Fashion has quite a bit in common with fairy tales: Strangely compelling ideas, lives distilled to extremes, and a desire to leave the banalities of this world for something more fantastic. And this season’s clothes are great for dressing up as a character in one's own story — whether the plot is Victorian, Gothic, or simply “Girls Just Want to Have Fun,” there's a little something for everyone. Scroll ahead to see the fall's biggest ideas, including rich velvets, power suits, and a return to the ’80s, shot on the stylish women who wear them in real life.
“This is a quintessentially British-eccentric look. I am from London, so this is something I really connect with. I’d rather feel odd than sexy any day.” — Tali Lennox 22, Painter
Big Fur Collars
Full up top, nipped at the waist.
“Women in suits are intimidating for some people. I don’t know if it’s because they’re traditionally a masculine thing, or if it’s because they’re not ‘sexy.’ I would take Claire Underwood’s wardrobe in a second.” — Josie Duffy 28, Racial-Justice Lawyer and Writer
It’s election season.
Perfect for an inauguration.
The Virtuous Victorian
“There is something very creepy about the Victorian era. I’m definitely interested in darkness. I went to a psychic who said that I channeled my creativity from a cryptic place.” — Elizabeth Ammerman 25, Designer and Shop Clerk
Lacy and (Mostly) Modest
The Victorian go-to.
The ‘80s Icon
“I really relate to Dale Bozzio from the band Missing Persons. This is like something she would wear. It’s super–New Wave and post-punk, which I’ve always been drawn to.” — Samantha Urbani 27, Musician
Tight, shiny, and inauthentic.
Desperately Seeking Big Earrings
To wear on just one ear.
“Oh My Goth!”
“My favorite color used to be gray. I’ve been influenced by Harajuku style in Tokyo since I was 18.” — Asumi Higashimura 28, Student
The Black-Widow Brigade
Paging Tim Burton.
For stomping, and feeling.
The New Retro
Easter colors on autumn clothes.
And old-fashioned way to fasten.
What, exactly, is a brooch? (Formal name: fibula.) It traces back to the Bronze Age, when it was used to fasten cloaks and capes. Cast aside for buttons in the Middle Ages, it regained popularity in the 18th century as a means of decoration as well as mourning (Victorians often encased hair within brooches for keepsakes).
For ears, noses, lips, even faces.
The grown-up version.
Jacquard, damask, brocade.
Fashion and interior design have always cross-pollinated: This season, Stella McCartney’s paisley brocades are a dead ringer for Calico Wallpaper’s Aurora prints, and Clarence House’s Orsini Paisley fabric was evoked for the Lanvin show. Marc Jacobs’s set was based on Diana Vreeland’s “garden in hell” red living room designed by Billy Baldwin. – Wendy Goodman
For a night at the opera.
With handles, not straps.
Bring on the polar vortex.
The brutality of last winter introduced polar vortex into the common lexicon. But the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration is predicting a “strong El Niño event” through early spring 2016, meaning there’s a good chance of a milder winter this year for the Northeast. The irony? Coats are bigger, bulkier, and more quilted than ever.
Black, White, and Graphic
Zebras, checkers, and an Escher-esque grid.
Great Big Grommets
Hemlines Move Up
The return of the miniskirt.
*This article appears in the August 10, 2015 issue of New York Magazine.