A Tale of Three Cities
There once was a time when a fashion insider would attend the various Fashion Week shows in Paris, Milan or New York City to develop forecasts of the next trends to sweep the world. But a true style connoisseur can simply step outside into any neighborhood and discover a full-on “runway show” chock full of effortless tastemakers and trend disciples. To that end, Runway presents three rising fashionable cities: Sydney, Berlin and Barcelona. Intense wanderlust behooves us to conquer all three of these empires!
Sunny, Sexy Sydney
Sydney, the trendsetting coastal city of Australia, is the gem of the Pacific Ocean and home to Australia Fashion Week. This enchanting city is so much more than the clichés of kangaroos, surfers and safari adventures—and it’s teeming with femme fatales in fashions that exude day-to-night flexibility mixed with explosions of bold color. Rompers are cool for daytime playtime, while vixen styles in the form of slinky dresses are seen in nightlife. “Sydney style is synonymous with a relaxed and easy feel,” says the ready-to-wear founder and designer of Talulah, Kelli Wharton. “Sydneysiders are not afraid to show off their tans and will generally go for something fun and adventurous with lots of color.”
Itty-bitty bikini: “We enjoy a fairly warm climate in Sydney and most people visit during the summer months, so it’s essential to have a great bikini ready for long days in the sun,” Wharton advises. Stray away from mundane dark colors and show off your tan in colors such as bright white, poppy or hot pink.
The day-to-night dress: A simple maxi or tube dress can easily transition from margaritas on the beach in your T-strap gladiator sandals to a high rise wedge for a night of dancing on your hotel’s rooftop. “You will also need a great versatile dress that can take you from the beach to the bar with minimal effort,” recommends Wharton. “All that is needed are a few great accessories and a fab pair of shoes to make the transition.”
Short shorts: Considering the locals’ carefree vibe, it’s fitting that shorts should be a staple in your suitcase as much as they are in the closets of the natives. “A great pair of denim cutoff shorts is essential for any Sydney visit,” Wharton says. Denim cutoff shorts can be found in an array of washes and treatments. Try throwing on a cropped or slub tee with a pair of denim cutoffs in an eye-popping color. This look easily translates into a quirky night-on-the-town look with the help of a handbag in a “wow” color, a tribal jewelry piece and, of course, a killer pair of pumps.
After checking your packing list, are you feeling like an Aussie yet?
Made in Berlin
This fashion-forward German city is full of young, creative aficionados who are the very personification of what it is to be a trendsetter. The key to fitting into the Berlin scene is to disregard the naysayers who set the rules of what is considered a trend and embrace individuality. Just as too much filling can overwhelm the taste of what would ordinarily be a delicious cake, dabbling in an overabundance of fads can result in a distastefully overdone look. Berliners are known for their eclectic and unforced style. “If you have to think more than 10 minutes about what to wear, chances are you’ve already overprocessed the outfit too much,” says Elizabeth Halquist, a Berlin-based designer and artist. “Thrown together, mixed outfits are all the rage.”
All-black everything: Black is the classic “go to” color when you’re in doubt as to what is fitting for various engagements. However, for Berliners, black makes a bold statement in the form of a feminine softy-meets-rock star blend in a leather motorcycle jacket. “Leather jackets symbolize the coolness and laid-back attitude of the city,” says Halquist. “Own a vintage leather jacket and you’ll be twice as cool around town! Own a black vintage leather jacket and you’ll have everyone thinking you’re a Berliner.” Those who want to stray a bit from the dark color palette can add jolts of color in the form of neon colors. Candy colors are also a common add-on to the black wardrobe that many natives wear on a regular basis.
Oxford wedges: “Just about every girl has a pair or four,” says Halquist. “[They’re] great for walking around the city all day. Berlin has never been a ‘fan’ of girls in heels, but we’re seeing more and more [girls] strutting their stuff in these wedges. These shoes work for Berlin because they’re painless, still casual, yet sexy at the same time.” Can’t find an Oxford wedge? A wedged short boot also rises to the occasion. These year-round wedges come in just about every color and fabric, and usually have a round toe or peek-a-boo toe. Oversized sheer blouses, which are a big hit for fall, look especially mod when paired with denim leggings, a bright-colored brassiere and a wedge.
The color red: Leaving Berlin for a weekend trip to the beautiful Netherlands city of Amsterdam? You’ll want to bring more than just your Eurail Pass. Unlike Berlin, in Amsterdam, styles with color are de rigueur, especially the color red. Halquist states, “Amsterdam does have the red light district, after all, so it’s no wonder people seem to love red here. Red is present in everything from skinny jeans to peacoats to blazers.” If you’re not that keen on wearing red clothing, glide your favorite shade of red across your lips. And don’t forget your crossbody bag—with all the sightseeing treks and train transfers, it’s a travel must-have. “Everyone rides bikes around here, so it makes it super easy to carry your purse when you just sling it around your neck and one shoulder,” says Halquist.
If you can put a check mark by each of the aforementioned recommendations, then you’re ready for Berlin!
Spain’s multicultural city of Barcelona is rich in history, beautiful art and attractive style. Barcelona-based couture designer Toni Francesc gains much inspiration for his collections from the city’s culture and stylish local women. “Walking around Barcelona is like attending a wide fashion show with all fashion trends presented and where new trends and styles are generated,” he says. Although locals tend to dress conservatively, silhouettes are cut in a flattering fashion and leave room for the imagination without losing a touch of femininity. “These women prefer pants, but can also wear skirts and dresses depending on the occasion.” As Francesc is not only a designer, but also a Barcelona local, he shared three suggestions for a señorita who plans to visit the city.
Denim: “Everyone has jeans in their wardrobe,” Francesc says. “Many women do not wear them in summer, but it’s a basic piece the whole year through.” Opt for a classic boot-cut jean in a dark denim wash with a simple button-down shirt and a pair of wedged boots in a neutral color. Francesc suggests “a boyfriend jean—comfortable and wide fit—and a belt without any design combined with a printed strappy top to give a fresh touch to the look.” Feel free to add a pop of color via an oversized handbag or scarf.
“Urban forest”: This look is taken from Francesc’s Spring-Summer 2011 Collection, where city met nature in modern styles in earth tones and fabrics with movement. Francesc recommends pairing a short skirt in beige or light gray with a blouse in the same shade: “Barcelona has many things to visit and the look must allow for this touristic activity.” For those who must have a pinch of color, add hues through statement jewelry pieces.
Knit dress: Knit dresses are not only easy to pack, but offer comfortable versatility. Dressed up for a night out or worn casually with a ballerina flat for daytime adventures, knit dresses are a must-have. “A knit dress in a neutral color with cap or short sleeve, evasé on the skirt [and] a long, colorful necklace to be knotted or turned twice around your neck” is Francesc-recommended and Barcelona-approved.
Keep in mind that an easy way to kill your Barcelona-ready styles is to hang a bulky camera around your neck. Invest in a high-definition mini digital camera and keep it in your messenger to avoid both the midday annoyance factor and a fashion faux pas.
Also, note that the women of Barcelona are light-handed with the application of makeup. Francesc interjects, “I suggest a very natural makeup—nude effect with gloss for the lips and the hair down with big waves.” Save the coral lipstick for your dinner plans and keep your daytime look au naturel. You’ll feel like a true local in no time.