Taking Care of Business: Office Inspired Fashion Trends for Fall 2012

These Fall 2012 Ready-to-Wear collections were something much more than ready to wear. They were an identity founded in strength and power. They were an embodiment of femininity, heroism, and leadership. The garments constructed were that of the prominent, self-sufficient businesswoman, and the sexy, intelligent and fashion aware secretary. Several Fall 2012 collections set a theme for the basis of business attire: fierce, predatorial, ancient and epic. There was either an air of inherent sophistication or a slouchy sweatshirt-turned-mogul perspective (Julien David). There was a warrior inspired suit or a seductress’s flouncy renaissance ruffles. There was a contemporary Wonder Woman or an 80’s pop iconic Super Model. Color wise, a consistency of whites, blacks, grays with spurts of neon, gold, and burnt siennas reigned. Overall, there was a feeling of the solemnity and effervescence of woman as ruler.

An overarching theme of the revived and modernized warrior, through examples founded in Renaissance Knights, Vikings, Samurai, and Goddesses was present. All ladies portrayed as feminine Olympians. Rick Owens implored masks cut like armor from cloth, as a gothic or Dark Ages revival, as well as Nicolas Andreas Taralis did with his Orthodoxian Monastery-esc cloaks and shrouds. Gareth Pugh and Mugler juxtaposed Scandinavian tundric sheathes of furs and loin cloths with heavy 80’s-type shoulder pads and power slacks. Ann Dememulemeester created her own race of electric blue cockatiel huntresses, and Acne reinserted the Obi constricted, but centered and powerful female Samurai. Jean-Paul Gaultier lifted the streets to the elite, with piercings, leather and metal and made it high fashion business attire. Viktor and Rolf took a turn along with Carven and Rochas going uber-girly, with short-skirted and scalloped satin. They engrossed a mix of Klimt’s gold and shining bric-a-brac along with Hieronymus Bosch’s fire and brimstone hell and earth. These themes gave way to the woman as a complete encapsulant of the world. The Tree of Life and Eve and Earth. Viktor and Rolf gave flecs of black and gold and sienna and everything opulent, warm and seductive. All three gave a feeling of the Tuscan Middle Ages and produced a basis for which today’s secretary or Joan of Arcian can aspire.

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On the other side of this seriousness and courageousness is the fun and comic modern day super hero! 3.1 Phillip Lim started off in Pre-Fall with the Pow!’s and Kaboom!’s and Bam!’s and handed us over to Ann Dello Russo’s neon power suits and all of Fashion Week’s primary colors. Women are representing themselves as subconscious cultural heroines. Junya Watanabe entranced us with a fashion-forward cultural heritage of the superhero in a grungy, helmeted, and relaxed way; with an array of colorful flame and flaxen-haired models paired with wools and velvets and tweeds, these superheroes were that of a more subdued and piercing-eyed reality. The conclusion is that these more recent shows are definitely not the club kid or disco clothing like some of the trends seen from the Londoner’s like Meadham Kirchoff, but that of a more classic and solemn hero based set.

There is a feeling of pride and conquer. There are veils and armor and capes and crowns. These women are of the professional fashion era: the golden goddess goes to work and rules an empire. The sex-bomb-turned-secretary works her charm and plaid and manipulates her boss. The Bourchra Jarrar motorcyclist meets 80’s shoulders meets Harvard business chick rides out and meets the rest of her ladies-of-the-round table and battles. These are the women of now. The neo-classical-renaissance-heroine-badasses of the workplace.

This season has given many former faux pas the okay and raised the urban outlook to a chic higher premise. Karlie Kloss finally opened in the Anthony Vaccarello show and struck a chord with the modern business girls in us all, and the alternative style became a workplace necessity. Girls can now rip up t-shirts and pair them with blazers and studded boots, hot pink cocktail dresses with flaming red hair, and over-sized sweatshirts with pencil skirts and nose-rings. All hail Fall 2012’s new outlook on professionalism.

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