The next New York Fashion Week is only a week away and I’m excited. At the start of each season, there are always classic trends to treasure, new trends to look forward to, and uninspiring trends to wish away. I can’t wait to see what the designers have in store for us.

One my favourite things about the week is thinking about how the runway trends will filter through to retail stores. Sometimes it will happen within a few months and sometimes it takes years before a new trend makes a meaningful dent in mainstream fashion. It is fun to look back on previous weeks and see how the runway translated to retail. The photos in this post are all drawn from the ones we took at Fashion Week last September.

For example, the 5 strong trends I saw at Spring and Summer 2011 Fashion Week (September 2010) are all represented in stores today. 

  1. “Lots of citron, tomato red and bright purple”: Stores are filled with bright red skirts, jeans, trousers and dresses. We have also had our fill of citron and purple. 
  2. “Beige and white will be “the” neutrals of the season”: I haven’t seen a more beige season than this one, and it’s not about to die any time soon. I do like how some beige is being replaced by a rich caramel for Fall. 
  3. “Fun 70’s inspired design details will make their mark”: There are still lots and lots of 70’s inspired blouses, dresses and flared jeans. 
  4. “It’s about contrasts”: This was very true. We saw both maxis and minis, stiff cottons and soft silks, pastels and brights. 
  5. “Move over dresses and skirts, pants reign supreme”: Apart from maxi dresses and skirts, it’s been a trouser and short shorts season. In fact, the great assortment of trouser styles has made me much more of a trouser gal than I used to be. 

The Fall 2011 Fashion Week was held in February this year, and some of those trends are also hitting the stores:

  • Black and cream outfit combinations: I’ve noticed a lot of white, taupe and cream with black in stores at the moment. It’s a crisp way to say hello to Autumn.
  • Red: Express, Talbots and J.Crew are full of bright red product.  
  • Cobalt Blue, Fuchsia and Emerald Green: Check out Shopbop, Asos and Anne Taylor. 
  • Longer hemlines: The below-the-knee midi dress and skirt is finally making a dent and most retailers are showing a midi or two right now. I hope we see many more because my clients and I need a break from shorter dresses and skirts.
  • Subtle 70’s influences: This is an overflow from Summer into Fall and it’s still going strong. Furry vests are bigger than they were last season. 
  • Lace: Check out the Loft for a lace extravaganza. Banana Republic and Elie Tahari have quite a bit of lace too. 
  • A-line and flowing skirts: Check out Express and H&M and brands like Rachel Roy, Asos and Vince Camuto. 
  • Asymmetry: It’s everywhere, and especially prevalent in tops.
  • Front vents on skirts and dresses: There are quite a few examples at Zara right now. 
  • Tapered trouser legs: This silhouette is everywhere, and still more popular than flares. 
  • Colour blocking: It was big for Spring and Summer and is moving into Autumn. Colour blocking bright shades in one outfit is especially on-trend.
  • High necklines: Neiman Marcus is full of high necklines. This was especially noticeable when my client and I were recently shopping there for scooped neckline tops and dresses – and they were few and far between.  
  • Chain strap handbags and clutches: From the Gap, Express and Ann Taylor, to most designer brands, chain handle strap handbags are completely mainstream.

One trend I expected to see more in stores by now is sharp shoulders. That one seems to be staying on the fringes.

As a fashion buyer it was my job to filter and interpret trends, and I love bringing the same thought process to YLF as I try to predict what the near future holds for fashion. I find the trend lifecycle fascinating. Some trends fade and others flourish as we the consumers decide collectively what will make it into the mainstream. You never really know what will happen and that makes it all the more interesting. 

Carlos Miele’s red dress above was my favourite piece at the Spring/Summer Fashion Week last year. We loved it so much that we’re using it as the September cover and therefore as a backdrop to our upcoming fashion week coverage.