Herve Leger
Herve Leger is known for its bandage dresses, and bandage is what they served for Spring 2012. Of course, the typical creations were nowhere to be found. Instead the house focused on metallics, black, bronzes, and browns, perfect for a night on the town. Hems loosened up a bit as well, flaring out around the thighs instead of clinging as they are known to do. Lace-up, warrior-like boots with cutouts completed each look, adding a bit of edginess to the overtly sultry and feminine frocks.

Narciso Rodriguez
Draped silhouettes in subtle black, white, red, and ice blue set the tone for Narciso Rodriguez’s Spring 2012 collection, whose airy and light feel matched the shape and movement of his fabrics. Sheer dresses revealed bright pops of orange bras, skirts fell away from the knees, dresses with cutouts flashed torsos. Loose and languid were the calls for spring — there was nothing structured about it. Models’ hair was slicked back and spray painted in hues of green, orange, and purple added additional points of interest.

Vera Wang

Who said Vera Wang was only about wedding gowns? The industry veteran seemed to leave her frothy bridal creations in the past for Spring 2012, imagining instead printed prim dresses, mini frocks with airy diamond cutouts, and sheer maxis. Unlike most collections thus far, Wang tiptoed into color, with touches of yellow, lipstick pink, and rich blue decorating peplums, sleeves, bodices, and sheer skirts. Suggesting just a bit of sex with airy maxis revealing undergarments, Wang took a step into a totally different — yet perfectly pretty direction.

J.Crew joined the tents this season with a presentation mixing one of Spring 2011 and 2012’s biggest themes, colorblocking, with classic tailoring and re-imagined, larger silhouettes. Pretty preppy pastels like lemon and turquoise were offered, of course, with quirky paisley prints and classic J.Crew Americana stripes. After First Lady Michelle Obama declared herself an unabashed fan of the heritage brand, they’ve stepped up to the plate with even more pieces fit for any presidential appointment. A white, belted, starched cotton shift would be perfect for a summer in the Vineyard; a sequined peppered shell on-point for a poetry night.

Diesel Black Gold
Diesel Black Gold recast preppy staples like button down shirts and piped blazers for Spring 2012, adding touches of metallics, sequins, and unexpected cuts. Ivory blazers hanging off the shoulder were paired with super-short miniskirts fashioned from reflective material. Sequined silver mesh vests were placed over cotton poplin tops. Even mid-thigh-hitting cocktails were created out of patched material resembling shards of broken glass. With their signature denim coated in metallic gloss, the house brought classicism into the edgy realm for which they are known. Must have: a goldplated shell under an ivory short suit.

Improvd was all about layering for Spring 2012, placing vests over maxi dresses, and cardigans over tops and skirt combos. Loose, draped fits were anchored by wide leather belts, as asymmetrical skirts offered peeks of the knees and legs. Deeper colors like forest green, cranberry, and navy were on tap for those who prefer to let non-traditional cuts and silhouettes speak for themselves. A few must-buys: leather harness vests and sultry maxis sheaths.