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By Natasha McGowan

We surveyed the SS14 runways well past the point of Fashion Month Fatigue, and there's no denying that the events, coverage and social media play-by-plays can all feel like too much. That said, there are bright spots in this consumption-driven frenzy, as emerging ethical fashion labels come into their own and eco-fashion pioneers continue to hold court in high-fashion circles. Once the deep chill of winter sets in, these are the looks we'll be seeing in our warm-weather dreams.

Head-to-toe achromatic styling dominated the catwalks for spring. Some designers played it simple–we loved AWAVEAWAKE’s sweeping dress and cape, as well as Osklen’s minimalist top-and-trouser pairing. Australian label Ginger & Smart offered a more elaborate, characteristically playful take with a white dress featuring sheer panels and floral cutouts. Suno topped off an all-white outfit with a garland-like necklace that added dimension to the look, while the finishing touch at Zero + Maria Cornejo was a slender strip of black.

It looks like Jenji Kohan was onto something beyond comic genius when she created Orange Is the New Black, as the spring 2014 season will bring an influx of this bold color. Costello Tagliapietra doubled up on the hue with three-piece suiting featuring shades of melon and papaya. Ivana Helsinki, Osklen and Daniel Silverstein all stuck with a single iteration of the color, playing with fabric and texture instead. For those wary of going all out on the color du jour, Stella Jean's voluminous printed skirt is yet another way to work this statement.

Appliquéd or embroided details, dresses fastened with rope, strips of material pinned onto otherwise simple garments—designers seemingly looked to their arts-and-crafts boxes for inspiration this season. Quirky embellishments in the form of lips, palm trees and avocados were popular with Stella McCartney, Osklen’s Oskar Metsavaht and Libertine’s Johnson Hartig. Maiyet’s Kristy Caylor and Ivana Helsinki finished garments with fabric panels and 3D details, transforming camisoles and cropped sweaters into avant-garde pieces.

Whether the vibe is prim or hipster, designers are buttoning up for spring. For an urban-preppy take, turn to Stella McCartney and Costello Tagliapietra, who modernize the aesthetic with oversized and military touches respectively. If your style is sweet and ladylike, look no further Beautiful Soul London's lilac flower-print blouse, which was made all the more feminine by a pleated knee-length skirt. If eclecticism is your speed, Suzanne Rae's button-up blouse features a head-turning abstract print, and Stella Jean takes it over the top with a prints-and-gingham ensemble featuring a statement necklace fastened tightly beneath the shirt collar.

Wide-leg pants were everywhere for spring, suited to both work and play. Organic by John Patrick’s pale blue trousers transition seamlessly from an office to a leisurely seaside setting, and there's a similar resort quality to the styles we spotted in Maiyet and AWAVEAWAKE's SS14 presentations. For evening, Costello Tagliapietra offers a low-key metallic sheen, while Suno elevates the aesthetic with its embellished palazzo pants.

Summertime and skimpy clothing go together like ice cream and cones, but there's a more elegant way to bare it all for 2014. Designers seemed determined to see the sheer trend through, especially for evening. Ginger & Smart, Stella McCartney and Daniel Silverstein all availed themselves of miniscule but strategically placed linings or decorative elements to keep their dresses and tops PG-rated. But the look was decidedly more daring at AWAVEAWAKE and Organic by John Patrick, where Jaclyn Hodes and John Patrick went for full transparency. Patrick, however, paired his skirt with an opaque sweater–you know, for shy types.

As always, don't forget to join us on Pinterest for some ethical SS14-themed pinning.


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