The proof of today's trend was on the fall runways, where we saw loads of velvet separates, ranging from paper bag pencil skirts (like the Gathered Velvet Skirt ($1550) designed by Hannah MacGibbon for Chloé) to brocade coats (seen at Prada). And while it's true that this luxurious fabric calls to mind the excess of the eighties (a reference perfectly executed by Marc Jacobs' Asymmetric Velvet Dress ($1990) F/W 09 collection) and nineties grunge (we can thank Erin Wasson for ushering that trend), our favorite velvet-focused looks are neither wildly dramatic nor distressed. Rather, they feature simple silhouettes and rich gem tones, two factors that allow the material to shine. Naturally, we're not the only ones harboring a velvet crush. In fact, all sorts of stylish ladies, from on-screen ingénues to catwalk queens, are indulging in the season's best fancy fabric trend.
To begin our examination of how today's trendsetters are wearing velvet now, let us first consider the lovely Isabel Lucas. For the 500 Days of Summer premiere, the Transformers-star chose Giambattista Valli's Ruched Silk and Velvet Cocktail Dress ($1995, 212.753.7300) in a delicious shade of aubergine. As you can see, the purple palate perfectly shows off the luster of the frock's panne velvet draped top and prim hemline. If you'd like to create an outfit with a similar vibe, simply pair Marc Jacobs' Velvet Pencil Skirt ($550) with a silk top to get a flip-flopped Lucas look.
Another fantastic way to work velvet into your winter wardrobe is best illustrated by art director Julia Restoin-Roitfeld, seen here during Paris Fashion Week. Restoin-Roitfeld looked very much like fashion royalty in her effortless mini, though it is her styling choices that really elevate her outfit. She deftly mixed her Miu Miu Navy Velvet Shirt Dress ($940, 212.334.5156) with a cool shrunken moto (the Leather Biker Jacket ($2250), also from Miu Miu) to bring a little edge to her elegant ensemble. This easy-going silhouette is ideal for any work-related holiday event and will act as a grounding piece for statement jewelry and killer shoes. Be sure to check out Vince's Velvet Dress ($325) for a dead-ringer of JRR's versatile selection.
Jessica Alba also opted for a Miuccia Prada design when she attended the fifth annual Clinton Global Initiative party held at New York City's Museum of Modern Art. The rich scarlet hue of Alba's Leopardo Jacquard Velvet Dress ($3255, 310.550.5900) is spot-on for any festive occasion and can be tempered with a pair of opaque tights and high-heeled ankle booties. Of course, if you would rather not splurge on a right-from-the-runway selection, try Rachel Roy's Velvet 24 Hour Dress ($139) instead. As the name implies, it's the perfect piece to rock around the clock this holiday season!
But if you'd prefer to mix a smaller element of velvet into your winter rotation, consider Jacquetta Wheeler for your ensemble role model. Though Wheeler, seen here en route to a Vogue-hosted event at the Saatchi Gallery in London, mixed a Marc by Marc Jacobs shrunken coat from the F/W 05 season with a Balenciaga top and Stella McCartney printed pants, there are a lot of other luxurious cover-up options currently available. For example, Twenty8Twelve's Velvet Jacket ($415) or Topshop's Velvet Swing Shrug ($60) are two smart outerwear options that will help you achieve Wheeler's richly layered look.
Needless to say, whatever your style is (be it full-blown fancy or just an elegant accent), in today's story you are guaranteed to find some seriously chic ways to incorporate velvet into your wardrobe. And while Mr. Franklin probably didn't have holiday get-ups in mind, whether it's a divine dress or a heavenly coat or skirt, velvet will absolutely help you achieve sartorial success today and everyday for months to come!
Photos of Jessica Alba, Isabel Lucas, from Splash; Photo of Julia Restoin Roitfeld, from Getty Images; Photo of Jacquetta Wheeler, from Wenn.