Brocades bloom at New York Fashion Week

A new trend is emerging on the NYFW fall runways this week: textured brocades, worn in an entirely new way.

A black and silver brocade dress, spotted at the Oscar de la Renta fall runway show during New York Fashion Week 2016. Edward James | WireImage

The fall 2016 runways make it clear that brocade, a rich silk fabric with a raised design, is back as a continuation of the exploration of texture, pattern and the exotic seen in the spring 2016 shows. Michael Kors, Barbara Tfank and Oscar de la Renta all explored the textured, slightly exotic fabric in both tonal and colorful variations.

The big surprise this season? Brocade, an evening favorite, makes a daytime appearance. Designers are creating brocade styles with shorter hemlines, and pairing them with button down tops or sweaters. For example, these yellow and gold brocade pants (below) from Michael Kors could be stylish in a business-casual or creative office environment when worn with one of fall’s beautiful hand knit sweaters in ivory.

Model in Michael Kors NYFW 2016-2017

A model walks down the Michael Kors runway during NYFW in cream and gold brocade pants, paired with a gold chain belt and matching shoes. Antonio de Moraes Barros Filho | FilmMagic

Michael Kors gold brocade dress NYFW 2016-2017

A gold brocade dress coat from the Michael Kors fall runway show during NYFW. Antonio de Moraes Barros Filho | FilmMagic

Similarly, a brocade coat, like this one from Michael Kors, works for day or evening. It would be beautiful over a dress or pencil skirt for work or church, but it would also be modern and sophisticated over a black turtleneck and seventies flares with a mod, flat boot. Worn in the right combination, brocade can even go to the movies!

Barbara Tfank silk brocade dress

A model poses in a Barbara Tfank in a silk dress with a colorful brocade design. Photo by Kevin Sturman

A brocade dress cut with a more demure fabric, like this one above from Barbara Tfank, feels modern but dressy, making it an ideal choice for a special occasion or a business dinner. Once only available to the extremely wealthy and originally worn by nobility in the middle ages, brocade has retained its aura of exclusivity and sophistication.

Black and silver brocade Oscar de la Renta dress

A model walks the runway at the Oscar de la Renta Fall 2016 fashion show during NYFW. Her brocade dress is paired with red shoes. Edward James | WireImage

This black and silver number, above, from Oscar de la Renta can easily go from the executive boardroom to cocktails. With conservative but feminine cuts, it’s a dream of a dress for any female CEO. Plus, wearing metallic and black can feel empowering.

Fashion fact:
In the early middle ages, brocade fabrics weren’t just floral patterns; they most often depicted Persian or Christian subjects.

Lani Inlander
Lani Inlander
At age 11, Lani was often mistaken for a salesperson as she brought clothes back and forth to the fitting room for her mother and twin sister. Today, she's a personal stylist and owner of Real Life Style, who empowers women through fashion. Featured in New York Magazine, In Style, The Washington Post, and more, Lani lives with her husband and two sons in Washington, DC.