Couture du jour – October 4, 2005

By Sarah Cohan

Fall is my favorite time of the year because it’s not too hot anymore and it isn’t cold yet, which allows my inner fashionista to be released. The doldrums of bleak winter jackets haven’t set in and the skimpy tank tops of summer can finally be covered.

It seems to me that as we enter every new season, fashion tends to harken back to a different era. This summer we got a healthy taste of the bohemian look of the ’60s, and last winter we got to re-enter the ’80s. Now, as we look forward, we must look back, and my guess points toward the Victorian era.

The look is reminiscent of Paul Poiret, a Parisian designer, who was the first man to take away the corset and allow women to move around. Unfortunately, Poiret passed away without fame or fortune, but modern fashion houses are still indebted to him. He enhanced the feminine figure in a subtle way by hinting towards what lay underneath with his seams and embroidery. Although he is gone, he is not forgotten, and this season we get to relive his style again.

The Victorian style has made its way into the fashion houses of Rochas, Chloe, Stella McCartney, and even Banana Republic. The look manifests itself in shirts with ruffles, buttons, and poofy sleeves. As usual, there is a modern twist on ages past, and this year Victorian elegance meets modern textiles, mainly as knits, cotton, silk, and lace.

Rochas has a stunning blue skirt and top that display the style nicely. The top has long sleeves, a high collar, and a fluted waist, which adds to its Victorian flavor, while the seams accentuate the bust, making it modern and sexy. The skirt hugs the hips nicely but flares out, creating a sensuous evening look. Marc Jacobs also has a lovely strapless dress made out of red velvet. A rose sits nicely underneath the bust creating diagonal lines from the center of the chest toward the floor. While these are mostly to be worn in the evening, shirts and skirts have also taken on this style in order to complement the daily wardrobe. Stella McCartney is making a guest appearance for H&M this fall, so make sure to check out her flowing dresses and tailored jackets that fit in nicely with the Victorian theme. With her bias cuts and good taste in fabrics, I am certain that these garments won’t be left on the shelf for long.

A big-beaded necklace will complement the fall look nicely, as will a big, colorful leather bag. While I hope you always are comfortable with whatever you wear, don’t be afraid to branch out—after all, it’s the personal touch that makes the outfit unique.