Case Studies in Style

January 9, 2011 • Magazine

Case Studies in Style

Case Studies in Style

Sun, 2000-01-09 01:00

Joseph Ungoco

Over the holidays in my native Southern California, I spent two perfectly lazy, yet still highly stylized, afternoons clearing my head of fall/winter 2010 images and making way for spring/summer 2011. When the dismal gray storm clouds that had plagued Los Angeles finally parted, I dashed to the Getty Center for a healthy dose of modernist architecture, minimalist style and contemporary art. The next afternoon, I went on a tour of mid-century modern Case Study houses. Ordinarily, I would have focused on the clean lines of the architecture and interior furnishings, but on that particular day after a week of gray skies, my eyes feasted on the bright pops of color that inhabited these famously minimalist homes. Geometry, black-and-white minimalism, and bright pops of color became my guides in helping you navigate the transition from Fall/Winter 2010 to Spring/Summer 2011.

For the Spring/Summer 2011 season, a number of designers applied the same design techniques normally reserved for all-black creations by conceptual designers to that summer staple white. Balenciaga‘s geometry lessons in white this season hark back to the mod 1960’s when the very chicest of jet set Americans crossed The Pond for their fashion. Ann Demeulemeester offers the very best of the conceptual design for which she and her fellow Belgians are known in both all-black and all-white versions. For her woman, Demeulemeester has co-opted the gentlemanly sport of fencing and made it pure Aryan goddess.

One standout from Stefano Pilati’s Spring 11 collection for Yves St. Laurent was a stark white day suit trimmed in black that evoked Mondrian, but in a thoroughly current way. This feels as fresh now as Monsieur St. Laurent’s famous Mondrian shift dress did in the 1960s. While many designers used primary colors as pops throughout their collections, much as Mondrian did, my favorite ones used my personal choice for pops of color – orange.

The notoriously monochromatic Jil Sander breaks with her own self-imposed strictures by embracing the pop color trend and incorporating another big trend for SS11, ruffles. Phoebe Philo brought both geometry and color to her collection for Celine, offering an amazing orange leather smock over crisp white slacks. Carolina Herrerra goes all the way into the pop color trend with her silk day dress. The classic simple lines take on an altogether new life in bright orange.

Needless to say, the white trench coat is the must-have item of the season. Whether you choose a classic structured European cut from Yves St. Laurent or a slouchier American cut from Michael Kors, the classic double breasted belted look in all white is the perfect topper for any spring outfit that will instantly wrap you in the season’s hottest non-color trend. For my more adventurous readers, my money is on the leather trench-inspired dress with the blacked out shoulders and sleeves from Burberry Prorsum, the younger hipper ready-to-wear arm of that purveyor of classic trench coats. Top it off with a belt or bag in your own favorite pop color!

Whether you opt for stark white or bright pop colors this season, you’ll be right on trend. We may have a few more months of gray skies and somber winter clothes, but a bright future for fashion is on the horizon for Spring/Summer 2011!

1. Balenciaga Spring 2011 RTW
2. Ann Demeulemeester Spring 2011 RTW
3. Yves Saint Laurent Spring 2011 RTW
4. Jil Sander Spring 2011 RTW
5. Celine Spring 2011 RTW
6. Carolina Herrera Spring 2011 RTW
7. Michael Kors Spring 2011 RTW
8. Burberry Prorsum Spring 2011 RTW

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