Exclusive: The Secrets Behind Designer Inspirations!
Cynthia Rowley’s muse for fall: Maggie Gyllenhaal. “Though we always draw from a wide range of cultural and artistic inspirations, Maggie Gyllenhaal’s character Lee Holloway in Secretary is our central muse this season,”. “Her clothes are ladylike, but underscored with raw, sexy, edgy qualities.” Expect colors like mustard yellow, dark emerald, and wine paired with basic ecru and white tones. “This juxtaposition of heaviness and lightness creates a liveliness that’s present in every design.”
“East meets blond!” is the inspiration for The Blonds fall collection, designers Phillipe and David Blond. Planning to serve up another jewel box of colors for fall. “Turquoise, amethyst, emerald, onyx, ruby, and gold,” the Blonds say, revealing their colorways. “It’s all about strong colors for strong women. And we’re obsessed with jewelry, so naturally we chose those tones.”
With fans including Blake Lively, Carrie Underwood, Taylor Swift, and Tina Fey, designer Christian Cota is getting inspired by nature for fall. “Women in the mountains,” he says, describing his latest imaginary muse, “East meets West on a mountain trek.” Expect to see lots of crimson, like the sketch seen here, a color Cota describes as “auspicious and powerful.”
The lightfooted Ginger Rogers is the muse behind Ruffian’s next collection, or rather, one particular walk in her shoes: “Ginger Rogers’ walk of shame home from Fred Astaire’s apartment—that’s what we were thinking of,”. Picture scalloped lace, high hemlines, and fun accessories.
Rebecca Minkoff, whose handbags have been snapped up by Halle Berry, Vanessa Hudgens, and Reese Witherspoon, is continuing her ready-to-wear line this season. “I’ve combined the practicality of being a modern woman with my inner free spirit. This all can be seen in the mix in textures and prints, a blend of luxury and a down to earth sensibility.”
“Delicate lace, richly embroidered leather, luxurious furs with a play on movement and the feminine form of a dancer,” Elie Tahari says, citing his touchstones for the fall line. His sketch shows off flowing grays and floral patterns offset with a lighter blouse with loose sleeves.
Christian Siriano found his inspiration while researching images of plant life. “I read about these dark plants that only survive out of sunlight, beautiful leaves and blossoms that come up black and thrive in the dark,” the Project Runway winner tells us. “I have had my dark moments in past collections, but this time I let the dark thrive in the same way. I wanted some of the folds and sculptures of this collection to mimic the qualities of these plants.” As for color, he’s using greens, mauve, and shades of black and gray. “The color green is a pesto, olive, almost military green,” he says. “It comes from the plants that will be shown on beautiful cocktail dresses and evening gowns.”
If Rachel Roy’s sketch is to be believed, Roy will be featuring a multitude of fabrics and textures for her fall runway show. She also says to expect “vibrant new saturations of color.”
For Max Azria’s namesake collection, he focused on “timeless tailoring and rich textures.” His sketch, shown, proves his point, teasing us with a sleek blazer layered over a black draped dress.
“The collection is all about real clothes for women with a touch of the unexpected,” says designer Peter Som, who counts Rachel Bilson, Eva Mendes, and Anne Hathaway as clients. His sketch proves that saturated hues aren’t just a spring thing. “Cerise is the dominant bright color of the collection,” Som tells us. “It’s tempered by matching it with classic menswear-inspired neutrals like navy, flannel gray, and black.”
Quintessential American designer Tommy Hilfiger says his fall collection will be all about “global prep.” Think of it as Old Glory picking up a few more stripes. “Our heritage has always been red, white, and blue,” Hilfiger explains. “This fall, our new red is burgundy, our new blue is Air Force blue, and we’re using yellow and bottle green as pops of color.” The new palette can be seen in this sketch from his collection.
Mark Badgley and James Mischka are looking forward to going retro. “This season, we are going back to our roots by celebrating the allure, sexiness, and mystery of Old Hollywood,” the designers tell us. “We really love how this dress from our Mark+James collection captures that mood.”
The Charles Dickens novel Great Expectations inspired Marchesa designers (and InStyle contributors!) Keren Craig and Georgina Chapman for fall. “The collection follows Miss Havisham’s eternal plight with dramatic shades of red, blanche, and noir transformed into three dimensional reappliqued lace, python, leather, and goat skin detailed silhouettes. We wanted to create great expectations of classic opulence, both ethereal and romantic,” they tell us. The photo collage, seen here, gets at their girlish gloomy musings.
Donna Karan describes her fall DKNY collection as “street chic.”
Credit to InStyle.com