By JO ROSS
What a wonderful week packed with glamorous, intriguing fashion at Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week at Lincoln Park â€“ and all over the city.
The designers really gave a best effort in creating pretty, beguiling and sensuous ideas for Fall/Winter 2012.
Our favorites: Carolina Herrera, Betsey Johnson, Zang Toi, Pamela Roland and Michael Kors never disappoint, and Naeem Khan, Badgley MischkaÂ and Reem Acra continued in their spectacular red carpet style, as did Herve Leger by Max Azria.
Custo Barcelona was sensational. Very well coordinated daywear, from head to toe, in multiple prints, with wool, leather and metallic applications, andÂ great new shapes like cocoons (jackets with rounded sleeves that envelope the arms with yards of fabric).
Tadashi Shoji created very new, ladylike see-through (lined in nude fabric) chantilly lace gowns and dresses that look fresh, but Old World as well.
Shanghai, the â€œParis of the Orient,â€ served as inspiration, and the models were absolutely beautiful, even down to their sheer black hosiery and ankle strap delicate pumps. Chantilly lace in cobalt blue and fire red was unexpected â€“ and exhilarating.
But there were alsoÂ lots of new, up â€˜nâ€™ coming designers presented from all over the world, and their ideas and inspirations were vast.
Concept Korea presented the concepts of several designers. I particularly thought the Son Jung Wan and Doho were interestingly shaped and used innovative techniques like handcrafted textures and fantasy fabrics of lamÃ© and tinsel sparked fake furs.
Houghtonâ€™s entire presentation was in winter white and very slight variations to the hue. Houghtonâ€™s silhouettes were particularly interesting, with emphasis on bare backs, glamorous jeweling and long legged trousers and coats.
There were also several mainstream collections that showed duringÂ MBFW,Â J. Crew, Nautica, and bebe.Â They presented their viewpoints quite well: bebe had a very crisp, â€™40â€™s vibe, with nipped waists, back seamed hose, ivory blouses,Â dark skirts and jackets, and broad shoulders.
Nautica was basically the same tried and true for the manly man, but they made up for it with the most delicious models.
A funky collection that was done quite well wasÂ Falguni & Shane Peacock.Â Very supple leather cut outs interworked with tulle and netting to create scrolling patterns that looked downright wicked, and then sometimes embellished with jewels and sparkle.Â Very well done, butÂ not for the office. Definitely club clothes.
Trends that I thought looked great include sheerÂ high/low hems on dresses, skirts, and jackets where there are panels that flow as you walk. Leggings, textured hose, and tights are a must under these. The Emilio Cavallini collection of printed and textured tights, thigh-high hose and bodicesÂ will be the perfect underpinning for these looks.
Shoulder and sleeve emphasis included padded shoulders, fur or textured fabric atop sleeves, and cape and caplet shapes as toppings. A rounded sleeve shape was also in evidence, as were dolman sleeves.Â I loved the many backless looks; very unexpected and sexy.Â Beaded tendrils dripped from many sleeves and bodices, a lÃ¡ the Bob Mackie signature trim, as well as mirrored jeweling on gowns.Â Â Metallic trimmings will include all the shades: golden, silver, bronze, hematite, and jet, and they are plentiful.
Fabrics included tweeds, alpaca and velvet as well as chiffon and tulle.
Colors featured most often wereÂ Â black, grays, cobalt, emerald and port.