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Highlights of the Spring 2012 Collections, from A-Z...

Photo: Left Balenciaga; Center Chanel; Right: Ralph Lauren

- by Marilyn Kirschner

Past articles:

Fall/Winter 2012 Report
Spring/Summer 2011 Report
Fall/Winter 2010 Report
Spring/Summer 2010 Report
Fall/Winter 2009 Report
Spring/Summer 2009 Report
Fall/Winter 2008 Report
Spring/Summer 2008 Report
Fall/Winter 2007 Report
Spring/Summer 2007 Report
Fall/Winter 2006 Report
Spring/Summer 2006 Report
Bernadine Morris "Ten Best Looks" of the Spring 2006 Season
Fall/Winter 2005 Report
Bernadine Morris's "10 Best Looks" of the Fall 2005 Season
Sprijng/Summer 2005 Report
Bernadine Morris's "10 Best Looks" of the Spring 2005 Season
Fall/Winter 2004 Report
Bernadine Morris's "10 Best Looks" of the Fall 2004 Season
Spring/Summer 2004 Report
Bernadine Morris's "10 Best Looks" of the Spring 2004 Season

Fall/Winter 2003 Report
Spring/Summer 2003 Report

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Here we are, smack dab in the middle of the holiday season. The pre-fall 2012 shows are underway, the major runway shows for fall 2012 will begin in just a few months, and the clothing seen on runways for spring 2012 will slowly filter into the stores. We are constantly being barraged by a seemingly endless revolving door of new designs, more collections, and more and more seasons. Of course in the end, what really matters are not fly by night trends that come and go, but good, if not hopefully, great design: from the the most practical and utilitarian pieces, to those that represent the most fanstastical flights of fancy. Which by the way, is at the heart of a new exhibition at the Museum at FIT, appropriately called, ''Fashion, A-Z: Highlights from the Collection at the Museum at FIT (Part One, now through May 8, 2012, Part Two, May 23 - November 10, 2012). And so, with this in mind, as I looked back over the international collections, shown this past September and October, I thought it would be fun to highlight the most important themes in alphabetical order.

A - Art inspired fashion: We can debate whether or not fashion is art til we're blue in the face but who can argue that Picasso was one the worlds most influential artists of all time?( 1); Azzedine Alaia: absent, but hardly forgotten (one of the most revered designers in the world, he does not show with the rest of the pack but only when he is ready)

B - The Belted Waist: waist defining belts in all shapes and sizes, from teeny tiny to statement making, abound (2); Blouse Beautiful: an irreplaceable wardrobe staple- simply pair with pants, a skirt in any length, jeans, or shorts, and instant presto!( 3)

C - Colored leathers: supple luxurious skins, in a variety of appealing hues, have never been better designed, nor have they been more desirable (4, 5)

D - Decorated and embellished: minimalism is fine and dandy but sometimes a gal wants a bit more (6,7); Distinctive Knitwear: exuberant hand knit sweaters are perfect year round (8); Desert Colors: gusty sportswear in neutral, earthy desert tones has no expiration date (9)

E - Ethnic, folkloric flourishes: colorful, happy, upbeat, and joyous; who wouldn't want to indulge sometimes? (10)

F - Florals: flowers and floral prints never seem to disappear and they were all over this season (some were even embroidered) - the more unusual, the better (11, 12); Fantastical Flights of Fancy: thank goodness for the experimental creators of fashion, who did not disappoint this season (13, 14, 15, 16)

G - Graphic patterns and color blocks: always eye catching and modern (17, 18, 19); The great white shirt: what would we be without them? They look great with everything and can neutralize and tone down even the most over the top pieces; this season, they are available from traditional (20), to ground grazing versions, exemplified by Raf Simons for Jil Sander's floor length shirtdress (refer to 42).

H - Haberdashery: the fine art of tailoring is never lost on Ralph Lauren, Stella McCartney, Ann Demeulemeester, and others, and if you are not a frothy frou frou kind of gal, these timeless borrowed from the boys' staples could not be more desirable (21, 22)

I - Illusion: nude and covered up all at once; (23) Intelligent signs of life: is it me, or did there seem to be a plethora of really wonderful, wearable, smart, and chic selections, (designs that don't insult the modern woman's intelligence) to chose from this season.

J - Jackets; so much variety, so little time. These are just a few examples that prove the jacket is the most pivotal part of an outfit (24, 25); Jeans: where would we be without them? A tireless wardrobe staple, they transcend trends; and while any shade of blue (or black, natch!) will do, in my opinion, there is nothing more timeless, more seasonless, and more chic, than white jeans, which also work perfectly from day to night (refer to # 31)

K- Kinky: as they say, "Variety is the spice of life", and "To each his own" (26)