Top Spring Fashion Trends Straight from the Runway

Whether it's a stark white or an intense pop of electric neon, the looks from New York City's Spring 2012 Fashion Week touched both ends of the spectrum, and then some. Click through our forecast for what will be on everyone's shopping list next season.
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September 10, 2011 12:30 PM
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Neon

Peter Som
The color-blocking trend gets a fun, fresh facelift with Peter Som's latest collection of high-voltage neons against '60s-style silhouettes.

Neon

Jason Wu
We'd love to see First Lady Michelle Obama rock this hot yellow number, a sharp twist from the designer who's known for offering a timeless, highly refined red carpet look. This season, he took inspiration from a graffiti artist, and the added edge is one of his boldest moves yet.

Neon

Rag & Bone
Electric hues are nothing new to David Neville and Marcus Wainwright, but the bright turquoises and oranges popped in some seriously exciting combinations on the runway.

Neon

Rodarte
Sisters Kate and Laura Mulleavy were inspired by Vincent van Gogh with this season's color palette, and although we see evidence of the the post-impressionist painter's brush strokes, we don't recall him using anything quite as shocking as this lime green ruched top and pencil skirt in, say, Starry Night.

Neon

Ruffian
It was hard to know just where to look when this look came down the runway. The shock of yellow against the blue and green skirt was graphic color blocking at its most extreme.

Neon

Nanette Lepore
If there was any question about neon being the upcoming color family of choice, Nanette Lepore's collection quieted all queries. From the ultraviolet lipstick to the brighter-than-brightly crafted handbags, every look was truly spellblinding.

Art Deco Graphics

Lacoste
In his first showing for the brand, Felipe Oliveira Baptista played with lines and even made us try to follow the maze of this chic shift dress.

Art Deco Graphics

Carolina Herrera
When she wasn't affixing adorable sparrow prints to dresses, Carolina Herrera was playing with geometry. We love how the black, taupe, and white graphics on this knit top evoke the Chrysler Building!

Art Deco Graphics

Alexander Wang
Some of his dresses had a literal stadium seating chart as the focal print, but we much preferred this more abstract-yet-linear take. The corners and edges made a baggy top feel sharp and tailored.

Art Deco Graphics

Milly
Michelle Smith offered up a lesson in geometry with her latest collection for the brand. The vibrant linear prints and clean shapes — not to mention the adorable retro neck scarf — made us more than happy for the crash course.

Pajamas

ADAM
Going to sleep never looked so stylish as it does in Adam Lippes' show, where PJ-style pants and tops reigned. This look's polka-dot (another trend that has legs through at least another few seasons) print did the trick, too.

Pajamas

Richard Chai Love
Although Richard Chai played up pajama dressing this go-around, there was nothing overly slouchy about these silk rose printed pants.

Pajamas

Luca Luca
Raul Melgoza demonstrated a more relaxed mood on this season's runway, but even his loungewear-inspired looks — teal-and-blue striped pants under a robe blazer with a matching knotted headscarf — still showed off his focus on expert tailoring.

Pajamas

Betsey Johnson
Sure, not many of the looks on the cartwheeling designer's runway are really appropriate outside the bedroom, this burlesque-inspired floral onesie is one we'd love to wear exclusively when hitting the sheets.

Athletic Chic

Alexander Wang
Sure, most of Alexander Wang's collections are all about tough, urban street wear, but this one really honed in on the motocross moment in particular. Aside from actual motorcycle helmets and laser-cut mesh layering, this body-con tracksuit made us all want to hit the gym in style.

Athletic Chic

Marc by Marc Jacobs
You can't get much sportier than with this look from Marc Jacob's more affordable collection. Although all the moving pieces on their own aren't especially remarkable, when they come together, it's street chic at its finest. And those shoes! We love a good pair of color-blocked kicks.

Athletic Chic

Victoria Beckham
Posh Spice has gone a wee bit sportier with her first official runway show. All about utility, the most noticeable embellishment were the sturdy nylon straps fastened with durable D-rings.

Athletic Chic

Rag & Bone
There's something intriguing about the dangling straps from this mullet skirt — short in front and long in back — and we suspect that there's some hidden utility to change the fabric's height. Either way, having it paired with an ultra-white crisp tee makes it all the more striking.

Athletic Chic

Nicole Miller
Nicole Miller toughened up the also-emerging neon trend with hyperactive prints and loads of neoprene that evoked a real skater-girl vibe, which was happily exactly what the designer was going for.
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Diaphanous Whites

Kimberly Ovitz
The up-and-coming designer's latest collection was predominantly a medley of ethereal whites — all loosely pieced together and draped.

Diaphanous Whites

Doo.Ri
Doo-Ri Chang is above all a master draper, and with this look, she managed to offer the structure of a crisp white button-down with the unexpected flow of a pseudo-sarong.

Diaphanous Whites

Yigal Azrouël
Mostly prim and proper with this long-sleeved, floor-length white shirt-dress, the designer shows off a hint of sex appeal with an above-the-knee slit.
Courtesy of The Row
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Diaphanous Whites

The Row
Despite the primarily white palette, Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen snuck in barely-there mint with this mix of separates that seem to float through the air.

Diaphanous Whites

Band of Outsiders
This floor-dusting tiered frock — with its chic pastoral feel — from Scott Sternberg's womenswear collection exuded a sweet softness.

Graphic Florals

Prabal Gurung
Floral prints are rapidly becoming a trend this season — but not just any floral. With a little digital manipulation, Prabal Gurung takes a Magic Eye approach to pretty petals and turns them into something out of a sci-fi fantasy. So complex and fascinating you can get lost in them for hours.

Graphic Florals

Cynthia Rowley
There were no shrinking violets at Rowley's spring show. What might otherwise be an overly girly (Lisa Frank-inspired, perhaps?) flower pattern, got an edgy twist when juxtaposed against metallic gold and black leather.

Graphic Florals

Altuzarra
Joseph Altuzarra has gone Hawaiian with his street wear this season. Although he offered up the print in a head-to-toe vest-and-pants ensemble, we much prefer the floral panel on an edgy leather LWD.

Graphic Florals

Lela Rose
We love the juxtaposition of oversized neon flowers with the smoky, blackened backdrop of this skirt, so it's no wonder we found out the designer was inspired by a visit to a Las Vegas graveyard for old neon signs.

Crop Tops

Preen
Ladies better hit the gym this season! It's all about the abs for some designers, including Preen's Thea Bregazzi and Justin Thornton, who strutted this midriff-baring black-and-white floral top down the runway.

Crop Tops

Ohne Titel
Flora Gill and Alexa Adams know how to exude sex appeal with just a hint of skin. This striped and cropped sweater has a sophisticated, asymmetrical feel.

Crop Tops

Proenza Schouler
Don't let the long sleeves and bodysuit fool you. Jack McCollough and Lazaro Hernandez have created quite the conservative crop with this number. Plus, they are about to have a new it-bag on their hands with this old-school camera-bag-inspired purse. We can see it on Tavi Gevinson and Julia Frakes already.

Crop Tops

Oscar de la Renta
Who knew crop tops could sub in for chic evening wear? Even if it wasn't exposing some serious stomach, the loosely crocheted silver-thread sweater at Oscar's show revealed skin all on its own.

Black on Yellow

Monique Lhuillier
Almost more difficult than red and green with Christmas, it's nearly impossible to put these two colors together and not make the model look like a giant bumble bee. And yet the evening gown maker adds black lace to a cadmium yellow dress effortlessly.

Black on Yellow

Nicole Miller
Anyone looking for added edge most definitely found it in spades with this Nicole Miller scuba dress, which had black leather cut-outs affixed atop bright yellow trim.
Frazer Harrison/Getty Images
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Black on Yellow

Derek Lam
This more subtle take on the color combination is at once vibrant and conservative. Perfect for day to night!

Black on Yellow

Yigal Azrouël
Yigal Azrouël combines black and yellow in a series of darling georgette prints, like this top tucked into the hottest of black hot pants.

Black on Yellow

Carolina Herrera
The designer attempted this color combination with a few looks from her latest collection, but the most noticeable pairing was this embroidered sheer overlay with a simple yellow dress.

Black on Yellow

Oscar de la Renta
The very first look on the OdlR runway was pretty much a showstopper: a mustard yellow silk taffeta ball gown topped with a sheer black floral lace top.

Polka Dots

Suno
For a refreshing take on a classic trend, Max Osterweis and Erin Beatty showed off a painterly style of black-on-white polka dots in their very first runway show.

Polka Dots

ADAM
It's not just the ultra-femme silhouette of this frock we love, but the playful spots that are at once classic and youthful. Perfectly refreshing!

Polka Dots

Luca Luca
For a more adult take on dots, Raul Melgoza created a top with a cascading effect of multicolored jewel-tone spots.

Polka Dots

Tory Burch
There's something very Chanel about this three-dimensional take on spotted prints at Tory Burch's first runway show after nearly a decade of presentations.

Tangerine

Vivienne Tam
With most runway shows and presentations debuting one acid hue after another, the deep red-orange of Vivienne Tam's chic pantsuit is a top option for those who still want to add a little color to their wardrobe.

Tangerine

Charlotte Ronson
Up until the final handful of looks, the young designer stuck to a quiet color scheme with her collection. But the last four looks all burst forward — from a mere ombré effect to full-on saturation — with striking pops of orange.

Tangerine

Jill Stuart
Palm trees were a definite, if not literal, inspiration of Jill Stuart's latest collection, and it got play in this sweet coral-and-cream dress.

Tangerine

Christian Siriano
The Project Runway alum's flair for drama was in full force, but we tend to prefer his more understated — if you can even call it that! — pairings of T-shirts and skirts. The one exception? The palette behind this striped-top-and-tulle-skirt number.

Tangerine

Jenny Packham
Even with the thigh-high slit, we can totally see Kate Middleton — the Duchess of Cambridge is an avid fan of the London-based designer — rocking this beautifully draped one-shoulder gown to a benefit with her Prince Charming.

Peplum Accents

Vera Wang
The designer was all about peplums this season, but if her clientele isn't interested, not to worry: They're detachable. Still, their swirling, psychedelic prints give the perfect pop to all-white ensembles. Perhaps they'll bring new life to some of Vera's wedding gowns!

Peplum Accents

Thakoon
The amazingly out-there hair of the model's at Thakoon's runway show almost stole the show away from this edgy look, which combines the feminine frills of a peplum top with the masculine touch of bermuda shorts.

Peplum Accents

Jason Wu
Jason Wu's fabric choice for this pink peplum skirt was impeccable. Watching it sashay with every step turned it into an instant must-have.

Peplum Accents

Cushnie et Ochs
A fashion show that played off a very literal housewives theme (there was a white picket fence at the start of the runway!) ended up delivering looks that anyone — desperate or not — would want. Case in point: This leather peplum jacket and cigarette pants.