viral fashion 2012 jason wu couture volume spring summer new york fashion week trends shoppingCall it the second coming of Cristóbal — the Spring/Summer 2012 collections signified a resurgence of the haute couture shapes most notably implemented by the European couturiers of the 1950s and 60s, buy Mr. Balenciaga foremost among them. Cascading ruffles, visit web peplums, bubble skirts, sack-backed shifts, opera coats, and barrel sleeves are several of the couture classics that were given new life this season. Though executed to varying effects, from minimalistic (Jil Sander, Celine) and overtly ornate (Oscar de la Renta, Jason Wu) to sculptural viral fashion 2012 spring summer paris fashion week yves saint laurent ysl stefano pilati runway trends shoppingand futuristic (Rick Owens and Nicolas Ghesquiere for Balenciaga, respectively), the homage was overwhelmingly resonant. If the exaggerated volume and silhouettes appear intimidating upon first glance, fear not, as Spring’s updated take on haute couture is surprisingly wearable.

viral fashion 2012 spring summer fashion womenswear trend classic couture shape silhouette stella mccartney peplum topPerhaps the most versatile way to sport the trend is with a peplum; a staple of Christian Dior’s iconic New Look, peplums were added to just about everything this season, including skirts at Jason Wu and Rodarte, jackets at Givenchy, tops at Giorgio Armani and Thakoon, and even trousers at Dries Van Noten. These waist-cinching flounces accentuate curves and add a womanly touch (plus, for what it’s worth, they seem to have maintained this momentum well into next Fall, so it would be wise to get acquainted now). For daytime, your best strategy is to stick with separates — pair a peplum top in a neutral shade with tapered trousers or slim-fitting shorts in anyviral fashion 2012 spring summer fashion womenswear trend classic couture shape silhouette cristobal balenciaga dries van noten peplum pants trousers hue or print that you see fit. If you fancy yourself more of a sartorial risk-taker, try a pair of peplum pants à la Van Noten. Just be aware, it will look like you’re wearing a skirt over pants, so be prepared to field questions from those who don’t quite “get it.” Once the sun goes down, slip into a cocktail dress complete with a peplum silhouette to create (or play up) an hourglass figure.

While we’re on the subject of eveningwear, there’s no better way to make a grand entrance than with a show-stopping couture-inspired gown. For one exemplary model, look no further than Oscar de la Renta, who opened his Spring/Summer presentation with a trio of tremendous-skirted silk taffeta ball gowns in spirited shades of mustard, kelly green and scarlet. Conversely, you could use Jil Sander as a point of reference; this final installment of Raf Simons’ “couture trilogy” offered a more controlled, impeccably tailored take on the haute sensibility, as evidenced by the triptych of white floor-sweeping gowns that closed the show; each cinched at the waist just so before billowing into pure, viral fashion 2012 spring summer fashion womenswear trend classic couture shape silhouette cristobal balenciaga dries van noten peplum pants trousersunadulterated full-skirted glory. While the two aforementioned shows are quite different in their respective approaches, they are alike in that they both successfully captured the exuberance and craftsmanship that define couture in its purest form, without coming off as archaic. Sure, the list of events where the dress code may call for a floor-length gown of cascading taffeta or gazar is admittedly short, but if you have the opportunity, why not run with it? There’s nothing like being in haute pursuit.

by Gianna Froccaro