Walking down Free Street in Portland, Maine, on a crisp Sunday afternoon, Foxy, my toy Pomeranian drapes her paw from the edge of my Ron King, Maine-made, hand-weaved green ombre satchel. A party of four elegantly dressed young women appear before me, as they exit a specialty restaurant or event.
At first, my eye goes directly to the blue surgical masks that two of the women protect their faces with. I advert my eyes immediately, perplexed as to why they made no effort to treat their face coverings as part of an overall look of adornment. It’s too incomprehensible for me even to accept, let alone understand.
In contrast, the dark animal print of the face mask worn by one lady is in perfect harmony with her ensemble. As I glance at her image, it’s a pleasure to see such an overall style.
Finally, my curious eyes settle upon the face of their fourth companion. I see reflective John Lennon sunglasses above a doubled over ink blue silk scarf, offering a subtle, jacquard style print. Her lower face is covered from below her sunglasses to straight down her neck, with one flowing line of sensuous fabric. My imagination turns to a time of adventure and freedom—courage combined with mystique! The wild, wild west! So uniquely American, so refreshing! I call this one the “Desperado Look.”
I encourage everyone, especially women of a certain style, to experiment with this bold “Frontier/Outlaw” look, in as many combinations of colour, print, and design as they can muster. Be sure to include Jackie O sunglasses. A big hat enhances the mystique twofold. The Silk bandanna is an essential adornment to go for this winter, to add extra warmth to your face mask or alternative layers of style. Below, I offer a palette of emerging colours and print trends, sourced from Sandra Nunes, my fashion- and style-immersed NYC print market representative, textile and embroidery designer, and founder of Collecting Colour.*
*Please understand that my associates and I prefer the international spelling of the word colour to emphasize its added beauty and brand consistency.
Colour for us is the foundation of personal style. I’m sure most of you know your preferred colours already. I relate here the specific trends going forward for you to consider. Choose among them and gather your favorites from this inventory, to feel style-enhanced.
Please feel free to follow along for a visual reference using Sandra’s Fall/Winter 2020/21, previously secret, and recently made public Pinterest Boards: www.pinterest.com/collectcolour/fall2020/
and my Pinterest version of the same Forecast boards, but they have mostly print inspiration: www.pinterest.com/mshyka/fallwinter-2021-shykastudio/
(A Note about Fashion Seasons: Fall means both fall and winter for many fashion forecasters. As you can see, Sandra uses the term Fall for both the Fall and Winter seasons—it’s the industry lingo for both. “Holiday and resort” is a separate season, but it is being phased out or merged by many designers, as well. And designers’ “Spring collections” now represent both spring and summer items.)
Golds. Combined with ambers, gold is a fascinating new colour grouping to experience, as it embodies positive thinking for the years and decades ahead. Empower yourself with the deepest and clearest samples you can find of this colouration to manifest your “Golden Years.”
Jewel Tones. By far the most sought after colours for the cold season, these jewel tones are not the same as the 1980’s indulgence. No longer do the basics rule (like ruby, amethyst, emerald, sapphire, and aquamarine). Alternative shades of gemstones and crystals like garnet, rose quartz, alexandrite (violet), padparadscha (salmon), topaz, peridot, apatite (teal), and tanzanite (violet/blue) run the gamut from frosty to intense. I recommend acquiring the more exotic shades of your preferred colours. In terms of dressing—and as you can see in Sandra’s Pinterest boards—mixing of opposites makes a stellar look, especially combining monochromatic shades with a neighboring shade.
Greys and Purples. These colours go in a refreshing direction, with profound feeling. All major European luxury brands showcase this ethereal look. The best news is that I have noticed this particular combination to be plentiful in thrift shops (more on this later).
Emerald and Mint. Emerald’s entrance for winter 2020 makes the splash as mint seems to be already well established as a classic/new colour within the last three decades for winter. The DVF [Diane von Furstenberg] brand offers many peak styles. I have personally witnessed Diane’s appreciation for forest’s green vitality, paired with shades of lavender and violets. Several designs resting in her archives are from my hand circa 1993.
Pink and Blush. For me, pink and blush represent the ultimate in new offerings from the jewel tone category, previously explained. Notice on Collecting Colour’s Pinterest boards how cool they look set off by cobalt and Saffron, while elegant mixed with any shade of reds, copper, and rich browns. Here’s a prime area open for experimentation!
Brights. Very important, yet to mention brights as a new look feels redundant. Brights have been jostling back and forth with its opposite, neutrals, for some time now. If your wardrobe does not address this look, you tend to prefer neutrals and muted tones to high volume colour. Let’s hop into the newest arrivals on the print scene. Great news for thrifters here: most likely, all these looks are readily available at your local thrift stores.
Paisley and Sarasa. These two are the standouts for me. Sarasa, an alternate term for calico, a small floral look printed on cotton, originated from Japan’s trade-routes with Marco Polo. These looks are refreshing because they all speak of connections to heritage with an added flair of romantic fantasy: Paisley and Sarasa address Old World charm and ethnic diversity.
Ditzy. Florals are comforting and cozy. My fellow crafter friend and founder of SeaMe products, Mariah Curtis, refers to this look as “Cottage Core,” which precisely encapsulates Americana nostalgia. Imagine Willa Cather’s Pioneer heroine from My Ántonia wearing these prints while wandering her frontier borders. Renee of Waterlily describes this essential style as “former daughters look.” She has many variations of this look in some very intricately cut dresses at unbelievably low prices at Waterlily Shop https://waterlilyhandmade.com on 26 Milk Street, Portland, Maine,
Plaids. My take from studying Sandra’s plaid boards is that although the colours and pairings are rich and intense, there is a definitive sense of softness at play, which adds more relevance.
Textures. Textures look great in the updated colourations of jewel-tones pallets. If thrifting for this look, you will need to dig deep into ´20s through ´50s offerings. Do not even consider reintroducing the ´80s versions—dense neutrals. Drab and stale, dusty, too!
Jungle Look. When shopping for the highly enticing look, a jungle night scene is even more evocative. Success with this look while thrifting may be problematic, as it’s essential the print is crisp and defined. No loose brushstrokes of yesteryear for this look.
Art Deco. This style offers a highly sophisticated and engaging look that I imagine will resonate well with many creative types and city dwellers. I love seeing it freshened up in all the new colour groups. On the 500 blocks of Congress Street in Portland, the Vintage Vault stocks a plenitude of these prints in lovely retro colour combinations, along with samples previously aligned with our new millennial colours.
Roses. Oh so elegant and ideal for bringing forth your inner seductress or enchantress. Sandra’s boards reference pristinely designed looks that could potentially break the bank. Many thrift shops are abundant with more retro cuts from almost every decade. If styled from your heart, a crisp rose print, especially on a ground of indigo or black, will make a sly job of enchanting a bit more obvious.
Florals. I consider florals essential for my line. Any woman with any intentions of displaying an aspect of sensuality will thrive in these. To help guide your purchase of new or vintage florals, here is the number one rule: Both the flowers and colours should look as if they smell divine. Waterlily Shop offers the most splendid selections of hand-made silk dresses, robes, tunics, and kimonos abundant in many of these style-forward looks. Waterlily has amazingly affordable price points as well, considering the amount of craftsmanship going into Renee Garland’s passion-based brand.
As a postscript, I would like to say that it is an honor to share my style opinions inside Maine Women Magazine. I am quite comfortable with the task, being a gay man, artist, textile designer, and hand-painted silk luxury fashion designer focused on the sensual aspects of colour, print, and cut in women’s clothing for over 30 years.
Michael invites you to view his galleries offering One Of A Kind Silk Bandannas designed with attention to the above style directives at www.michaelshyka.com If shopping in Portland’s Old Port, many are available at Old Port Garden & Gifts, 305 Commercial Street. The owner, Mary Sawyer, can tell you in person about the gift market for local artisans she has created.