T.S. Eliot was wrong when he said “April is the cruelest month.” To me it’s always been September, when all the lovely cottons fade with the rosy summer nights, only to be replaced with the furs and leathers of the long, black winter days.

While designers show beautiful fashions, they are not all for me. Except for the rare vintage purchase, I avoid animal-based materials all together.

This year, though, I wondered whether it was possible to assemble stylish clothes from designers who weren’t using animal materials and, after a rather excruciating search, I did manage to find some high fashion items that are cruelty free.

This fall, many designers showed black and white ensembles, often using geometric patterns. One of my favorite sites is Modewalk, an etailer that specializes in high-fashion clothes from relatively unknown Italian and French labels. Modewalk’s designers create whimsical, sophisticated clothes and, on some occasions, they are even vegan friendly. Here I found Vivienne Westwood’s tunic in the whites and black of fall. I paired it with Jill Milan’s Chelsea Clutch, which features a triangular design in the shape of an envelope, and Stella McCartney’s heels.

Modewalk and Barneys also offered some interesting choices for stormier weather. In particular, the transparent nylon trench and umbrella displayed an interesting take on the geometric trend. Chunky heels also took center stage on the runway this fall and the Stella McCartney shoes pictured below are very chic this year.

Designers in fall 2013 offer many intriguing influences from the 1950s. Pencil and flared skirts appeared frequently on the runway, as did feminine blouses paired with cardigans. Often designers used short boots, rather than pumps, for a new take on the fifties. Below you can see some beautiful vegan lace pencil skirts and feminine dresses from Nina Ricci. These lacy pieces have a girly, yet sophisticated, feel.

Fall brought many shades of gray, from the palest doves to the darkest slates. Frequently they were paired with sapphire accents against the grays. Altuzarra used pops of orange to make his black pants and turtlenecks look fresh while other designers worked with beautiful emerald shades. Tuxedo jackets made frequent appearances on the runway and two of the chicest are pictured below. The all black Michael Klein smoking jacket is particularly beautiful.

One way to wear Stella’s orange flats is to pair them with all black outfits, as Altuzarra did on the runway. The tuxedo jacket paired with black pants and open-toed shoes is right on trend for this season.


Vivienne Westwood tunic in the whites and black with Jill Milan Chelsea Clutch and Stella McCartney heels.



Transparent nylon trench and umbrella, chunky heels, Jill Milan SoHo Carryall.



Vegan lace pencil skirts and feminine dresses from Nina Ricci, along with Jill Milan Russian Hill Clutch.



Shades of gray, from the palest doves to the darkest slates, and Stella McCartney orange flats to pair with all-black outfits.