GLOBAL GARMENTS: Springs Obsession with all things Ethnic
By Erin E. Weinger


Late spring is my favorite time of year. Summer is on the horizon, and that means a new crop of fabulous fashion possibilities. As I put away my heavy long sweaters and deep velvet blazers, I become excited as I think about the flirty skirts and sexy sandals ahead. This season, any girl can look like she has filled up her passport with stamps from exotic locales as the theme on the runways was clearly a melting pot of style. While it is far more glamorous to jet set around the globe searching for authentic cultural treasures, don’t feel left out if you are internationally challenged- a trip to the local mall will do just fine. Designers borrowed trademarks from regions all over the world to create pieces that appear to have been purchased in an open air market oceans away. Each trend of the season has many striking pieces that is sure to get you noticed as a tried and true style icon, or at the very least, a person with a lot of frequent flier miles.

Tropical Treasure

The laid back island vibe comes alive with clothes and accessories in Hawaiian floral prints that will have you wishing you were sipping daiquiris on a beach. Don’t be afraid to wear big bold floral patterns- I swear you won’t look like a tourist. Wunderkind Zach Posen showed a stunning brown silk halter dress with flowers of yellow, orange, and blue. As with many dresses shown this season, this one goes from the family barbeque to a night of dancing with the help of a few simple accessories. To really capture the spirit of the islands, pair Moschino’s cotton pink and white floral baby doll top with a pair of springs hottest bottom- Bermuda shorts. This fun sexy top looks like it came straight out of the surf shop- well the couture section at least. Wear your favorite leather huarache sandals with your Bermuda shorts during the day, and add heals for a sexy transition into night. Adding fruity accessories such as Missoni’s pear clutch will ensure that you really feel like you are at the resort.

French Riviera Royale

Everyone fantasizes about living the good life in the South of France. With the help of some of the gilded creations offered by designers this season, that fantasy is one step closer to reality. The gold and sequins of fall have carried over into spring in a more casual way. LaRok’s gold shrunken short sleeved jacket has been seen on Hollywood it-girls all over town, and a group of pretty young fashionistas can’t be wrong. This jacket may have high shine, but goes just as effortlessly from a lunch date as it does to a black tie affair. Metallics no longer mean evening- this seasons crop of even the “dressiest” gold’s and silver’s are perfectly fine to wear in daylight. Look like you just won the jackpot at the Casino Royale in Christian Louboutin’s jeweled white pumps; heavily encrusted with some of the largest shimmering crystals ever seen on footwear. Jeweled shoes will dress up even the drabbest of outfits, and are therefore a good investment. But with all of the jewel encrusted metallic goodies seen this season, no woman has any excuse to be caught in an outfit that is anything less than fabulous.

Jewel of India

Bollywood meets Hollywood this spring with Indian influenced colors, prints, and beadwork that will have you feeling like dancing in front of the Taj Mahal. The beaded tunic is a spring staple, and my personal favorite is the white linen and rhinestone one offered by Tory by TRB. Tunics give a fresh look to jeans, and can also be worn alone as a dress with flip flops for day and a pair of springs hot wedge heels for night. Pair with your biggest shades and skimpiest bikini and you are now the most stylish woman on the beach. When the summer nights heat up and you need a funky handbag to complete your ensemble, Santi’s mirror and beaded clutch will make you feel like an Arabian princess. This bag is covered in mirrored mosaic tiles and bright beads, making it the epitome of Indian chic.

Polynesian Paradise

One of spring’s hottest materials is also one of the most unlikely- wood. Yep, you read right. Designers have taken plain and simple wood and used it to create beautiful jewelry that is not only gorgeous, but makes for great conversation. Bottega Venetta wood and silver chunky bangles are perfect for adding oomph to any plain summer ensemble. I love to wear more than one, and then add some thinner bangles in the mix as well. Bracelets are the most important jewelry pieces of the season, so don’t be afraid to wear many different shapes and sizes up your arm at one time. Not only do they make any outfit pop, but they give you a look that is all your own.

Flamenco Flavor

If eclectic bracelets are the jewelry piece du jour, then long flowing skirts are their clothing cousin. These skirts come in all colors and patterns, and many are embellished with beading and sequins. With these skirts, the more it flows the better; as seen on the red silk and lace beaded Luca Luca offering. It is in the style of a prized bullfighter’s uniform- only much sexier. For something a little more colorful try the Nanette Lepore tiered floral and beaded skirt. The colors from the flowers look like they were plucked from the Spanish countryside, and the tulle overlay will make anyone feel like a movie star. Who knows, you may even be confused for Spanish bombshell Penelope Cruz. My favorite way to wear any long skirt is not as a skirt at all, actually, but pulled up as a tube dress. I found a lovely peach chiffon skirt with wooden buttons that I love to wear as a sleeveless dress with a big chunky belt around the hips, to give some shape. Fashion is all about taking risks, so try to take one piece and wear it a different way than intended- it is sure to attract attention.

Wild Wild West

This international journey ends in the good old U.S. of A- about 150 years ago. One of the biggest (and my personal favorite) trends for spring is the Western influence on clothing and accessories. These are some of the most interchangeable pieces, and since most of them appear to be vintage, it will look like you are wearing your grandmother’s coolest pair of boots when in reality you picked them up on a Saturday shopping trip to Michigan Avenue. Frye are the makers of the original American cowboy boot, having been in business since 1863. They can be worn with skirts, shorts, jeans, and dresses for day or night. Sienna Miller and Mary Kate Olsen are both big fans. Anna Sui created a white cotton high neck blouse with Native American-styled beaded trim that would look perfect with a pair of ripped Levi’s. Add layers of turquoise jewelry, which, in addition to coral, is springs hottest stone. Combining two trends in one is hat designer Melissa Obadash, who has made a brown straw cowboy hat with a single turquoise bead on the front. Any kind of hat is a must this spring, but a big straw hat that has you looking like you’ve been working on the ranch is an essential. With this trend, remember that the pieces are designed to look as if they’ve come from a thrift store or the back of someone’s untapped closet. Make sure to pair “vintage” items with more modern ones for a look that will make you look like you are on your way to the Bryant Park tents.

When the weather gets warm, it’s time to have some fun- and getting dressed is no exception! This season is about taking the trends and personalizing them for you; the possibilities of what you can do are endless! So take that funky beaded necklace and wear it as a bracelet! Drape your favorite handbag in a printed scarf! Think outside the box, and you will have picture perfect style that will carry you on your world travels- even if your travels are simply to the supermarket.


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Model Mercedes | Photo by Dawn Penich
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