The way the fashion industry works, the shows you see now determine what you will be wearing in nine months; however, the way it also works is that a few weeks afterwards it already seems old hat. This was especially true last Fall/Winter-the economy was crap, and fashion responded accordingly. Like a petulant child, it erupted into strong shoulders and neon, kicking and screaming for attention. Everybody was depressed, the recession had just made itself comfortable, and apparently we needed bright, bold, and ballsy to dredge ourselves out of our rut. But that was a year ago, and as I sat waiting for the Mackage show to start at this years Fall/WInter shows at Mercedes Benz Fashion Week, I was a little anxious to see if that same child had grown up as we all had.
And lo, she had! In fact, growing up is an extremely apt analogy for the apparent transition in style that occurred between this Fall/Winter and the last. This first show of the season set the mood for the rest of the week- our girl hadn’t lost any of her edge, but it had in fact returned in spades. The maturity was apparent in the earthy color palette, the restraint, the proportions. A slightly grimy 90’s sensibility worked its way into many collections, something halfway between 90210 and Seattle Motor City- not quite Kurt Cobain, but not quite Tori Spelling either. Shoulders remained broad, waists had cinched in; leather, fur, and shearling ran thick and viscous; neckties and bobby socks pulled the ribbon a little tighter around the package, but the look still screamed irreverence. Later that day, Alexander Wang upped the 90’s ante with cleverly cropped and pinstriped suit pieces- paired with pleated skirts, they took on a distinct “debutante headmistress” air; paired with oversized yellow and carbon cardigans, they were directly out of “The Craft”.**
A few days later, at the Catherine Malandrino presentation, the scream made a smooth transition into a primal roar; full of traditional luxury, and fringed with irreverent, primordial instinct. Malandrino imbued her collection for fall with an intelligently primitive sensibility, opting for sculpted yet body enveloping silhouettes for cold, winter nights (theoretically spent hunched over a fire, but in reality hunched over a lighter outside of Polar Lounge). Animal prints and crude leather accessories surfaced, but they were the exception and not the rule this season. The urban tribal trend was most apparent here, but it quickly arose in the collections of multiple designers in decidedly tamer manifestations.
Last Spring/Summer, obnoxious cobalt blues and hazard yellows streaked the streets like paint- a sign of things to come. The economy turned like convenience store milk soon afterwards and all of a sudden fashion decided it hadn’t made enough of a spectacle of itself- that’s about when it began crying Balmain power-shoulders and Stephen Sprouse neons. This season celebrates maturity- silhouettes are evolving and adopting newly understated palettes.
Designers are steering away from glitzy excess and interpreting this shift one of two ways- either celebrate the beast within and go back to basics, or hike up their brown leather jumpers and bobby socks in rebellion against the despotic headmistress. There was excitement everywhere, but in a way different from people’s frenetic reactions of a year ago; rather, the fact that this was all so wearable and practical by comparison generated the most buzz- decidedly not old hat.
Post by Nicolas Sera-Leyva
**- for more on this, read this awesome piece from Fashion Grunge.