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Fashion week has wrapped up in a whirling New York minute, and the highly anticipated Spring/Summer 2014 (or #ss14 if you speak hashtag) collections are making their way into the mainstream psyche as designers, models, bloggers, socialites, actresses, and minions gathered for what is perhaps the most highly anticipated event in the city all year.

A few concepts spotted early on in the week drew inspiration from confection in blush pastels (rose, lilac, butter) and stark white in women's wear. The soft colors were balanced with strong asymmetrical lines in silhouette from powerhouses such as Alexander Wang, Victoria Beckham, Tadashi Shoji, and Prabal Gurung. On the contrary, last season's statement patterns grew bolder in all their animal, tribal, floral, and pinstriped glory on soft, minimalist shapes at Diane Von Furstenburg, Donna Karen, and Tracy Reese.

The overall verdict? Styles seem to be drawing consistently from last season's spring collection, yet pleasingly topping their predecessors with added oomph in graphic prints, structured cuts, and modern aesthetic. This was embodied best in the prevalence of the full, flouncy skirt, which made a stunning comeback (in varying lengths) at collections across the board, from department store favorite Alice-and-Olivia to Spanish-darling designer Delpozo.

Delpozo SS14

The full skirt is also a key example of a startling shift. The continuing movement away from the ultra feminine, bodycon apparel of the past seems to be here to stay. Cool-girl uniform master Philip Lim stunned with boxy shapes orchestrated in rock and fire prints as well as subtle embellishments in a collection so dazzling in itself that the models were sent down the runway with shades, wet-looking hair, and barely-there makeup. Lim is just one successful example of the widespread appeal of a more restrained approach to fashion, with the notion of "something left to the imagination" taking precedence. What started out as a natural shift last year due to the see-saw nature of the industry has been fully embraced, and is now being recognized as a conscious international effort on part of several designers to to tap into the infamously conservative emerging markets of Southeast Asia and the Middle East. One look at Valentino, now owned by Qatari royalty, and it is apparent that the brand has traded in skin for lush fabrics and demure necklines which are equal, if not greater, parts glamorous than their skimpier predecessors.

Other luxury brands are trying out voluminous yet structured shapes, not just with large winter coats, but in fresh spring concoctions of roomy knitwear and boxy jackets, as was apparent all over the Spring/Summer 2014 collections. While lush, full silhouettes in heavy, rich fabrics were the epitome of high-end couture for fall, the notion is just as relevant on the street-style side for spring. DKNY's 25th anniversary collection, featuring large logo'd nods to decades past, as well as a closing strut by trend-setting pop starlette Rita Ora, epitomized this notion with tailored staples, billowing trenches, and clean neutrals that were young, edgy, and anything but dowdy. Such conservative approaches as seen in menswear, grunge, and throwback 90's looks like DKNY's (think of the consistently popular hi-tech, roomy sweatshirt) prove that covering it up is quickly becoming mainstream. Blame it on the comfort and ease of movement, those with their eyes on the prize of conservative yet lucrative fashion markets, or a natural progression from bodycon, the restrainted aesthetic seems to be here to stay, and the all too pleasing #SS14 collection leaves the lingering promise of this notion in the years to come. 

Need help getting your closet in order? Can't find clothes that work for your lifestyle? For more fashion tidbits or a free consult, please visit Saba's FB page or email her at stylebydesign.sbd@gmail.com





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