In case you didn’t get the fall/winter style memo: Capes are a thing. Huge. That’s also the problem with capes. They tend to be so huge that you’re not quite sure what to do with all the fabric, and how do you throw a purse into the mix? Holman-Rao wrestled with that design quandary and came up with the hybrid men’s trench/cape.
“This isn’t a Superman cape,” she explained. “It’s not all over the place. It has a narrower silhouette and looks like a men’s coat in the back. And you can actually put your purse on your shoulder. I’ve always struggled with that, so I wanted to provide a solution for women. I hope I get the Nobel Prize for this! I mean, it’s important to know what to do with your bag when you’re wearing a cape!”
The key print...[caption id="attachment_33987" align="aligncenter" width="563"] Mohair V-neck sweater in amber green ($129) with blurred-rose-print strapless dress ($199). #want[/caption] This moody rose floral is the signature print for the fall/winter collection. Richards said she was drawn to the fabric because it felt modern but still iconic to the Lord & Taylor brand. “I also love the rich, deep colour,” she explained. “We came from a season of really bright colours, so it was nice to take it to a more sophisticated place. The amber-green sweater paired with the skirt was inspired by a picture I saw of a girl wearing a skirt with a grungy sweater. It’s the only real pop of colour in the collection.” The new suit... [caption id="attachment_33982" align="aligncenter" width="563"] The New Suit (top, $129, and ankle pants, $159) is modern, stylish and effortlessly chic.[/caption] Holman-Rao also introduced another design innovation this season, one she calls "the New Suit." The pinstriped fabric paired with the Chairman Mao silhouette is a delightful capitalism-meets-communism fashion twist. Holman-Rao was wearing the tunic and slim pants combo that night, and she looked exactly like the woman she described would love it. “It makes her feel like she can be in control of the room without looking totally suited up," she explained. "It's easier to wear—and it’s more fashionable.” The "emotional" must-have buy ... [caption id="attachment_33983" align="aligncenter" width="507"] Burned-out-rose tea-length skirt ($149) and cashmere crewneck ($119). Holman-Rao predicts that this will also be a sellout.[/caption] There are practical buys, and then there are emotional buys.... Richards told me that this collection has a number of items that will be catnip for the emotional shopper. “This is a woman who loves fashion and is attuned to how it makes her feel," she said. "There was a time when she just looked at the price because of the economy, but now she’s ready to make some investments because they last longer and make her feel better. Two of the most emotional items will be the jumpsuit and the burned-out-rose skirt. The jumpsuit is very chic and sleek. It’s not just something for club night; you can wear it during the day—especially with the cape.” The skirt, which is a wool blend, looks heavy, but it’s remarkably light. Holman-Rao calls it a “real engineering feat.” I'd say she has another Nobel Prize winner on her hands. READ MORE Fall fashion 2014: Our favourite runway looks The top 10 fashion trends from fall winter 2014