The actual clothes presented on the runways, in and of themselves, are not necessarily the only interesting part about the formal shows as far as I’m concerned. Equally compelling is the mood, the attitude, the way the clothes are presented AND the styling tricks employed. By simply thinking out of the box (as the designers did), you can re- invent and refresh your closet

While all fashion shows have the potential to be fertile ground for styling tricks needless to say, some more so than others. There’s almost no designer whose runways are more inspiring from a creative point of view, than Miuccia Prada. Others who have been similarly consistent: Dries Van Noten, Gucci’s Alessandro Michele, Chanel’s Karl Lagerfeld, and Demna Gvasalia in his role as Creative Director for Vetements and Balenciaga.

Here are some excellent examples (taken from recent runways), of ways you can apply styling tricks to update your own wardrobe without buying anything new or without spending much money (or any money at all for that matter). I guess you could say the trick IS the treat!

Balenciaga Fall 2016 Ready-To-Wear

1 Puff Piece: Hand’s down THE most editorialized look for fall 2016 was the Balenciaga off the shoulder red puffer jacket shown over a diamante turtleneck, stirrup pants and bejeweled satin high heeled pumps. It spoke to so many of us because it was taking something practical and basic, and reinventing it to make it special and new. It’s also something relatively easy to duplicate (as are the following 14 examples) without necessarily buying the Balenciaga components because let’s face it, we all have high heeled evening pumps, something bejeweled, and puffer jackets (unbutton yours and tug it off the shoulder to get a similar look should you desire).

Balenciaga Spring 2017 Ready-To-Wear

2 What’s the ‘use’? Who says something functional and pragmatic can’t be made fanciful? Certainly not Demna Gvaslia who is known for his counterintuitive pairings. This multi pocketed vest is a perfect example. Again, you don’t need these specific pieces; all you have to do is apply the same thought process involved in mixing the streetwise with the couture like.

Junya Watanabe Spring 2017 Ready-To-Wear

3 Entrenched: The humble trench is perhaps the most iconic piece of clothing we all own and while it is traditionally been thought of as practical daywear, it’s actually the perfect piece to unexpectedly wear at night, or mixed with something unexpectedly edgy, whimsical, and artsy.

Prada Spring 2017 Ready-To-Wear

4 Twisted Sister: Speaking of trenches, which are inherently classic, you just might want to follow the lead of John Galliano at Maison Margiela and Miuccia Prada both of whom made them look purposely lopsided. This is relatively easy to do: instead of buttoning and belting yours in a traditional way, wrap it around your body asymmetrically and a bit off kilter and belt in place.

Prada Spring 2017 Ready-To-Wear

5 Mix and Clash: You don’t need Balenciaga’s bold florals and stripes or Miuccia Prada’s checks, plaids and florals to make this work. Simply look in your closet and pull out your favorite patterned pieces and have some fun. Getting dressed in the dark never looked so chic! Needless to say, the key to pulling this off is understanding the importance of scale and having confidence.

Balenciaga  Spring 2017 Ready-To-Wear

6 Color my World: It’s not just clashing patterns but clashing colors that are making a statement. Take your brightest pieces and put them together in bold, jarring combinations you wouldn’t normally think would work harmoniously. Needless to say, this works best when the pieces themselves are rather simple and straightforward. Let the color do the talking.

Celine Spring 2017 Ready-To-Wear

7 Size Matters: You don’t have to buy Celine’s, Vetements’, Jil Sanders’ or Balenciaga’s outsized tailored jackets to duplicate this look. Simply raid your husband’s, significant other’s, boyfriend’s, or dad’s closets. I started borrowing my husband’s Armani and Burberry trench coats and it worked for me.

Alexander Wang Spring 2017 Ready-To-Wear

8 The Four Seasons: I have previously noted that I found it rather fitting that Tom Ford held his see now buy now fall 2016 Ready-To-Wear show during NYFW at the iconic Four Seasons Restaurant (prior to its complete relocation and renovation) considering that it’s all about seasonless clothes, ignoring seasons, or schizophrenic-ally mixing them: the epitome of modern. So, why not treat fur as another fabric and consider it appropriate year round depending on the weather?

Prada 2017 Spring Ready-To-Wear

9 In the Clutches: Who needs a new IT bag when you can literally reinvent your favorited shoulder bag or hand bag by simply holding and carrying it differently? Ignore the strap or handle and hold tightly against your body the way Miuccia did.

Lanvin Spring 2017 Ready-To-Wear

10 Evening Hours: Why not rethink evening? Why does an invitation for a black tie evening have to mean a predictable long gown or a cocktail dress? Why not invent your own festive gender fluid put togethers as Lanvin’s Bouchra Jarrar did?

Chanel Fall 2014 Ready-To-Wear

11 Training Day: Nothing changes the look of an outfit (or adds an edge) as quickly as choice of footwear. Happily, no longer do women have to choose between being comfortable, and being well dressed. Trainers and all manner of sneakers are now offered in every imaginable iteration, in endless variety, and are now deemed as appropriate for day as for evening; for work as for play (depending upon where you work of course).  When Karl Lagerfeld showed them throughout his fall 2014 collection (pairing them with evening dresses, coats, tweed suits) his endorsement almost single handedly changed many women’s opinions about the appropriateness of wearing them 24/7 if you so choose.

 Delpozo Spring 2017

12 Lend an Ear: Maybe all you really need to instantly update what you have and bring in the WOW factor, is to add a pair of amazing earrings (and not just shoulder dusters but ones that are longer in fact). Delpozo’s Joseph Font showed some of the most amazing examples on his most recent runway.

Dries Van Noten Fall 2016 Ready-To-Wear

13 Spot On: They say a leopard never changes its spots, but that doesn’t mean you can’t change the way you think about leopard. Leave it to Dries van Noten to breathe new life into this perennial favorite by mixing it with elements of decadent, luxe menswear.

Christian Dior Spring 2017 Ready-To-Wear

14 Opposites Attract: Boy, do they ever. Masculine and feminine, hard and soft, streetwise and couture, high and low, day and evening, sheer and opaque not only made their appearance on many runways, they sometimes all appeared together in one outfit. Such was the case with many designs by Maria Grazia Chiuri in her freshman outing as Creative Director of Christian Dior. How you apply this to your closet is completely up to you but I’m sure you already have the components.

Christian Dior Spring 2017 Ready-To- Wear

15 My word: Slogan t shirts were all over the runways whether hidden beneath jackets or standing on their own. Do you want to get something off your chest (literally)? It’s a great (and relatively inexpensive) way to advertise your feelings, your thoughts, and your convictions.

– Marilyn Kirschner

Marilyn Kirschner

I am a long time fashion editor with 40+ years of experience. As senior market of Harper's Bazaar for 21 years I met and worked with every major fashion designer in the world and covered all of the collections in Paris, London, Milan and New York. I was responsible for overall content, finding and pulling in the best clothes out there, and for formulating ideas and stories.

No Comments Yet

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.