s/s 2012 fashion week recap: nyc

The September shows are such a tease. Just as the weather is starting to go downhill, slowly descending into the icy depths of winter, designers trot out their spring collections, showing clothes made for weather that won't be seen for at least six months. Sigh.

The New York shows wrapped last week, and at least we have lots of gorgeous clothes to look forward to wearing when spring finally returns. The New York shows were dominated by a dizzying array of prints (floral! geometric! tribal!), an optimistic rainbow of bright colors (yellow! pink! cobalt!), a continued obsession with color blocking, and plenty of pristine white.

As always, there were some particularly standout collections. My top five New York shows for Spring 2012 are (click the links for full reviews and images):

Ok, ok, I know that's more than five - there were just a few too many excellent collections for me to limit myself to five. I also have some honorable mentions:

1/ Jason Wu
For Spring 2012, Jason Wu explored his "edgy" side. For a designer who usually sends out a parade of lady-like cocktail dresses, blouses, suits and gowns, the booty shorts and leather were a departure. But don't be fooled - everything is still beautiful enough for the red carpet swans and society doyennes (not to mention First Lady Michelle Obama) who have sky-rocketed Wu into the upper echelons of fashion. The edginess is in the inspiration. Wu collaborated on the petal print seen throughout the collection with KAWS, a graffiti artist who came to fame in the '90s for tagging bus-shelter ads of Kate Moss.

2/ Michael Kors
The Michael Kors show made a great case for moving to the desert and living as a nomad. Moth eaten sweaters, sun soaked colors, animal prints, feathers - the clothes this season have a fresher, cooler vibe than some of Kors' pervious uber luxe (still fabulous) collections. And seriously, those over the shoulder belts are amazing. 

3/ Reed Krakoff
There is something about Reed Krakoff's spring collection that just grabs hold of you. Watch the video of the show streaming on the designer's website and you'll see what I'm talking about. The clothes are impeccable. Ranging from sharp, tailored, modish coats to floaty, shiny cocktail dresses, everything in here goes way beyond basic "clothing." It's fashion, pure and simple. And when it comes to accessories - try not to swoon for the bags. I dare you.

4/ Chris Benz
Chris Benz definitely gets points for presentation. The set for his spring 2012 presentation is one of the coolest I've ever seen - I absolutely adore the art studio/fashion showroom vibe. It definitely lets you know the kind of girl Benz sees wearing his clothes. Artistic and hip, the collection is just plain cool.

5/ Vera Wang
There was a palpable sense of fantasy on the Vera Wang runway this season. The clothes looked like a cross between ballet costumes and streetwear. Some of the sporty little vests, dresses and gowns, rendered in gossamer fabrics with lots of ruffle, even have hoods! Who cares if not much of it translates into real life? It's a gorgeous collection.

6/ Rachel Zoe
In her second season as a designer, uber stylist Rachel Zoe has proven she's not a one hit wonder. Yeah, she's not exactly breaking new ground with this collection, but she has created a selection of truly chic pieces that any woman can easily integrate into her existing wardrobe. And her accessories are looking pretty amazing as well. In her own words, ba-na-nas.

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