TAKING IT TO THE STREET –FROM RUNWAY TO REALITY
by Elaine Stowers
In the blockbuster hit, “The Devil Wears Prada”, there is one particularly memorable dialogue between Miranda Priestley (Meryl Streep) and Andy Sachs (Anne Hathaway). In this scene, Andy is sniggling over Miranda’s intense efforts in choosing between two seemingly identical belts. But don’t cross Miranda Priestly, because she quickly turns her haughty and brilliant attention to Andy as she delivers the ultimate put down. She calls Andy on her uninspired clothing selection saying that while Andy’s intent is to appear too cool for fashion, she is in fact, inescapably part of it. The “lumpy blue sweater” she is wearing is “not just blue, it’s not turquoise, it’s not lapis, it’s actually cerulean.” And it is a reflection of Oscar de la Renta’s collection from several seasons back. De La Renta started the trend, then Yves St Laurent, and then countless department stores copied the look until finally: “It trickled on down to some tragic casual corner where you, no doubt, fished it out of the clearance bin.” OUCH!
As a movie goer who also enjoys fashion, there is more here than a clever script and another flawless performance by Streep. It has caused me to wonder exactly how and when trends begin, and how we, as consumers, are influenced by them,
Pick up any of the latest fall fashion magazines, or window shop your local fashion row. If you look carefully, you will notice that every designer from Dolce and Gabbana to Chanel carries some version, or their interpretation, of this year’s trends. How could that happen? Is there some Design Convention where members converge to lay out what the world will buy in the upcoming season? Or perhaps, there is a large “Think Tank” where the best and brightest gather and decide what women will wear come fall ’09? Maybe there are simply fashion spies lurking in every bar and coffee shop from Milan to New York…peering over their shoulder and observing napkin sketches.
For those old enough to recall; Princess Diana will always be remembered- not only as “The People’s Princess”, but as “The People’s Fashion Compass”. It did not take long for the world to adore her, her clothes, her hair, her make up….and even her latest work out routine. We could not get enough of her, and virtually anything she wore would soon show up at Harrods, then cross the pond to Macy’s, etc. She was even able to revive the long dead millinery industry!
It’s easy to see that an icon; Princess Diana, Jackie Kennedy, Michelle Obama…even Madonna, will cause an uproar in the fashion world. Whenever these women grace the stage, sewing machines around the planet overheat. But, aside from that, who are these design gurus? From where do their ideas originate, and how do their concepts end up in our closets?
The fashion industry has long employed Trend spotters. These lucky people are paid to globe trot, armed with a camera and laptop. They photograph the common guy, and what he is wearing on the streets and in the clubs from Beijing to Stockholm. Beyond that, there are Trend Forecasters. They take ‘spotting’ a step further by analyzing political and economic climates, the influence of current music and bands, and even popular graphics and cd sleeves. Then forecasters consolidate these findings and form realistic ideas about what “is hot” and what will likely be well received by the public. They then make this information available (at a price, of course), to design houses.
It’s fair to assume that designers consider this information, consider their own inspiration, consider their crystal ball and pray-HARD-from this point on. Both design teams and fabric manufacturers need long leads in order to fill production needs, so what arrives on the runway has been in the works for quite some time. And from the runway to the store, there are still hurdles to cross before a “Look” becomes a “Gotta Have It”! Fashion writers begin to spot recurring elements and report on these. Buyers begin to look within each designer’s collection for pieces that will appeal to their broadest range of customers. Fashion magazines pick up on this and roll it out in glossy, and customers start to demand that what they have seen and read about is obtainable!
So now the fashion ring has come full circle and is available in your corner of the world. What to look for and consider for autumn 2009:
Fall 2009 Fashion Trends
Jackets will be more structured. There will be a return to a padded and even peaked shoulder. Skirts will be lamp shade shaped or often poufed. (I don’t endorse this. I just report it) Blouses will also feature more shoulder structure with skinny arms. (The blouse, not yours).
Asymmetrical-Off the shoulder or one shoulder dresses…or bare shoulder paired with full length on the other.
Pants -Slim styles will still predominate.
Leather, suede, fur (PETA’s gonna hate this). There will be a continued interest in all type of leather materials. And even if you opt for faux fur, it’s hard to duplicate the look of good leather.
Embellishments-Look for lots of studs, buckles, fringe, sequins, etc. I’d suggest not using them all at the same time- but I’m sure it will be done.
Rich woolens -Hounds tooth and tweeds. Plaid will be out there too. Again…maybe not all at once.
Lace-often with see thru areas.
Velvets-Dark velvets with burn out contrasts.
Bags, blessedly, will be somewhat smaller. (I am so tired of seeing poor Mary Kate and Ashley teeter tottering from the weight of their VW sized purses) Bags will feature chain braids ala Chanel and clutches will continue to be important…often in animal skins.
- Boots will be everywhere and in every form imaginable. You will see over the knee “waders” to equestrian blue blood, to bronco busting cowboy boots.
- Shoes-Sexy stilettos will still be out there. (Apparently women…or maybe it’s men, can’t live without ‘em) as well as high carved platforms that can double as sculpture. And again, look for all of this to be highly embellished.
Jewelry-More massive chunky jewelry and cocktail rings- There will be more big chain link necklaces in soft rose toned gold. But there will also be a counter balance with delicate pieces and chains interspersed with bezel set jewels.
Hosiery will be sheer dark to opaque tights….in almost any pattern you’d like.
Belts– Waist emphasis continues and belts do that best. Cinch a wider waist with a wider belt. (2 inches or more) And wear it under your cardigan or coat. Slimmer middles can go with a skinny belt or a wide belt closed over your coat or sweater.
Biker Chic-Motorcycle/biker jackets– Lot of zippers. epaulets, buckles ,etc. (Think Mad Max and you’re on the right track)
Investment Dressing-Odd combination with some of the trendier items, but it’s in the mix too. Look for beautiful and enduring coats made of wonderful fabric blends.
Androgynous-Boyfriend blazer and cardigans. More worn denim…which I’m no fan of…But it is a fashion trend.
Military Styling-The look will range from Band Majorette to Dr. Zhivago Russian Revolution. Braids, buttons and frog closures seem to continuously fascinate the fashion world.
Now you know what the Fashion Gurus have dictated. But, as I write this I have a Vogue Magazine open at my left elbow. Some of the looks presented here fall between Planet of The Apes and Battle Star Galactica. Fashion has always been about theatre and drama…but, hopefully, your daily life is not. A trend really is nothing more than a concept and every concept could not possibly be a fit for every body. They can help to inspire your shopping and give you direction. But that’s it.
So, take your common sense with you on those shopping outings…Buy trendy things carefully, reserving most of your budget for those things that will be eternally classic.
And have fun. It’s only clothes. And there’s certain to be a new look next year.
About the Author: Elaine Stowers is a West Cobb resident, who has been a fashion consultant for Doncaster Wardrobe Consultant for the past 6 years. She maybe reached at email@example.com or 404- 401-0277.
Prior WC Fashion Articles by Elaine Stowers