Runway to Real Way. Don’t Deny It: You Want Velvet.

December 19, 2011 • Magazine, Runway To Real Way

It’s been a long fall but the bite of winter’s chill has finally arrived. But despite the extra layers and the heavy coats, the good news about a winter wardrobe is the decadent fabrics that can finally be unfurled. One of the most sumptuous of the lot is velvet, a finish so fabulous you’ll want to make an occasion to wear it. And this season’s runways spared no time is trotting out velvet’s tantalizing wares, from printed pants to color-blocked dresses. Although its lusciousness begs for formal wear, velvet’s modern manifestation has been cut into more casual shapes, making it one of the most versatile (and coveted) looks of the moment.

The sheer beauty of wearing a velvet garment is in watching its movement. In long, lithe silhouettes, it seems to cascade down the body like liquid. So for a contemporary velvet-clad look, we prefer longer shapes to short ones (this is winter wear, after all). And as an updated version of the Goth-like black velvet of the 90’s brown and early 00’s, a deep espresso brown possesses all the wearability of a neutral. Nicole Farhi’s long-sleeved dress is a perfect example of this sleek, editorial look. If the allover velvet is too much for day to day, T by Alexander Wang offers up a suitable piece for either work or play in this luxe maxi skirt, with the same shimmering finish.

Velvet pants were all over the Fall 2011 runways. The most prevalent shape was loose and billowing, almost like a harem pant. And fun as those may be, their life expectancy can’t be longer than similar risky trends. That’s why we prefer a more streamlined velvet pant that can again be dressed up or down. Elie Tahari, the master of impeccable tailoring, cut his velvet pants into slim-fit trousers that can be easily pared with a suit jacket or flowing blouse. Another similar shape we love comes compliments of Reiss, who took retro-inspired crushed velvet and turned into a current style of skinny jeans. The available colors, gleaming gold and cool blue, can add a much-needed punch of color to a mundane winter outfit.

The prints in velvet were wild this season, ranging from animal print motifs at Marc Jacobs to geometric patterns at Proenza Schouler. But the boys of PS took their romance with velvet to the next level by incorporating other kinds of patterning as well. The sliced up, cut out black velvet blouse was both obvious and unexpected, so much so that we found ourselves dying for one right off the runway. Luckily, the peek-a-boo strips were somewhat easy to track down, even in more daywear friendly shapes like the one by Joie. And whether you dare to go bare underneath (maybe not for the office), or pair it with a basic tank, this look is both fresh and edgy.

Whether you’ve seen David Lynch’s bizarre, enigmatic epic “Blue Velvet” or not, you should understand the sensual sexuality of the color and the fabric paired together. Several designers gave a tip of the hat to the combo, channeling Isabella Rosselini in her famed garb. A lot has changed in fashion since 1986 and the blue velvet today is an even sassier version of its predecessor. Stella McCartney’s slim-fitting blue velvet is a notable example of the fabric is viewed today: clean lines, slim fit and a play on the construction of the fabric. The result is show stopping and undeniably sexy. Another creator of women’s desires, Ralph Lauren, concocted this romantic, curve-hugging dress, which is sexy in an entirely different way. It gives the idea of what’s underneath without overtly showing it, and because if that, can be chosen for more modest occasions like dinners with family or office holiday parties.

Velvet is one of those delightful few things and almost every woman wants because it is beautiful and feels good to the touch. So why deny yourself? As the temperatures drop, swath yourself in velvet and make every day a special occasion!

1. Espresso Velvet Skirt
Runway: Nicole Farhi  Fall 2011 RTW
Real Way: T By Alexander Wang Panne Velvet Maxi Skirt, $315

2. Velvet Colored Pants
Runway: Elie Tahari Fall 2011 RTW
Real Way: Farrah 1971 High Waisted Slim Leg Jean Gold, $230

3. Sheer Black Velvet Top
Runway: Proenza Schouler Fall 2011 RTW
Real Way: Joie Perston Irregular Stripped Velvet Burnout Top In Caviar, $24

4. Blue Velvet Dress
Runway: Stella McCartney Fall 2011 RTW
Real Way: Lauren By Ralph Lauren Faux Wrap Dress, Now 30% Off $199.90

– Alia Rajput

Runway Photos: NY Mag

Image Layout: Amy Newling

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One Response to Runway to Real Way. Don’t Deny It: You Want Velvet.

  1. Alisia says:

    Velvet is a wonderful fabric for the holidays. Love the style and color choices of the dresses and skirts.

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