Fashionably Fresh

Moving from maxed-out color to a more subdued look, Spring 2006 has relaxed from seasons past.

On the hanger

The trends for spring breeze in with a cool sense of calm, coupled with fashionable elegance. “With the influence of the beach, the desert, and natural, organic materials, neutrals take a stand with a range of quiet shades,” according to Pantone, Inc.’s Fashion Color Report Spring 2006. Resonating a gentle combination, muted pastels and deeper earth tones unite.

“After several seasons of color, color, color, it’s time to relax a little,” says Leatrice Eiseman, executive director of the Pantone Color Institute. “Color this season is toned down, more muted—they’re not pastels, not brights, but a nuance in between.” Making a departure from the deep autumnal tones of Fall 2005 and the electric shades of Winter 2005, Spring 2006 steers the trends into a playful respite of effortless attitude.

Breeze in color. Blue makes a splash with inspirations from the sea. Taking form in Blue Tint, Skyway, Viola and Deep Ultramarine, high-fashion designers such as Lela Rose, Peter Som and Esteban Cortazar are making this season’s star shade their signature color. Ralph Lauren introduced a blue patchwork suit and menswear stripes in Skyway with his spring collection. Layering the shades or adding accents of creamy French Vanilla, earthy Sand Dollar and rich, chocolaty Clove, the mood is blue. See Spring Color Trends.

White takes the lead with this season’s tone-down of color. The New York runways were all the rage with this virginal hue, featured in some of the headlining collections. Calvin Klein showcased an A-line knee-length dress, while Brian Cook paired a classic white button-down blouse and a sleek, straight skirt, and Narciso Rodriguez introduced a white trench dress matched with black heels.

Other dynamic, rich muted tones enhance the palette with a sense of playful spirit. Juicy, tangy Melon, and fresh botanical tones of grassy Lily Green and pinched-cheek Cameo Pink mingle as an accent or a primary. Retro florals, embellished tops, plaid dresses and patterned jackets mix and match any number of these subdued hues for a soothing, elegant combination. Inspired by the light colors of the season, designers are using airy, washed fabrics, such as crepes, chiffons, easy-to-wear cottons, silks, taffetas, linens and laces.

Minimize to accessorize. The trend of muted colors is underscored with a minimalist approach to accessories. Straying away from the “more-is-more” philosophy of layers of beaded necklaces, bracelets and scarves enables wearers to make a statement with one signature piece. String-strand necklaces, personalized charm bracelets and earrings, and plastic pins add a bit of funk to dressed-down accessories.

Belts saunter the runway in all forms. Thick leather with a silver buckle adds a hint of toughness to a sleek white pantsuit. Layer three thin belts over a chiffon skirt, or add a braided wrap that hangs with a tassel. Bags get bigger as carryalls haul life’s treasures. Pair a bolero jacket and jeans with a pretty-in-pink clutch, also in this season. Out the window goes mom’s old adage that your purse should match your shoes. Go wedge in platforms and heels that match—or don’t match—the outfit. Flats and miniwedges in metallic, glitter and rhinestone are a hit.

Take a hint. Dressing up truly is the style. From baby doll and shift to empire-waisted and strapless, everybody’s body will have something to wear. A tunic and a flowing skirt also say “dress” in two pieces. Try some other suggestions to create a unique look this season.

• Match a bolero jacket with lace trim and a full-skirted dress in tomato red.

• Empire-waist and cropped jackets in three-quarter-length sleeves pair well with anything.

• Play with fabric and cut—skirts and dresses come in every style and color.

• Hand-embroidered tank tops go from day to night.

• Combine washable silks, laces, chiffons and linens with rugged denim.

• Blouses and tunics add flounce to a sleeker bottom.

Making a face

Cosmetic colors are nature-inspired—soft, earthy tones and pale pastels. Desert shades of rich dusty red, sandstone and slate gray abound. A dewy, nude face causes eyes to pop and softer, muted tones to stand out. Aged gold shimmers, and natural blues highlight brows, hinting at subtle glamour. Fresh, luminous skin glows with a touch of bronzing that re-emphasizes the natural, nude trend of spring.

Whether fresh and clean or dark and smoky, Spring 2006 centers around the eyes. Fashion Group Inc. (FGI) predicts two coexisting trends in makeup. The new guard emphasizes the eyes—lashed and thickly lined with smoky lids—and pale lips. Pore-perfect skin takes center stage with the old guard, accompanied by blush as a natural flush, understated eyes, and soft pink or peachy-coral lips.

With all this attention focused on the eyes, lips are left to revel with a slight shine that enhances their natural shape. Colorful, rich makeup also is a trend seen by Emily Dougherty, beauty director for Elle magazine. The glamour girl—a signature look of singer Gwen Stefani—sports bright red lustful lips and richly lined eyes. Deeply painted lips in red or pink are complemented by minimalist eyes.

Spring makeup emphasizes one feature and tones down the rest of the face to add even more drama. Combine dark eyes with lightly glossed lips, a brightly shaded pucker with a light coat of mascara and nude lips, or cool pastels swept across the lids and natural color lining the mouth.

Dress your tresses

On the runway, hair ranged from sleek and off the face to flowing, natural locks. Hair complements the focus on makeup by remaining subdued with ponytails, slicked-back bangs with a side part and loosely pinned curls. Another popular look this season is a combination of sleek and wild. Bipolar styles gel the hair around the face for smooth, clean lines, yet allow tresses to go loose and wild piled at the crown of the head.

Individuality is key for Spring 2006. Styles will reflect the client’s needs and hair type to create effortless, easy-maintenance looks. Popular styles range from asymmetrical haircuts to contemporary-yet-classic neo bobs. Color can be playful, as long as it is believable and works well with the cut.

Nail down a color

Shed short, dark winter nails for tailored, brightly hued hands. Fun, perky colors, such as juicy tangerine, passionate pink, zesty lemon and arresting red, add a playful edge to the simplified look of Spring 2006. Or go nude and buffed with a hint of natural glistening. Pastel pink and sensual lavender complement most complexions and fashion statements. For nails that work with any occasion, choose a color that picks up the undertones of the skin, or dare to go bold with a completely different shade.

Prep for summer

Sun-kissed skin glows as the summer months begin to sizzle. Trends for this season diverge into two themes: bold, powerful energy infused with Mediterranean simplicity, and a fresh, clean “I’m not wearing any makeup” flush. Lavender and olive, pearly red-coral and reddish-brown, and turquoise and golden-yellow will scream deep, bold color with a luxurious, chic edge. For a more relaxed look, keep makeup light with brown sugar-lined eyes, just-pinched cheeks and apple lips.

Dabble in subtlety

With cool, muted colors leading the season, Spring 2006 is awash in a breezy, carefree spirit. Simplify with sleek lines, minimal accessories, pulled-back hair and a fresh, dewy face. Add Mediterranean spice or natural, organic elements inspired by the desert for subtle, yet unmistakable, style.

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