Strong colors, wasp waists and clean lines: Above, Stella McCartney peplum dress, $925, Neiman Marcus; Vintage charm bracelet, $195, Alina B., Walnut Creek; Kate Spade faceted clip earrings, $78, Bloomingdale’s. Diane von Furstenberg Oka fitted dress in red, $465, Neiman Marcus.
Rare is the moment when fashion comes to a fork in the road, pauses for a season and decides to take the unpaved path. We’re about to take that decidedly critical turn for fall 2012.
The new direction melds Edwardian elements with futurist details. What could have looked like period pieces on the runways instead had an edgy, modern appeal – as if the elongated proportions, controlled volume and sculptured tailoring of “Downton Abbey” shot through a sci-fi portal to emerge with attitude and power.
Strong, extended shoulders and exuberant silhouettes that emphasize the narrowness of a waist and the rounded curves of hips may seem overscale and overly exaggerated but oddly, it’s a combination that translates into strong femininity. Alexander McQueen, Stella McCartney and other bold designers know that modern women want both, and deliver it in deliberate contradictions of elegance and whimsy, softness and street edge.
Classics never fade, they’re just reinvented: Burberry wool trench coat, $1,295, and Chanel “Jodhpur” boots in black and silver, $1,595, both Nordstrom; Alice + Olivia “Harriett” knit dress, $368, Neiman Marcus; Kate Spade faceted clip earrings, $78, Bloomingdale’s.
Separates that transition from late summer to the chilly months ahead: Ted Baker leather jacket, $640, Ted Baker, Santana Row; Rachel Comey collage skirt with transparent panels, $395, and ALC Italian waffle crepe top, $325, both Crimson Mim, Palo Alto and Los Altos; Linea Pelle harness belt, $195, Alina B, Walnut Creek; Donald J. Pliner slingback wedges, $225, Donald J. Pliner, Santana Row; Lauren by Ralph Lauren gold hoop earrings, $30, Nordstrom.
Unexpected combinations: Alina + Nicoletta cropped puffer jacket, $398, and Room #13 leather bracelets, $139, both Alina B., Walnut Creek; Alice + Olivia leather skirt, $396, Neiman Marcus; “Little Feather” Yoana Baraschi scarf, $155, yoanabaraschi.com; Stuart Weitzman leopard and horsehair clutch, Stuart Weitzman stores, Stanford Shopping Center in Palo Alto and Westfield Valley Fair in San Jose.
Dramatic and sexy can also be cozy: Missoni wrap coat, $2,530, Neiman Marcus; Gucci suede boots, $1,250, Nordstrom; Carolee Lux faceted stone necklace, $175, Bloomingdale’s; Marc Jacobs Manhattan Tribeca colorblock satchel, $1,450, Nordstrom.
Daringly bare yet structural: Herve Leger one-shoulder dress in cool grays, $1,590, Nordstrom; Debbie Merle Designs charm bracelets in agate and Austrian crystals, $58 each, and agate drop earrings, $38, all Nordstrom.
A shapely dress defines fall’s sculpted silhouettes: Alexander McQueen dress with shaped shoulders and fringe detailing, $3,645, and python clutch with sculpted closure, $1,995, both Neiman Marcus; Miu Miu suede peep toe shoes with sculpted heel, $750, Nordstrom; Carolee Lux tassel earrings, $65, Bloomingdale’s.
Street style translated into urban sophistication: Marni mad plaid sweater, $610, Nordstrom; Gary Graham herringbone jacket, $695, cropped trousers, $495, both Crimson Mim, Los Altos and Palo Alto; Via Spiga oxfords, $198, Bloomingdale’s; Tory Burch geometric earrings, $145, Nordstrom.
Makeup: Joli de Jackie, jolidejackie.weebly.com
Hair: Tricia Turner, Artist Untied, artistuntied.com
Photo assistance: Cera Hensley, Christophe Tomatis
Models: Adair H., LOOK Model Agency; Brandilyn Tebo, Stars Model Management