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An Inside Look at Alice + Olivia's Spring 2012 Collection: Beading, Denim, and Oh, Those Shoes

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Fashion Week runway shows and presentations are exciting spectacles to attend, but it's at the designer press previews, held a few weeks later, where we actually get a complete look at the collections. Although their settings are more low key, and there are no celebrities (or people who think they're celebrities) to be found, we like the previews because they actually give us a chance to study the clothing up close, and to see parts of the collections that didn't make it to the runways.

This can be a real treat when it's a designer whose work we love. Such was the case with this week's Alice + Olivia Spring 2012 preview, held in their Midtown showroom. We got to see the full collection of designer Stacey Bendet's beautiful clothing, including the debuts of her first line of denim, her collab with Gene Meyer, and her new line of shoes.

In February, the first group of Alice + Olivia spring designs will hit stores. It includes a lot of eveningwear with beading and florals. The color pallet for these designs leans toward the ethereal pale end of the spectrum—at least compared to what will be available later in the season. We loved a muted olive beaded dress as well as a peach leather bustier and some black and white sequin separates. Keep an eye out for dropped-waist dresses, jumpsuits, and a lot of silk.

Come March, the collection's second group will arrive in stores. It includes a few beaded dresses in neutrals—very Hollywood glam. One standout is a stunning white beaded cocktail dress, reminiscent of a ballet gown. Also hitting the stores in March will be the more casual and bright-colored designs. Bold oranges, yellows, and reds all make an impact. Expect a few great leather pieces too, including a bright aqua jacket and a matching pleated skirt, and a beige leather jacket with very long sleeves that can be shortened by zipping the bottom few inches off (good for those of us with shorter arms). And then there are blousy crop tops and that Gene Meyer collaboration, which includes bright printed silk scarves and dresses.

In April, the third and final part of this collection will drop—in a color explosion. You'll see Palm Beach tones and even more casual styles. Since we're heading into summer, there will be some great bold prints, but a lot less of the line's signature beading and sequins. That said, our favorite look from this grouping is a lemon sequin top paired with bold yellow and white print shorts. It jumped off the rack and screamed "Buy me!"

This spring, Alice + Olivia will be offering its first line of denim—but don't expect much traditional blue. Instead, you'll find a rainbow of bright pinks, yellows and oranges, as well as multi-color stripes—available in jeans, shorts and skirts. And although the brand started selling a limited number of shoes this fall, spring will be the shoe line's "official launch." If you love the rest of this collection's designs, and you appreciate high heels in great shapes, then trust us, you'll definitely be wanting those shoes.
· Alice + Olivia [Official Site]