Exclusive: The Secrets Behind Designer Inspirations!
Christian Siriano says his spring collection is inspired by an effortless, on-the-go approach to fashion. "Spring 2012 is all about a cool, hip, attitude when getting dressed. Casual luxury while traveling and exploring exotic beaches around the world,” he tells InStyle.com.
Rachel Roy looked to “colonial Vietnam” to get inspiration for her spring collection. Her sketch teases us with a striped draped skirt and chunky accessories.
Tommy Hilfiger’s spring collection is “inspired by the girl on the go.” His sketch (left) proves the point, showing off a citrus hued trench offset with a color block clutch.
“Time flies when you're having fun!” is the simple mantra that inspired Betsey Johnson’s spring collection. Known for her whimsical designs, the designer’s sketch features a black and pink cinched-waist dress and lace-up heels.
DKNY designer Donna Karan’s spring collection packs patriotic promise. Known for her chic city-girl aesthetic, the designer’s spring runway looks will take inspiration from red, white and blue, Karan says.
HERVE LEGER BY MAX AZRIA
Known for his beloved bandage dresses that have attracted a vast celebrity following, Herve Leger designer Max Azria credits the abstract for his spring collection, noting that it “was inspired by primitive dynamics—a sense of diversified uniformity.”
Reem Acra’s spring collection is inspired by a medley of textures and fabrics. “I have created designs using woven ribbons, hand-sewn beads and textured silks for a range of looks that are both suitable for my international customer to wear for both day and night,” she says.
Carly Simon inspired St. John’s spring collection. “She epitomizes the free spirit that is American glamour. Cool classic, effortless chic,” creative director George Sharp told InStyle.com.
"The collection is a modern take on the evocative ‘20s, the demure detailings of the Victorian era, combined with the patch workings of denim taken from the restless grunge decade," Charlotte Ronson tells us.
“This collection is homage to the enchanting beauty and splendor of the tulip,” designer Tadashi Shoji says. “Rich in its color yet delicate in its form, this admired bloom is full of life, incessantly evolving and changing in shape.”
“Italian futurist sculptor Umberto Boccioni’s studies of organic movement of the body through space inspired the emphasis on volume and shape in the spring 2012 collection,” Badgley Mischka designers Mark Badgley and James Mischka tell us.
Cynthia Rowley’s spring collection draws upon elements of radiance and perception."Spring 2012 plays with light and depth through ornate forced perspective prints and crackled gold elements." You can see what she means with her sketch, which features a translucent black printed dress and gold heels.
A favorite of modern-day pin-up girls like Katy Perry, The Blonds designers Phillipe and David Blond called upon classic American sex symbols to inspire their spring lineup. “The collection is all about bombshell glamour girls of the ‘60s and ‘70s, like Playboy Bunnies at the first Playboy Club, Raquel Welch, Jane Fonda in Barbarella and Ursula Andress,” the designers explain.
Ports 1961 creative director Fiona Cibani drew upon “broken glass, iridescent shine, and mosaic abstractions” in order to “express the future deluxe” for the label’s upcoming collection. The sketch—an asymmetrical dress with a geometric pattern—touches upon this futuristic motif.
“Spring 2012 is all about bold colors and sexy silhouettes with an athletic edge,” Monique Lhuillier hinted to InStyle.com of her upcoming collection, along with this sketch of an evening gown featured in her new lineup.
Rebecca Minkoff’s creative imagination inspired her new spring pieces. “Working with the sundrenched colors of the desert alongside prints that mimic sunlight bleeding through a camera lens; I envisioned my iconic downtown romantic girl on a trip to a deserted house designed by Mexican architect Luis Barragan, discovering trunks of clothing that have been aged and weathered by the sun and wind,” she explains.
ADAM designer Adam Lippes tells us that the inspiration for his spring collection came from the “extraordinary exhibit titled Picasso and Marie-Therese’ at the Gagosian Gallery in New York City.” His sketch (left) shows off a full, flowing skirt and ballet slipper wedges.
RICHARD CHAI LOVE
What can we expect from Richard Chai Love’s spring collection? Here’s a hint: “I like the idea of things that appear molded and structured while still looking sharp in silhouette,” Chai told InStyle.com.
Chris Benz found inspiration for his future collection by thinking about the past. “Spring 2012 was inspired by the thrill of the exotic, especially the nostalgia of the summer spectacle of Coney Island,” Benz told us.
With celebrity clients like Angelina Jolie and Halle Berry, Nicole Miller has designed for some of the most effortlessly fashionable women in Hollywood. Her inspirational sketch mirrors this sense of fearless confidence, and she credits the image of “girls on bikes” as a key motivator behind her spring collection.
Michelle Smith of Milly says her new collection will be “modern and geometric in cut and print, softened by earthy materials like wood and tortoise resin.”
“We designed spring 2012 while watching movies from the ‘40s in a hotel room in Vietnam,” Vena Cava designers Sophie Buhai and Lisa Mayock tell InStyle.com. “The actresses and the silhouettes they wore in those films along with traditional Vietnamese craft and clothing really informed our collection.”
Tibi’s designer Amy Smilovic says her upcoming lineup “is about modernizing and refreshing the ‘90s silhouette with streamlined cuts that carry a sportswear element of drawstring details, motor jackets, track suits and asymmetrical hems.”
Elie Tahari looks to Mediterranean allure, citing “the luxury of ancient Egypt” as the inspiration for his spring collection. The designer’s sketch shows off a pleated halter dress in muted blues, and strappy gold sandals that any modern Cleopatra would want.
“Contemporary, fresh, and ethereal,” is how Rebecca Taylor explains her spring lineup, which will feature shades of oyster highlighted by bold citrus colors of lemon, lime and tangerine. “The collection emphasizes cut and color with unexpected cut-outs in silhouettes,” she says.
Yigal Azrouel’s spring collection offers fabrics and styles fit for a fashion forward woman. “The combination of silk, leather and wool gabardine is very modern to me,” he says of what we can expect from spring. “All the rich textures make any woman wearing them look sophisticated, glamorous and strong.”
CUT25 BY YIGAL AZROUEL
What will Yigal Azrouel produce for his contemporary line Cut25? “This season, Cut25 retreats back to the ‘80s surf culture and uses bold colors and acid pastels in clean, minimal silhouettes,” says Azrouel.
The new collection from ecofriendly label Edun, founded by Bono and his wife Ali Hewson, was inspired by blended color and flowing fabrics. “A fresh light airy collection as if drenched in an indigo rain storm, giving inspiration to perforated prints and saturated colors,” Edun’s creative director Sharon Wauchob explains.
Eveningwear favorite Douglas Hannant’s spring collection was inspired by “Shanghai high society of the ‘30s.” Hannant, who has dressed stars like Ivanka Trump and Olivia Palermo, is looking to channel “a bubble of upper class escapism" on this season’s runway.
“Country club staples for city girls are updated with a hint of athleticism,” Jenni Kayne says of her spring collection. What can you expect? “Candy color shades of pool, orange, almond, and pink are set off by classic neutrals for a look that is fresh and sophisticated.”
“The architectural wasteland of the neon graveyard,” inspired Lela Rose’s upcoming collection. For that, the designer drew upon “the faded, broken, and discarded neon signs that dot the landscape of Las Vegas and Coney Island.”
Tracy Reese wants to create clothes that “make a bold splash for the transition into summer.” What does that mean you can expect? “Subtle hues of khaki and blush mixed with pastel shades of waterfall, misty blue and aqua tears gradually intensify to deep saturated tones and neon brights.”
The Luca Luca collection celebrates a woman’s sensuality and femininity,” Luca Luca creative director Raul Melgozatold InStyle.com. “Soft draping gives the collection a sense of ease and movement while sheer inset detailing allow for a discreet yet provocative unveiling of the body.”
Ruffian designers Brian Wolk and Claude Morais have only one simple phrase to describe their spring 2012 offering: “A Sojourn to Saratoga." Red jackets and ruffle skirts tease a tiny bit more of what you can expect.
“Adding, mixing adornments, layering of colors, unexpected combinations of fabrics, comingling harmonious hues of solids and prints,” are the force behind Vivienne Tam’s spring collection, she tells InStyle.com.
—Leah Abrahams and Sharon Clott
—Leah Abrahams and Sharon Clott