Someone must have given New York Fashion Week the noir et blanc memo, because it swept the runways full force! The sublime nature and antiquity of the “opposites attract” duo made bold statements in the collections of many notables, making it known that not only is black and white “in”, but that it’s full of endless possibilities when it comes to fabric choices, styling, aesthetic, and occasion. Black and white were played against each other by way of a multiplicity of overlapping fabrics in varying textures, cutouts in all the right places, and sophistication in contrast to sex appeal. These uniquely designed pieces brought dimension and liveliness to the colorless palette, but most importantly the runway.
Marc Jacobs‘ collection was an ode to the mod ladies of the 60s, a la Twiggy. A-line and sheath silhouettes served as the foundation for skirts and dresses adorned with black and white stripes and patterns of all shapes, sizes, and design technique, creating an optical illusion forecasting spring’s look. There was equal opportunity in design, as stripes, woven patterns, and sheer inserts graced garments vertically, horizontally, and in unique patterns at the hands of Marc Jacobs’ design genius.
Accessories complimented the simplistic drama of the collection in mocking arrays of black and white design, in forms of envelop clutches, mini structured satchels, and pointed, printed pumps and flats (tongue twister, ehh?).
Rachel Zoe’s collection was the epitome of ‘city girl chic’ in every aspect. Maxi skirts, her signature pant suits, and gorgeous gowns, some accented with a statement piece of a tassel-like necklace to dazzle and define, and others topped with a reigning fedora or floppy hat ready for a sunny spring day. The show opened with a black and white number, a white maxi skirt of a free flowing fabric, paired with a black top with a plunging neckline for dramatic effect, and a white structured jacket to block the breeze.
This look set the tone for the collection, and was followed by pieces that featured B&W having fun with each other, set in clean lines of a structured sheath, and authority in a flared pant that bared a single black stripe at its length, in juxtaposition to a horizontal stripe accenting a simple sleeveless tunic.
As Rachel Zoe’s interpretation of the black and white relationship played on sheer simplicity and appeal to the city girl dressed in her best, Oscar de la Renta turned heads in his romantic rendition of a collection that could bring tears to your eyes. His manipulation of fabrics such as leather and lace brought breathtaking dimension and star quality to each piece, respectively. This white lace sheath dress accented with black, abstract designs adds a fun note to a highly romantic and sophisticated frock. The leather belt that cinches the waist brings the look to a level of chic edginess that could take a girl from zero to 60 any day.
This pinstripe suit didn’t disappoint either; in fact, it speaks loudly to the fashion forward city girl wanting to make a statement, or the sophisticate stuck in her ways for that matter.
The gown with the Cruella Deville like ways about it (in a good way, of course) left a lasting impression as well, creating balance with mostly white on one side, and a high slit on the other, serving as the separating line between the two extremes. Makes the imagination run a little wild, huh?
Keeping the momentum of sexy going, Alexander Wang’s opinion of how black and white should coexist took us to another world. His graphic piecing approach, using leather as the staple, added mystery and created illusions with the purpose to play with the eyes. It had all of us suspended in a sea of “wow”. Lines, on lines, on lines that weren’t just lines, but gaps placed on purpose to bare skin in places dresses don’t normally allow with basic construction. His artistic genius was captivating, and his specific use of black and white was cut with precision—literally.
To sum up the black and white affair, Ralph Lauren takes us back 7 decades to the dainty fortress of the forties. Frilly frocks, hats placed ever so gently upon a coif, and even slightly squared peter pan collars—in black and white of course. There was definitely a modern twist on this memorable reference to a time in history, and could be seen in the minimalistic approach to design and accessories, taking some of the ‘frill out of the frock’, if you will. Bold belts in a variety of styles not only did its obvious job of a masterful cinch, but served as a contrasting focal point to many of the looks. ‘Twas decadent indeed.
It seems like the dynamic black and white duo, famous for making old movies and photos seem so much more filled with wisdom and secrets, is here to stay. It’s made its mark all over the catwalk this season, and will surely follow suit in the closets of many this spring. You know what ‘they’ say, “black and white can do anything color can”.