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Fall 2009 Fashion Forecast

September 14, 2009

by Cathy Rae Smith
founder of Culture Magazine

Recently strolling the chic-chic fashion boutiques on Waikiki’s Kalakakua Avenue, I blissfully soaked up the emergence of fall looks from designers ranging from Max Mara to Dior, with stops at Louis Vuitton and Chanel for good measure. The combination of designer and celebrity provide us with our seasonal updates.

Angelina Jolie appeared at the recent Quentin Tarantino film premiere, Inglourious Basterds starring Brad Pitt, wearing a form fitting black leather dress by Michael Kors. Perusing the fall fashion line up of various designers, this sexy nod to the bod is a dominant look on the runways. Elle magazine cites a black leather dress with cut aways as a hot item, referencing back to vintage ’60s or ’80s dresses. Lacroix inspires looks with black cocktail dresses with a striking accent bow of something like Rapture Rose (see the Pantone color forecasts below). Alexander McQueen goes big on black and white hounds-tooth patterns. Michael Kors also turns out assorted takes on the classic camel coat, transforming it to chic suits as well as the sleek overcoat.  

Another favorite American designer Donna Karan, known for her signature wearable fashions in black for fall and white for spring, introduced a line vibrantly alive with a rich crimson color that Pantone identifies as American Beauty. This appeared as a dominant accent color while touring the boutiques mentioned on Kalakakua Avenue (see the photo of Louis Vuitton accessories). Other colors cited by Pantone for fall include iron (nuance of an understated black to lend variety), crme brulee (greyed beige) and nomad (bridging the gap between light tan and light grey) as a variation on neutrals to serve as timeless wardrobe anchors. Accent colors include warm olive (a rich yellow-green to add a touch of elegance and sophistication), burnt sienna (a rich, earthy sunset color of darkened orange), rapture rose (the vibrancy of fuchsia blended with soft pink), majolica blue (exotic blend of deep teal and navy), purple heart (a rich purple that accents especially well with the olive), and honey yellow (a subdued version of the 2009 color of the year, mimosa, a vibrant, warm yellow).

The key to selecting your wardrobe updates is to go with colors and cuts that flatter you, whatever your size or complexion. If you have an eye for style, trust your taste. If that is not your natural strength, simply seek the insight from one whose strength it is. Defy age and shape standards by feeling and looking your best, then walk it with confidence and grace.

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Discuss this article

Kay September 14, 2009

Love the colors for the fall that you point out for us. Purple heart…what a great name. I’d have never thought of putting it with olive. Great idea. The orange and yellow shades sound exciting.

Marie September 14, 2009

Wow! Maybe these spashes of color will pull us out of the economic doldrums. Can’t wait to go shopping.

Linda September 14, 2009

No kidding. College starts in two weeks. I’m out the door!

Winnie September 14, 2009

Been a long time since I have seen the word “flatter”. I could use some of that, had no idea I could apply it to my wardrobe.

Ellie September 14, 2009

Regarding the “sexy nod to the bod”–sad news for those of us whose “bod” has long since passed the “sexy nod” category! Guess there’s always the houndstooth checks. But they would’t look so hot on me, either, come to think of it.

Ally September 14, 2009

Just reading the names of the season’s colors gives me the courage to attempt to “defy age and shape standards.” Here’s to the shopping spree!

Cathy Rae Smith September 16, 2009

For those of you feeling like you don’t relate to the “sexy nod to the bod,” don’t despair. The key is to dress in a monochromatic column. You can even go with a subdued color choice and accent with a splash of color in something like a scarf. You can look chic and sleek without resorting to a stick figure weight. I think of a scene in the film “Last Holiday” in which Queen Latifah transforms into a vision of elegance with monochromatic dressing and confidence. Just don what suits you and stride with grace and confidence. You go girl!

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