Fashion Maniac: NEON!

Fashion Maniac: Keeping tabs on Buffalo’s fashion industry, including models, catwalks, retailers, designers, stylists, visual merchandisers and jewelers. 

Neon!: A Report on the Neon Trend from the Spring/Summer 2012 Runways and the Beauty World
By Phillip D. Johnson
New York Fashion Week Spring/Summer 2012 Runway Images by Cheryl Gorski/Fashion Maniac
Neon! Photo Shoot Images Photographed by Cheryl Gorski/Fashion Maniac
If you had to use one word to sum up the spring/summer 2012′s hottest looks, that word would be color–oodles and oodles of brilliant, eye-catching, mood-brightening color in clothing, shoes and accessories. And it’s not just brilliant, eye-catching color. 

Juan Carlos Obando.jpg


Mara HoffmanThe spring
llections were also an explosion of optical patterns, graphic stripes
and checks
, mix-and-match African-inspired prints, Crayola colored
color-blocking gone mad and jus
t about every variations of color schemes
you can t
hink of. And, unless you have been living under a rock–however
stylish it
is–and/or under house arrest, you’ve probably also noticed
that the singular trend that seems to have leaped out
in front of all
the o
ther color trends we saw is neon.


hues hav
e filtered through virtually every part of fashion: from the
runways of New York, Paris and
Milan to the (yet again) emerging trend
of colored denim. Neon has also hit the
accessories world in a big way;
killer neon heels to electric (and eclectic) jewelry, handbags and
fluorescent belts. In the beauty world, neon has never been more
popular. It’s hard for most women to pull off shocking shades with hair
nd makeup; but as your mother once told you and I paraphrase, a little
of neon will go a long way in spring/summer 2012.

it come
jen kao2.jpgs and goes every 4-5 years, the neon trend is not here to stay
for very long,”
Callula Lillibelle  1.jpgsays Priscilla Montiero, Founder and Publisher of The
Fashion Reporter (www.thefashionrep, and Featured Fashion
Blogger for The Shops at C
olumbus Circle. “Fashion is like history, it
repeats its
elf so it is good to hold onto those [especially] vivid
pieces and revamp them with as needed when the trend comes around again,
as it inevitably will.”

longtime fashion force of nature and shoe aficionado (and soon to
launch–with her 2012 fall/winter collection–the first full season of
Princess London Shoes (www., her own line of
fashion shoes), she knows of what she speaks: “[As with any trend],
you have to keep the best and throw out the rest.  I got a cool pair of
6-inch neon platforms from Topshop back in 2008 when they first landed
in New York City; and until this day
, I get stopped and asked who makes
them. So that goes to show that when you carefully select trendy pieces,
they can also become timeless classics.  I personally prefer anything
vintage-inspired; however, o
n occasion I may go overboard for an
extremely bold, statement piece. Thank goodness for consignment shops to
get rid of outdated or unwanted items!”

the Mid-1980’s, neon colors ruled and the phrase “Colors That Do Not
Exist in Nature” became a familiar expression as neon filtered through
the emerging punk rock music world and became the palette of suburban
American youth rebellion, making its impact in shoes, makeup,
accessories and artfully ripped torn t-shirts.  I remember those days
very well. Good times. In the 1990
neon returned to the forefront as club kids high on life and Ecstasy
waved their glow sticks as they danced the night away the Limelight to
the music of Sir Mix-a-Lot, Madonna, Michael Jackson, and Cyndi Lauper,
Right Said Fred, TLC, PM Dawn, Janet Jackson, C&C Music Factory
feat. F. Williams, Deee-Lite, and SNAP!

In the mid-2000s,
Reebok introduced the green-neon-trimmed Court Victory Pump sneaker,
which glows in the dark (good for shooting hoops in a pitch-black gym,
although I don’t know why you would want to do that). 2007 would also be
significant as neon hair and makeup hit the fashion show runways of
Anna Sui, Marc Jacobs and Louis Vuitton at the spring/summer 2008
fashion shows, among others; and MAC Cosmetics introduced neon eye
shadows to its collection. Like a fine wine, neon fashion may wax and
wane in popularity over time, but it has never completely faded away.


Neon Fashion Trends in Spring 2012

heightened neon fashion moment for spring/summer 2012 pretty much
started on the New York Fashion Week runways in S
eptember 2011. It
wasn’t so much that no one had not seen neon colors from the previous
two seasons; it
was  more the physical onslaught of so many bright
colors, prints and patterns coming at us, show after show
after show,
that stopped us on our tracks. There was so much color–neon or
otherwise–coming down those runways that a collection such as Nicholas
K., an ode to layers of black, white, gray and sand (which I loved), was
een as a palate cleanser. Then, as in many times as I have been
sitting in a show venue watching a collection go by, I wondered, “Who’s
going to wear that stuff?”

Betsey Johnson 8.jpg
answer, of course, is nearly everyone regardless of age, although in
varying degrees
and in as many different ways as possible. As with
everything in fashion, first you scoff
with derision; next you process
over time and finally, after your eyes and brain have adjusted, y
surrender and accept it. It’s our abbreviated version of the Kübler-Ross
Grief Cycle (Shock, Denial, Bargaining, Testing, and finally
Acceptance) and we go through it regularly.

Spring 2012 Fashion Color Report laid the foundation for bright
ptimistic colors. And given our lack of confidence in the health of the
economy and its c
ontinued weakness, maybe we need all the optimism we
can get. Naturally, all the designers attended Première Vision’s fabric
trade show in Paris (the world’s foremost fabric and materials show),
saw the same colors and fabrics from the same mills and had a vision,
pardon the pun. Maybe they too realized that we needed some brightness,
some optimism in our lives; and what else would give you that if not the
bright colors in as many shades and finishes we saw on the runways?
Once you move on from ‘what the hell?’ and view the runway shots on at your leisure after fashion week or the stacks of lookbooks
that comes in via snail mail and/or by email as post-show reminders from
the designers’ PR teams, you do want to incorporate a little bit of
neon into your life. You are so tired of the low-grade fever of worrying
about money and the mortgage;
you want to feel the optimism it
represents. As the song from the 80’s goes, “my future’s so bright, I
gotta wear shades.” The time was ripe for a big EXPLOSIVE neon moment.

Thumbnail image for _MG_b8948.jpg_MG_a9089.jpg
Nicole Miller 8.jpgThe
designers that
considerably brightened the runways in September
included BCBG Max Azria, Betsey Johnson, Cynthia Rowley, Jen
Callula Lillibelle, Guishem, Jeremy Scott, Joy Cioci, Juan Carlos
Abando, Lela Rose (who was inspired by the iconic Neon
Graveyard in Las
Vegas–where all good Las Vegas casino
signage goes to die–and Coney
Island), Nanette Lepore, Milly by Michelle Smith, Nicole Miller, Sachika
by TO-TAM & TO-NYA SACHIKA, Tadashi Shoji, Mark Fast (with his
Faster by Mark Fast show held at Milk Studios), and Mara Hoffman.

Milly by Michelle Smith.jpgRichard Chai 2.jpgWe
saw neon bright makeup and accessories again from Mark Fast (loved,
loved the way the makeup, clothing, accessories and lighting at the
Faster by Mark Fast show all
came together in creating one cool, big
Neon Kool-Aid
Acid Trip Dream), extra bright lipstick at Nicole Miller.jpgBetsey Johnson,
Joy Cioci, neon bright eye
makeup on the fairies in residence at the
Erickson Beamon show agai
n at Milk Studios, the killer neon colored
wedge sandals at Nanette Lepore, Mara Hoffman’s kitsc
hy but stylish crochet (0r is it macramé) chandelier drop earrings, the delightfully
plastic-framed sunglasses at Milly by Michelle Smith, Diane von
Furstenberg’s canary benefit ball-ready yellow clutches and envelope
handbags, and the bright green cactus print cross-shoulder bag from
Jeremy Scott.

course, the trend towards neon and bright colors will continue, if the
2012 Fall/Winter Collections is any indication. The neon trend was still
alive and well (although they are generally vivid pastels than outright
neon in some cases), as evident by the European collections from
Jonathan Saunders, Kenzo, Gazzarrini (for men), Mulberry, House of
Holland, Paul Smith Men, See by Chloe, Stella McCartney, Sportsmax,
Dries Van Norten, DSquared2, Giorgio Armani, Paul&Joe and Gaetano

Neon Fashion slideshow at Fashion Week, Spring/Summer 2012


Neon Accessories for Women in Summer 2012

Nicole Miller 3.jpgIn
accessorizing your outfit with a neon or bright color, it’s important
to practice some restraint. When it comes to jewelry, belts, etc., do
not go beyond a maximum of two bold colors; say your all-black pants and
top paired with bright colored bangles and a colorful belt. A little
goes a long way, unless you are adding a bunch of different color
bracelets or bangles. That’s always fun.  We are going for balance here,
not reminding people of a Christmas tree in in the middle of August.
Neon accessories go especially well with your summer white outfits, as
well as greys. You can incorporate neon into your professional workwear
by pairing a dark or grey skirt suit with a yellow or cerulean blue
chemise top, a la Sigourney Weaver in and Melanie Griffith in the movie,
Working Girl. You are the height of fashion but still looking very

Joy Cioci 6.jpg
clutches and bags can bring new life to any outfit and can transition
from day to night.
Adding a bright orange or pink clutch to a somewhat
earthbound ensemble adds immediate edge. Keep some accessories, neon or
otherwise, in your desk draw so that you can go from office to dinner
with the girls without having to go home to change. Another great way to
go neon is add a neon-colored handbag like the Flouro from the
Cambridge Satchel Company ( from
Britain. The Cambridge Satchel Company’s Fluoro Bag ($149) first caused a
commotion at the Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week’s Spring 2012 Shows when
plenty of attendees showed up toting it around. (The company probably
salted the earth by sending out numerous complimentary samples to a
cross-section of the top female magazine editors and the top influential
bloggers hoping that they will create a buzz. They were right.) However
having said that, thanks to plenty of street style photographs
circulating across the Internet, this British bag instantly became the
It Bag for spring. With its vintage, Eton-esque, schoolboy messenger bag
look, the Fluoro–short for “fluorescent”–comes in four
attention-grabbing colors and is on-trend in the best possible way.

Neon! Photo Shoot Credits:
by: Cheryl Gorski| Photographer & Creative Director | 716-895-1689 |
716-903-0600 | | Also on Facebook specializing
in: Fashion, head shots/modeling/acting, editorial, portraits, bands/CD
Press Kits, corporate events, Web photography, runway

Styled by: Cheryl Gorski | Photographer & Creative Director | 716-895-1689 | 716-903-0600 |

Hair: Christiana Christiano,

Dani Weiser, Makeup Artist | |
716-348-1239 | Make-up teacher, weddings, TV, film, print and SFX.
Hollywood Sunless Tanning, for appointments. Website is

Production: Michael Merisola: Set Designer/Stylist & expert in
Antiques/Modern Furniture: Owner of Coo Coo U 1478 Hertel Ave, Buffalo |
716-432-6216 |

Stylist: Lucy Perrone-Mancuso: Prop Stylist| Moda Vintage, 1509 Hertel
Ave, Buffalo, New York | 716-725-6636 | Specializing in accessories,
antiques, jewelry, furnishings, buy & sell, and rental for motion
pictures/films, and photo shoots.

Casting: Kimberly Cohen, Casting Director & model/actress for
movies, plays, photography and films., Twitter:
kmcohen, Facebook: Kimberly Cohen

Clothing and Accessories Credits:
Zuri: Daisy Braid Headdress from Free People, Orange Neon Striped Shirt from Vanity, Lime
Neon Shorts from dELiA*s
Zuri: Mellon Chiffon Dress from Cache
Zuri: White Lace Dress from Free People
Black Cotton “Love” Tank Top with multicolored neon studs accents from
Marshalls, Skinny Lime Green Jeans from dELiA*s, Neon makeup from Urban

Melissa: Orange Neon Striped Capped Sleeve Blouse & Spandex Neon Orange Skirt from H&M
Lime Green Tube Top Bra & Orange Skinny Jeans from DELiA*s, Lime
Green Neon Suede Peep toe Strappy Sandal from Charlotte Russe

Melissa: 70s-inspired Tunic Gown from Cache, Frayed Fabric Headband from Free People

Credits: Neon Makeup from Urban Outfitters, Neon Hairpieces from
Sally’s Beauty Supply, Open Weave Headband from Free People, Chandelier
Plastic Vintage Tulip Earrings from Moda Vintage. All Other Necklaces,
Bracelets and Earrings from Moda Vintage

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