A Touch of Velvet – by Allison Daniels
Since the turn of the millennium, velvet has been seen as a dated fabric. The only people who wore it (aside from hipsters attempting irony and people who choose their clothes based on ‘feel’) were the blue hair brigade and cinema’s sleazy club owners (chest hair + velvet = ?).
But at New York Fashion Week this fall, designers were on a mission to make velvet cool again.
Showing the material in unexpected accents and of-the-moment colors, our favorite couturiers unwittingly conspired to revivify the creamy classic. Velvet appeared on louche fuschia loafers at Jenni Kayne rich brown scarves and laced burnt-orange Manolos at Carolina Herrera , and berry-hued tuxedo suits at Tory Burch . In the intro shot above, from left to right: the loafers at Jenni Kayne, the velvet belt from Carolina Herrera, and the striped suit a Tory Burch.
The first two runway examples of the velvet trend are easy to try in the real world because they are accent pieces. Adding a velvet accessory makes most looks fresh, not passé. While a velvet suit definitely demands a bit more panache, the bold head-to-toe statement that it makes is worth the gamble.
If you’re not the type to experiment with menswear in public, there are plenty of velvet skirts, tops, and dresses to satisfy your velvet crush while maintaining a feminine silhouette. Here, Jessica Biel rocks a Gucci suit, Kim Kardashian opts for a leopard-print Brian Lichtenberg mini, and Penelope Cruz goes structured in a navy-blue Stella McCartney frock.
One of the great things about velvet is that it’s been around the block before. Every decade or so, the fashion world dusts off the glossy bolts and lets it catch the light.
What does that mean to trend-watchers like us? It means we’re just as likely to find great velvet pieces at consignment shops as Topshop. If you want to try this trend, that’s the fun way to do it. Make plans with your favorite (preferably high-endurance) shopping buddy and pillage any vintage/consignment/resale shops in your area. I’m willing to bet you’ll find a few gems, velvet or otherwise. And the best part? Odds are they’ll be one of a kind.
If digging for treasures isn’t your bag, there is no shortage of trend-conscious brands that will carry the stuff – just make sure to get your fix before velvet is banished to the fashion archives once again.
Here are a few great velvet pieces to help you get inspired.