Contradiction and irony sing out in symphony for the colour white. It is an epitome of freshness under the summer sun, the innocence of a new bride and the hue of snow. While the fashion industry has traditionally associated its purity with being a colour to be best worn in summer, white has infact found a warm and safe spot on the trend charts of fall / winter 2012 fashion. The colour white was seen in a plethora of styles and variations on the fall 2012 runway and we discuss how you can include this innocent hue in your wardrobe for the chillier months. Continue reading for the full report.

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Unlike our other colour trend reports for fall 2012, this one is a bit tricky because you can’t distinguish the colour white on the basis of the various hues it entails, but rather more on theme. You may be able to pick out cream against milky white and whitewash opposed to silky white on the runway, but that’s not what the trend is for this season. This fall is all about wearing this pure colour with a point of difference in terms of its fitting and cuts. Yes, the colours still exist, but the more assortment you can have in your wardrobe, the better it is. There are no rules against the fabrics you choose, as fall usually signifies heavier and more textured kinds. So, look for fur, wool, knits, silks and heavy cottons, to be in the safe zone.

Tailored white clothing

This style of white was spotted at the Peter Som, Zac Posen and Alexander Wang’s fall / winter 2012 shows. The tailored white aesthetically tilts towards the androgyny and mod ‘60s style, but it essentially stays architectural. Think wide-legged pants, stern shoulders, defined waistlines and formal shirts.

The sharp tailoring is a migrated look from the silhouette of the black tuxedo, but it’s in white and more figure-hugging feminine. This classic look is relatively easy to style, because you don’t have to worry too much about bold pieces that’ll make a statement. This look, as a whole, contributes to a statement-worthy ensemble. Look at Derek Lam’s shift dress for inspiration or Alberta Ferretti’s pantsuit combination – both show distinctive silhouettes and aesthetics, but the softness of the colour white puts them in the field of soft androgynous tailoring.

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Tailored white clothing at Alexander Wang and Alberta Ferretti A/W ’12

Snow Queen

Many Disney movie scenarios go like this: the princess pines for her handsome prince to rescue her from the awful shadows of a dark character. She dons flouncy gowns with her feet buried in centimetres of white snow. Apart from the villain in this situation, the only thing relatable to this is the innocence of the colour white in these fairytales. The white snow, the white gowns and the cinematic use of the colour white. Disney princesses wear the colour at the very start of the story and then end with it by donning a white wedding dress at the very end. The untouched and princess-like appeal of this colour is one that was hinted at in the fall / winter collections.

Another way to imagine the Snow Queen look is as an antithesis to the season’s darkly Gothic one. Pucci’s combinations of slinky white dresses and icy furs signalled that their wearer could be the ruler of Narnia. The fairytale-esque silhouettes seen in Sonia Rykiel and Nina Ricci’s collections used lace abundantly, in addition to soft and sheer fabrics. Meanwhile, Valentino’s high necklines and modest hems prove that this season’s snow queen might just be a virgin in all her glory.

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Snow queen looks at Nina Ricci and Pucci, F/W ’12

Ski ready

When temperatures take a dip, you ought to cover yourself in cable knits, fur and fluffy wool jackets. And what better way to camouflage in the snow-covered mountains than to wear furry whites for your next ski holiday? These not just give you the advantage to get lost with all your equipments, but also give you liberty to not worry about wet stains or patches post a facedown fall in the snow.

Peter Som and J. Mendel, both did beautiful furry white overcoats that can be altered to wear indoors or out. However, giving an edge to the look was Lacoste’s ultra sports luxe white ski ensemble and Moncler Grenoble took the trend to a whole new level of literal translation with the ice-skating ring.

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White ski-ready outfit from Lacoste, F/W ’12

If you really want to go all-out on the ski look, pair a fluffy white jacket with rosy ski-bunny makeup, as seen at Michael Kors.

What to wear white with?

With this colour trend, it’s not enough just knowing what cuts or styles are going to rock the next season. You need to be able to incorporate these runway looks into your personal wardrobes and pair them cleverly.

The trick is not to treat this hue like the colour black. Basically, don’t start pairing this colour with every colour that currently resides in your wardrobe. Yes, it’s one of those neutral shades that has the capability of creating a perfect match for every shade under the sun, but this season, it’s not just about wearing ‘white’, but it’s about the other colours you team white with. We look at the two shades that are super hot for the coming six months.

White and gold

Think royalty and luxury when adding gold to your white ensemble. You could either accent with gold accessories, such as shoes or button detailing, or go bold like Paco Rabanne did with a shimmering gold inner vest. This hint of shimmer and shine has the capacity of taking your outfit to a level of glamour and poise, without any vulgarity or childish shine.

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White and gold at J. Mendel and Paco Rabanne, F/W ’12

Want more? Add other metallic shades to the mix with white, similar to how Jil Sander and Alexander Wang altered the look for the runway.

White and black

This is a classic that will never lose its charm – a monochromatic ensemble always has the power to challenge your styling. You could mix different shades of cream and simply accent the look by wearing black heels and/or gloves. Or take Pucci’s sharp tailoring approach by adding a white tuxedo blazer to a seductive black gown. These two colours are the yin-yang of styling that are the safety net in a wardrobe; you have the permission to play with the two hues as much as you wish. Just don’t be predictable and boring.

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Black and white outfit at Emilio Pucci, F/W ’12

More picture inspiration for wearing white in winter

As well as those described above, there were plenty of other great examples of white clothing being worn on the fall 2012 runways. For more inspiration, click on the thumbnails and peruse the gallery.

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