Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Trending for Spring Part IV - Shades of Gray

After a short hiatus, we'll now continue our countdown of the most important color trends for Spring and Summer 2012, as we arrive at number four, "Shades of Gray."  Once considered by many a 'boring' color, gray has truly risen in popularity over the last few seasons and it appears that it will continue very strongly in the Spring and Summer seasons ahead.

Before we move ahead with the season's best grays, however, lets quickly recap the color trends previously covered:

          10.  Lady Sings the Blues
            9.  Purely Pastel
            8.  Garden Party Florals
            7.  Neutral Territory
            6.  White Hot
            5.  Back in Black

The "shades of gray" for spring vary greatly from collection to collection, but one thing is for sure, a large number of designers chose to include one or more shades in their Spring and Summer designs.  We'll see smokey grays, pale pearl grays, and deepest charcoal, just to name a few of the numerous hues we'll encounter in next season's designs. 
Jaeger London Collection Spring/Summer 2012; photo Elle magazine
4.Shades of Gray

Gray has really come into its own in the design world over the last few years.  Once considered 'strictly business,' think gray pin-stripe suits, shades of gray can now be found in everything from lingerie to sportswear to dresses to the most glamourous of evening gowns.

And why not, gray is every bit as versatile as its parents, black and white.  Interior designers first began to spark the gray trend using off-beat combinations with pinks and purples, and now thankfully, apparel designers have kept the momentum going with shapely silhouettes such as the one above by Jaeger London and striking color accents as the orange used by Ports 1961 in the photo on the right.

Let's take a look at some of the more innovative applications of the once overlooked color that is now coming of age.
Ports 1961
Ports 1961 Collection Spring/Summer 2012; photo Elle magazine
Slides 1 & 2 - Albino, Slides 3 & 4 - Aquascutum Collections Spring/Summer 2012; photos Elle magazine
In the designs from Albino, we see very modern semi-structured silhouettes that are suitable as business attire, but anything other than 'business as usual.  The selections from Aquascutum feature the softer side of gray, but with strong, contemporary lines.
Lela Rose Collection Spring/Summer 2012; photos Elle magazine
The Lela Rose Spring/Summer collection is based largely on 'shades of gray.'  Note the designer's unexpected combination with yellow in slides 5 and 6.  Slide 7 offers a very contemporary day dress colorblocked with black, while the dress in slide 8 moves easily into evening with a touch of shimmer and multiple shades of our colour d'jour.
Charlotte Ronson Collection Spring/Summer 2012; photos: Elle magazine
Charlotte Ronson, whose Spring line also was based around the color gray, put a couple of unique spins on it. Her show opened with utterly feminine mini -print floral dresses, the floral of course on a pale gray background.  As the show progressed, she presented some very clean-lined apparel in charcoal gray with a small light gray diamond print to leave no doubt in regard to her design versatility.
Slides 13 & 14 - Alexandre Herchcovitch, Slides 15 & 16 Calvin Klein Collections Spring/Summer 2012; photos: Elle magazine
'Shimmer and Shine' is definitely alive and well in the collections of Alexandre Herchcovitch and Calvin Klein (among many others.)  Herchcovitch paired metallic grays in feminine shapes with hard hats for a unique contrast.  Calvin Klein's Spring and Summer offerings are based on two unlikely color families.  You guessed the first one - gray.  The other will be revealed as we continue wiht the color countdown.  Mr. Klein's creations are all very fluid, featuring graceful, lady-like lines.  The metallic finish in slide 16 brings extra drama to a beautiful dress in a striking shade of charcoal.
Slides 17 & 18 - Chado Ralph Rucci, slide 19 - Helmut Lang, slide 20 - Christian Dior Collectons Spring/Summer 2012; photos Elle magazine
At Chado Ralph Rucci, modern shapes based on traditional styles and crafted in soft gray took center stage.  Helmut Lang also favored the softer, paler gray hues, and fluid but modern lines.  The dress by Christian Dior in slide 20 is a retro-styled party dress in a mult-toned gray silk.
Slide 21 - Charlotte Ronson, slide 22 - Fendi, slide 23 - Jaeger London, slide 24 - Lela Rose Collections Spring/Summer 2012; photos Elle magazine
In slide 21, we view another flirty dress from Charlotte Ronson, this one in a tiny gray check, trimmed and flounced in white.  Crisp gray stripes were anything but ordinary at Fendi, as evidenced in slide 22.  At Jaeger, lightweight tweed, skirted in stripes of ombred grays comes together in a flattering silhouette.  Dotted gray netting unfolds into a darling peplumed party dress at Lela Rose.
The final image I'll leave with you, this post, is of a striped silk evening gown from Carolina Herrera, a masterpiece in geometry and gracefulness.

Only three more entries to go in our Spring color countdown.  I hope you've enjoyed out little foray into 'gray matter,' and will rejoin me for my next post as I present another fashion-forward color trend.  Until then... 

Stylishly yours,

Carolina Herrera
Carolina Herrera Collection Spring/Summer 2012; photo: Elle magazine

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