Fall Fashion

Fall is just around the corner, and it promises fresh style. The biggest trends have been unveiled during the New York Fashion Week, and Indian designers opine on what to wear in the boardroom in the upcoming season.

Glad for Plaid

Once the identifier of clans in the windy Highlands, plaid got a designer makeover when British label Burberry took the pattern and made it iconic in the world of fashion. This year, designers Oscar de la Renta, Thom Browne and Chris Benz paid homage to the checks, incorporating them into dresses, coats and trousers. Plaid has always been rated high in the boardroom, and this fall, a plaid blazer is the best way to showcase love for the pattern. For the pattern shy, a plaid tie, shoes, or even a handkerchief work best.

Clean and Lean

The billowy cuts of summer have retreated like the fading sun, with more designers leaning towards slim silhouettes. Halston, Marc Jacobs and Diane Von Furstenberg debuted clothes that skimmed the body, with hems that grazed the floor. For the corporate world, this trend translates to slim and skinny suits, pencil pants and skirt suits, as well as well-tailored shirts with clean fits.

Prints Galore

Prints have gone dramatic – big, bold geometric prints were spotted on several runways. Cynthia Rowley, Narciso Rodriguez and Proenza Schouler created visual spectacles with a clever mix of prints in their fall collections. Says designer Deepika Govind, “A mix of infuences, and both bohemian and sophisticated glamour, influence prints and patterns in the fall. Polka dots and graphic prints are in.” There’s a lot of space in an executive’s wardrobe for the prints of the season. Shirts with wide stripes balance style and sophistication, while ties and scarves with graphic prints add flair to any outfit. The key is to stick to one particular print per outfit, as overdoing prints can overwhelm the wearer.

Colour It Right

Designers are seeing red – from bright crimson to dark ruby – for the fall. Red was the hue of choice for Rodarte, Michael Kors, Prabal Gurung and Marchesa, where it graced the runway in the form of coats, pantsuits and long, flowing gowns. While boardroom style is not really in tandem with the exuberant colour, pops of red can make a smooth transition into work wear by way of ties, bags and scarves. For the adventurous, a solid red shirt works when paired with a grey suit.

Darker shades typical of fall, like shades of wine and plum, forest green and chocolate brown, look stylish and professional at the same time, and can be paired with almost any trouser or suit in neutral colours like black or navy.

Fabric Talks

This season, fabrics have gone luxe. Decadence is the order of the day, with pieces fashioned out of cloth that whispers to the skin. Explains designer Sanchita Ajjampur, “Manipulated silken yarn, soft jerseys, modal and velvets are reinvented to create dresses, skirts, tops and trousers that revisit a few classics.” Silk shirts and silk-blend suits, crepe blouses and velvet skirts are key pieces an executive should invest in for fall.

Yesterday Once More

The trends of decades gone by are making a comeback, with designers looking to the 60s and 70s for inspiration. Michael Kors paid homage to the 70s with long jumpsuits and maxidresses, while the shift dresses and high collars of the 60s also made their presence felt. Retro elements like double-breasted suits, and high-waisted trousers are an easy fit into any executive’s wardrobe.

In-vogue Warmth

When the temperatures drop, the layers come on. For fall 2011, the emphasis was on unconventional outerwear – utility jackets, cloaks and capes graced the runways, giving the trench coat a much-needed holiday. Alexander Wang, Phillip Lim and Derek Lam played with shape, proportion and texture, birthing unique pieces that were functional without compromising on the style factor.

Says designer Jattinn Kocchar, “This fall, faux fur jackets and coats are in. Chunky knitted sweaters are also the way to go. You can choose from the different lengths available, like waist-length, mid-length, or even calf-length. Dressier parkas are also back in fashion.” The business world can embrace these options by pairing them with smart suits. A chunky sweater vest under a suit jacket is a look that’s both fall and boardroom ready.

Suiting the Situation

The suit made several appearances on the runway – showcasing both the latest trends and the sensibilities of individual designers. Ralph Lauren took the classic pinstriped suit and turned it into chic eveningwear, while Donna Karen included a camel-coloured suit that was a throwback to the 70s in her collection. Tommy Hilfiger temporarily ignored his preppy image and lent his suit a dash of 1920s Chicago mobster-glam. The common thread running through these suits? A sharp, sleek silhouette that takes power dressing from a necessity to an art.

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