On the Runways
The addition of noir netted details, like the floral-embroidered lace inserts seen on Erdem's Martina Dress ($4600) and on the bodice of Jill Stuart's Cassy Dress ($1050, 212.921.2600) above, bring an element of adult allure to charming above-the-knee frocks.
Arriving at the CFDA Swarovski after-party a few months ago, model Jessica Stam looked radiant in a sapphire Jason Wu Draped Emb Lace and Silk Chiffon Gown ($3995, select Bergdorf Goodman stores). Black Chantilly lace accents, placed strategically along the neckline and peeking out from beneath the dress' thigh-high slit, give the overall look an elegant, boudoir-inspired feel.
Spotted at a Maje event hosted by Vogue in New York a few months ago, stylist/designer Vanessa Traina offered a subtle take on today's look. The silk and lace camisole top-a piece from her capsule collection for Maje-lends just the right amount of softness and femininity to her menswear-inspired, tailored Balenciaga jacket and pants.
It's all about the back when it comes to the red Reem Acra Crepe Deep-V Gown with Racerback Lace Detail ($3500) Kristen Stewart wore to the Cannes Film Festival premiere of Cosmopolis earlier this year. Sheer Chantilly lace panels show a flash of skin, straddling the line between sexy and sweet for a jaw-dropping result.
We give Diane Kruger two thumbs up for the Alessandra Rich black silk top and lace skirt from the S/S 12 collection she wore at the NHL Awards in Las Vegas back in June. The contrasting fuchsia skirt with Swarovski crystal embroidery and metal buckle not only offers a fresh way to address fall's rich color palette, it also adds some come-hither appeal to her otherwise understated look.
Get The Look/Tops
We've shown you how these delicate details are being addressed on the runways and in real life, so now it's time for you to invest in some lace pieces of your own. First things first: tops! If you're not quite comfortable with the sheer factor of this trend, we'd like to direct you to J. Crew Collection's Lace-Trim Blouse ($225), which is modest enough for the office, but also fancy enough for date night. Taking it one step further, those who want to show a hint of skin should consider DKNY's Floral Lace Top ($235) or Lucky Brand's Love Story Lace Top ($99), two after-hours options you don't want to miss. Finally, if you want to dive headfirst into today's trend, we think Patterson J. Kincaid's Merlot Lace Back Tunic ($148) is a more accessible alternative to Stewart's sheer back number, while By Malene Birger's Lace-Trimmed Silk-Chiffon Camisole ($245) is a dead ringer for Traina's sultry top.
Get The Look/Dresses
While we love a lacy top, nothing quite compares to the chic and subtly sexy feel of this material on a dress. To prove this point, we've rounded up an assortment of stunning frocks, like Forever 21's incredibly affordable Paneled Lace Inset Dress ($20) and French Connection's Lace Insert Skater Dress ($114). While those two options are quite youthful, Sachin + Babi McKenzi's Lace Dress ($435) and Alice + Olivia's Robyn Lace Bodice Peplum Dress ($440) are nothing short of elegant, and have "cocktail hour" written all over them. If you were drawn to the bright color of Kruger's look, you're sure to swoon over the contrast lace featured on Nanette Lepore's Pep Rally Lace Dress ($398). And because fall will be here before you know it, we couldn't finish today's story without including Dolce & Gabbana's Lace Tights ($145), which are sure to come in handy when winter's chill sets in!--Jessica Baker
Photos of Vanessa Traina and Jessica Stam, courtesy of Billy Farrell Agency; Photo of Kristen Stewart, courtesy of Getty Images; Photo of Diane Kruger, courtesy of Wenn; Jill Stuart runway, courtesy of Jill Stuart; Erdem runway, courtesy of Erdem.