As of a few days ago, the calendar says it is officially fall. The New York Spring Fashion Week shows are over, summer is behind us, and finally we can settle into all the fun that is fall fashion. While the spectrum of fall colors is virtually endless, the classic combo that’s as old as fashion itself is enjoying time in the spotlight this season: black and white. Demure enough for the office and bold enough for after hours, this yin and yang partnership will never let your wardrobe down. The fall runways saw more than their fare share of black and white interpretations, from elegant to casual, and we plucked out some of our favorite runway looks and used them as inspiration to hone in on our top four black and white dresses for fall.
When one thinks of evening wear, it’s either one of two ways: colored or black. But more designers, like Naeem Khan in his Fall ’12 collection are including not only black and white but patterns into more and more of their evening pieces. His whimsical ball gowns were a refreshing trend that we hope to see on red carpets to come. But even if you don’t have a step and repeat in your future, consider choosing a black and white print for your next dressy event. We love the understated glamour of DVF’s 1974 Abigail Dress. With her signature wrap wait, three-quarter length sleeves and maxi skirt, this could easily be worn for anything from client drinks to a fall wedding. And the miniature bird print adds that extra bit of whimsy that you know no one else will have.
No one knows the ins and outs of a party dress like Alice + Olivia. Designer Stacey Bendet seems to hit the girlish staple on the mark season after season, somehow seeming to age herself. The Bendet poured on the ladylike charm in her Fall ’12 collection, fluffing up skirts with layers of tulle and pinning on cloche hats at jaunty angles. But we loved her use of graphic prints on many of her dresses, updating many of them from costume retro to fresh and modern. We traded in the hats and petticoats in search of a more day to day look with the same aesthetic, and came up with this Silk Crepe de Chine and Jersey Dress from Jason Wu. Wu’s all over cross-hatched print is the perfect complement to Bendet’s tic-tac-toes, adding on sheer black jersey sleeves, an asymmetrical hem, and a sweetheart neckline. Either dress could be stretched across a frame and hung in a museum of modern art, but we’d be just fine tucking them under a blazer and wearing them to the office. To the envy of our co workers, of course.
If modern art’s not your thing then how about geometry? Linear lines and edgy angles are arguably the best way to play with your black and whites. For one, vertical lines are always slimming; and you can make a big statement using the slightest of sliced up motifs. Ohne Titel cris-crossed their way down the runway for Fall ’12, resulting in a sleek and dramatic take on the LBD. For those wanting to look even more like a sleek Rorschach test (um, we do), snap up Antonio Berardi’s Two Tone dress, with strategically placed black panels to make your waist look tiny. See, we told you it was slimming!
The last type of black and white print to be explored doesn’t follow as much meticulous rhyme and reason. Oscar de la Renta‘s sporadic floral motif danced delicately across his Fall ’12 ladylike pieces. As much as we’d love to wear De la Renta all day everyday, we wanted to find it’s translation in a more wearable shape. The floral bursts reminded us of the unfurling of the kaleidoscope blooms on Alexander McQueen’s Flower Jacquard dress. Daintily long-sleeved with adorable little pleats, McQueen’s dress is once again an easy piece that can go a long way in anyone’s wardrobe. No matter how you print it, pleat it or pair it, black and white dresses are timeless, classic investments that we guarantee will never go out of style.
Black and White from The Runway:
1. Naeem Khan Fall 2012 RTW
2. Alice + Olivia Fall 2012 RTW
3. Ohne Titel Fall 2012 RTW
4. Oscar de la Renta Fall 2012 RTW
Black and White The Real Way:
5. DVF 1974 Abigail Dress, now $355
6. Alexander McQueen Bi-colour Flower Jacquard Dress, $2276
7. Antonio Berardi Two-tone Stretch-wool Dress, now $748
8. Jason Wu Printed Silk Crepe de Chine and Jersey Dress, $1995
Runway Photos: WWD
Image Layout: Second City Style
Tags: Alexander McQueen Bi-colour Flower Jacquard Dress, Alice + Olivia Fall 2012 RTW, Antonio Berardi Two-tone Stretch-wool Dress, Black and white from runways, black and white tend runway to real way, black and white trend fall 2012, Dvf 1974 Abigail Dress, Jason Wu Printed Silk Crepe de Chine and Jersey Dress, Naeem Khan fall 2012 RTW, Ohne Titel fall 2012 RTW, Oscar de la Renta fall 2012 RTW, runway look dresses