A Fresh Eye on a Fresh Palette

09/07/2012 09:16 pm ET Updated Nov 07, 2012

There's always a moment on the first day of the shows where you feel like your eyeballs spin like a slot machine, and you find yourself looking at a whole new perspective. After a spring of aggressive neons and a barely-begun fall of saturated jewel tones, it may take more than a few blinks to catch up to the new palette of pastels. Not last spring's ironically sweet bubblegum pink from Prada, but actually sweet, soft, feminine pastels.

I looked back at my notes from Wednesday afternoon and today's shows and realized that colors like mauve, cornflower, and sand kept popping up. Nicholas K showed a wide range of what beige can be, and Jeffrey Costello and Robert Tagliapietra of Costello Tagliapietra put their own spin on chambray, rendering the recognizable light blue in a signature jersey dress.

But before those who run at the first sight of lavender and go dashing to hoard their best blacks, there were options. At Richard Chai, athletic-inspired separates look clean in optic white with dashes of mustard and baby blue, but the closing look of black with holographic embroidery, shimmering green, bronze and gold was a standout for a cool nighttime look. Max Azria gave his BCBG line a hard edge for Spring, tempering the lace and blush tones with leather harnesses, cutouts, and plenty of black and white.

Maybe the best harbinger of what's to come is seen off the runway. At the premiere of Camilla Skovgaard's "Hotel Skovgaard, Room 77" short film, my guest was convinced we had missed something on the invitation mandating a black and white dress code. We hadn't, but the super-cool crowd in the room might be onto something, leaving their neon brights at home.