Shopping the Trends of Fall 2011- Color-Blocked Separates

While color-blocking is no new trend story, it wasn’t until this fall season that we really saw a spike in contrasts with ingenious iterations from designer’s the world over.


Along with some simple shopping advice, here’s a look at some of our favorite uses of color-blocking that are certain to make a graphic statement this season and most probably many to come.

Balenciaga (and above)

Nicolas Ghesquiere has been doing graphic sci-fi couture for many seasons and fall’s addition of thoughtfully color-blocked asymmetrical layered tunics and dresses made for a bold and completely modern update to his repertoire.

His use of layering also made for shapes with dynamic trapeze effects full of endless layering potential as evidenced by his contrasting seamed scuba inspired pants.

Dries Van Noten

As no stranger to the mixed messages of collage prints, it was naturally inevitable for Dries Van Noten to make a play on color-blocking with alternate contrasting sleeves, panels and prints.

As pictured above, his structured midi skirt with its crimson edging beautifully frames the lower half while miraculously elongating the frame.

Jonathan Saunders

From the younger school of print enthusiasts, Jonathan Saunders graphic contrasting prints brilliantly manage to highlight different parts of the body while shifting focus away from other parts as seen above, where the eye instantly fixes its gaze upon the model’s shoulders with a vivid color to illuminate the face, essentially moving attention away from the bust and the hip.


Preen’s new take on the tulip skirt gives off a peplum effect but the real beauty here lies in the juxtaposition of vivid royal purple against an acidic orange, making it a perfect piece to pull out during the seasons grayer days.

What to look for-

  • In the Mix: When it comes to prints, the message is mixed however we suggest looking for juxtaposing prints that have an anchoring relativity between them
  • Keep it Simple: Bold color ways call for clean, unadorned surfaces
  • Look for Shapes: The trend may be color-blocking but we suggest seeking something less run of the mill and more complex construction wise via layers, contemporary cuts and asymmetry
  • Flaunt/Obscure: Be sure to find pieces that emphasize or move the eye away from features as they should be considered highlighters and or detractors
  • One-at-a-Time: Don’t do color-blocking head-to-toe, this is not a trend that should be too matchy
  • Find its Strength: For best results, pick one color from your color-blocked piece as the main color for your look