, Ray Vincent Menswear and Willie Hall.

Bright colors and breezy dresses and skirts that emphasized movement were just two of the popular themes seen throughout the week.

Other key trends included a continuation of the lower hemline that first started appearing on runways about a year ago, color blocking, skinny pants, pleated skirts, horizontal stripes and jumpsuits. The drawstring waist was also popular. And several designers played with cutouts, employing everything from thin layers of tulle and crocheted panels to plastic to show flashes of skin.

But of all of these trends, it was the bold colors on the runway that stood out most. Clearly, designers have determined that color is the key to women's hearts and wallets.

Shades of orange -- from coral to pumpkin -- battled for prominence with purple, hot pink, turquoise and mint. While some designers went for pale, most went for bold, with some designers even opting for neon shades. Both Korto Momolu and B. Michael America went for bold orange -- Momolu in flowing silk charmeuse and Michael in fitted silk shantung. Tracy Reese featured a bright coral in both a boatneck top and a flounced, flyaway dress.

Florals sprouted on many runways as well. But while dresses dominated this trend, designers didn't stop there. Many designers splashed florals on skinny pants and roomier jumpsuits and overalls. How many women will actually wear brightly colored floral pants is another issue. But with so many designers offering versions of the look, it seems inevitable that this trend will end up in stores at every price point.

Prabal Gurung's collection, which was an exciting blend of the exotic and erotic, included an opal, floral-print silk and wool pants with ankle zippers, and another pair of pants in wool crepe with floral guipure-lace graphic inserts. Douglas Hannant's fun and funky new Pink line included a hot-pink, floral-print jacquard capri pant with a matching blazer.