After several spring seasons laden with a rainbow of vivid colors, neutrals might seem a bit bland, but they could also be seen as a welcome respite to the parade of rainbow brights which has typified the look during the past two Spring/Summer shows in New York. The low-key earth tones are also a natural development after a chocolate-heavy fall season.
In fact, Women's Wear Daily surveyed the Spring/Summer collections presented in New York and found that although pastels dominated the top ten colors used by most designers, sandollar came in the third and clove ranked eighth with 6%.
Menswear designer John Varvatos was one of the first shows during the week and he presented a new and refreshing take on understated cool. Although it was a men's collection, both the male and female models looked effortlessly chic and comfortable lazily strolling down the runway in crinkled linen suits and stylish trench coats.
As far as his palette of colors, bolder tones, like red, navy and black were nowhere in sight. The assortment centered on several key pieces in an array of muted natural colors.
Some highlights of this latest trend included mix-n-match olive and beige in everything from details on tanks and tops to accessories at Oscar de la Renta. Thankfully, exotic beading around collars and chunky accessories gave a collection lacking any brilliant hues a little bit of flair.
Carolina Herrera, on the other hand, managed to strike a pleasing balance of colors in her collection. She held back from taking the neutral route, but also refrained from creating a look of many colors. Olive was the centerpiece of her color story, but touches of poppy and azalea made for some lively details.
The highlight of the show was a floor-length olive gown made of richly embroidered silk with two bright pink straps tied in bows. This gorgeous piece was an excellent example of Carolina's ability to mold trends to suit her customer.
At BCBG, Max Azria went headfirst into his selection of more low-key colors presenting look after look of models swathed in beige and carrying same-colored over-sized clutches. Tagliapietra's collection had only one look in pastel yellow amid a sea of beautifully draped chiffon and jersey dresses in desert hues such as sandollar, rust, slate, birch and clove and clay. They did venture into new territory, showing one or two looks outside of their normal repertoire, but their message as far as spring/summer 2006 colors was concerned was quite clear: less is more.
Neutrals may not dominate Spring 2006 fashion, but there will definitely be more variety color wise than in previous years and it will offer consumers the option of choosing the middle road between going all bright or all neutral in favor of a mix between the two.