November 6, 2007

From the Catwalk to Cayuga's Waters

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With Fashion Week coming to a close in New York, Milan, and Paris, the major powerhouses of fashion, such as Lanvin, Yves Saint Laurent, and Alexander McQueen to name a few, have presented their spring lines to those privileged enough to get a seat at their shows. The heel-less shoes in Marc Jacobs’ collection to the strikingly floral silk dresses of Balenciaga capture the innovative nature of fashion, with its drive to continually push the envelope and redefine the aesthetic drama of the clothes. Although the odd quirks of haute couture is usually deemed to be the exclusive realm of fashion editors and other devotees, Cornell students are not wholly removed from the influence of high fashion. With our proximity to New York City, our fashion conscious students have made the commendable effort to re-interpret the latest runway trends to the reality of campus life. Although the fashion designers have already presented their spring collections, fall fashion is in full swing on the Cornell campus.
Fashion has always been about the extreme, but the vagaries of the couture collections tend not to bode well for Ithaca winters or even classroom propriety. Nothing is more ridiculous or will generate more derision than seeing a girl hobble through Ho Plaza in 4 inch stiletto heels. Although designers have been turning away from the It bag to the It shoe, the razor thin heels of Yves Saint Laurent or the toweringly tall platforms of Alexander McQueen will fail miserably in the struggle to climb Libe Slope or to face the wet sloppy mess of snow and slush that Ithaca weather dumps upon us every winter. However, while eyeing the footwear of numerous stylish students, the boot has become the latest trend in fall footwear. Splashed across the pages of Vogue, the lace-up bootie has become the shoe du jour. On our campus, the knee-high leather riding boot or cowboy boot tucked into skinny jeans or leggings is the practical and stylish approach to facing the incoming cold temperatures.
Beyond footwear, the coat has new appeal for fall fashion. In Marc Jacobs’ ready to wear collection, the round collars and puffed sleeves are a fresh approach to a winter essential. On our campus, students have been donning the stylish military inspired coat with brass buttons. Others have taken up runway inspired looks in structured coats with bell-shaped sleeves. On the fashion horizon, the houndstooth print, as well as faux fur jackets, are up and coming trends. Not to be forgotten, the classic long lines of the peacoat are everywhere on campus and can be updated with vivid colors, rounded collars, or pleats. In line with the latest menswear inspired looks for women, as seen in the fall 2007 Balenciaga collection, the blazer is perfectly suited for the student’s wardrobe and creates a look that I like to call collegiate chic. With all this attention on a fall staple, it is important to remember how a beautifully fitted coat makes every outfit more polished and can add runway inspired style into your fall wardrobe.
With cooler weather finally upon us, students have been bundling up in knits, such as slouchy sweaters or fitted dresses which range from vivid colors to the soft, muted palette of gray. The oversized sweater coat is cozily warm and fashionable when cinched at the waist with a skinny belt. The latest trends in coats also find their parallel in sweaters, which have been drawing on the bell-shaped or puffed sleeve and the full, pronounced collar. Fall fashion calls for the re-emergence of the scarf, which is now adorning the necks of models and students alike. Any way you wear it, an interesting scarf can incorporate color and contrast into a simple outfit.
From the latest shoe to the coolest coats, runway couture creations are all about drama and excitement. The artful and fanciful designs of Fashion Week are usually more suited for the catwalk than the sidewalk, and keeping up with the hottest new trends is almost a full time job. Fashion is all about making the latest look your own, and Cornell students have shown how creatively they can translate high fashion into campus friendly style.