The return of shoulder pads and lashings of leopard print... do YOU dare to wear New York Fashion Week's Eighties trends

With London Fashion Week about to start how will it compare to the technicoloured Eighties-style glamour seen in New York. We take a look at the key trends on show in the Big Apple and what you'll be wearing come autumn.


Enlarge   Matthew Williamson

Matthew Williamson: Sexy stiletto boots with pink soles

Don't send your leopard print to the charity shop just yet - the animal print that has adorned models the last few seasons is still going strong and will add a racy addition to any winter wardrobe.

The catwalks in New York were littered with exotic animal prints - predominately of the zebra and leopard variety.

Matthew Williamson used the black and white stripes on accessories. The gorgeous zebra cut-out stiletto ankle boots with shocking pink soles stayed true to his ethnic exotica-inspired designs.

Oscar de le Renta, who never fails on the glamour front, kept his vampy secretary-themed collection playful with touches of leopard print, whether it was a coat, belt, sweater or take-no-prisoners floor-length gown.

Donna Karen was also one for animal magic - mixing old-fashioned plaid and tweed with zebra, leopard and tiger designs.

And Diane Von Fustenberg's fun and rather wacky nomadic-themed contribution included lashings of loud leopard too: leggings, tops, dresses and waistcoats all took a walk on the wild side.

Go wild: Leopard at Oscar de la Renta, zebra at DKNY and more animal prints at Diane Von Furstenberg


If the colour of money is looking a little washed out at the moment then fear not, for the New York designers were on hand to inject a turbo-charged blast of rainbow-filled magic into their Fall 2009 collections.

Marc Jacobs' collection was so bright the models needed giant sunglasses to protect themselves from the glare. Block shades of emerald, blue, fluorescent yellow, pinks, violet and scarlet made their way down the darkened catwalk in defiance of the doom and gloom of recession.

All things bright and beautiful: Blue at Marc Jacobs, pink at Oscar de la Renta, neons at Michael Kors, scarlet at DKNY and an eye-catching orange fur hat, again at Michael Kors (below)

Michael Kors

Oscar de la Renta has also been exploring his colourful side with beautiful jewel-like gowns in ruby red, shocking pink, deep purples and mustard.

Michael Kors looked like he'd got to grips with the highlighter pens - brightening up his mostly grey, muted collection with luminous yellow and orange block dresses and crazy over-sized fur hats.

As for Donna Karen, the designer's elegant display included scarlet pencil skirt suits and flattering green jersey dresses that stood out sharply against the black backdrop of polo necks and opaque tights.


The Eighties theme running throughout the New York catwalks continued with a huge emphasis on the shoulders.

Bigger is most definitely better, but rather than a repeat of the shoulder pads as seen in Dynasty, this time around the top of the arm has been given a space-age feel with pointy capped sleeves, advocated by Max Azria and Herve Leger.

It seems the shoulder will be the new erogenous zone so you'd better start getting those collar bones ready for an airing. One-shoulder dresses will continue to take centre stage, as will off-the-shoulder numbers which are always great for party wear.

Michael Kors' clever cut-out suit jackets looked almost unfinished but the same can't be said of Oscar de la Renta's voluminous sleeves or Carolina Herrera's gravity-defying take on the look - how did it manage to stay up?

Last of all Donna Karen's little black top shows how easy a look can be to pull off. Think Sandy in the last scene of Grease.

Bigger the better: Shoulders make their mark at Max Azria, Herve Leger, Michael Kors, Oscar de la Renta, Carolina Herrera and DKNY


From evening gowns to snappy suits no collection was left  without a touch of shimmer and shine, whether it it be gold, silver or bronze.

All that glitters: Shiny suits and sequins at Calvin Klein, one-shoulder number at Michael Kors and more metallics suits at Christian Siriano

Calvin Klein mixed matte black shift dresses and cropped fitted jackets with resplendent silver tailoring and sequined dresses.

The shiny suit also made an appearance at Christian Siriano, this time in taupe metallic, accentuating the waist with exaggerated shoulders.

When it came to evening wear sparkle was key. A simple one-shoulder gown was delicately covered in dark silver sequins on the Michael Kors catwalk and Nanette Lepore also jazzed up a simple high-necked mini shift with gold.

Pamela Roland and Diane Von Furstenberg wowed with their take on the Grecian gown, brought up to date with drapes of reflective material.

Glamour gowns: Mini shift at Nanette Lepore, Grecian style in silver and a low-cut sequin dress at Pamela Roland and Diane Von Furstenberg also goes for gold

Enlarge   Oscar De La Renta

Oscar De La Renta: Audrey Hepburn would be proud


You can't get more sophisticated than the simple contrast between black and white and the designers in New York used monochrome throughout their shows - a refreshing change for those of you who are not taken by the block colour trend.

Oscar de la Renta's show-stopping strapless gown could have come straight from the black and white scene in My Fair Lady - Audrey would have been proud.

And Matthew Williamson, who usually dazzles the crowds with technicolour, showed us a more grown-up side with a psychedelic floor-length dress toned down in monochrome, with just a hint of pale blue.

Philip Lim celebrated the Sixties mod look with jaunty white cropped tuxedo jackets and super-slim cigarette pants, and we're sure everybody will be swashbuckling for his monochrome pirate coat come autumn.

Described as 'the ethereal seduction of the dark side' Max Azria's mostly black collection used lace and leather to great effect with some very wearable pieces including an elegant white wrap dress, cinched in with a black leather belt. And forget the elbow-high glove - Mr Azria adorned arms with leather gloves that went all the way up to the shoulder.

Black and white magic: Matthew Williamson's psychedelic print, Philip Lim's nod to the mod, Max Azria's simple white dress and Diane Von Furstenberg's monochrome print


As the recession deepens so, apparently, does our need to smarten up in the work place and designers seem to have taken note with power dressing most definitely back on the menu.

In the dog-eat-dog world of the office we can look forward to ultra-feminine suits with cinched-in waists and demure below-the knee pencil skirts.

Oscar de la Renta scored top marks for his sexy but smart suits, as did Donna Karen with her demure Mad Men style, perfect for showing off an hour glass figure, while Michael Kors  mixed things up with layered skirts, knitted fabrics and unusual jackets with cut-out panels.

Office chic: Oscar de la Renta, DKNY and Michael Kors injected feminine energy into power dressing


When it comes to textures, anything goes. Mix and match fabrics were all over the catwalks adding depth and drama to every show. Velvet and leather were everywhere, with fur and brocade also making an appearance.

The skin-tight leather trousers at Matthew Williamson in ice blue and burnt orange may not be a favourite with the masses but they looked super cool against a bulky fur coat and pussy-bow blouse, and his purple chiffon ruffle dress was fun and frivolous.

Over at Marc Jacobs the designer created structured dresses and corsets from soft velvet in the bright colours, while Anna Sui used the luxurious fabric sparingly over pretty floral prints.

Interestingly, the much-loved bandage dress from Herve Leger, a wardrobe staple for actresses and pop stars alike, has moved on from the super-slim elastic to a slightly bulkier material made up of rope, decorated with sequins and shiny panels.

Mix and match: (above) Orange leather trousers and ruffle dress by Matthew Williamson, velvet at Marc Jacobs and Anna Sui; (below) denim and velvet at Marc Jacobs, textured bandage dresses at Herve Leger and stiff brocade by Carolina Herrera