Friday, October 01, 2010

UPDATE: With this fall's fashion, designers are saying "we're all effed"

There's an old bit of folk knowledge that says hemlines reflect the state of the economy (lower hemline=worse economy, higher=better).  And if clothing design generally somehow reflects our national mood, I think the designers are telling us we're depressed. Really, really depressed. What other conclusion could there be when you see pieces like I saw at Banana Republic and the Gap?

It is ugly. There's no other way to put it. It's like they're saying "Wear ugly crap.  No one cares. We're all going down the crapper anyway." There are tshirts with random dumb ruffles; cropped skinny acid wash jeans; shapeless, colorless dresses. A woven pocket T for $54.  I bet the copywriters who had to conjure up something nice to say about these pieces were tearing out their hair. Or maybe not. Maybe they were like, who cares.

It's true that the economy isn't necessarily at its rosiest.  But does that have to mean we have to look like crap too? I think not.

The selection in person was no better than online. We decided to quickly swing by BR a couple weekends ago. I normally don't shop there, benefiting from the generosity of my sister's closet turnover, from this area's fabulous selection of consignment stores, and from a dedication to excellent etsy stores.

It was awful and terrible, as bad as the online selection.  Colors were drab, and did I mention all the weird and random ruffles?  I am not against ruffles per se, but these looked like someone took a t-shirt and sewed a ruffle on. It made no sense. It had no context, like Donny wandering like a child in the forest (or whatever that awesome Walter quote from Big Lebowski is. God I love Walter from the Big Lebowski. Also Christina Ricci's character in Pecker-- I think they have very similar extreme personalities. Another post, another day.).

Happily, the news for spring seems to be much better. This SF Chron article says we can look forward to "fancy feminine and/or minimalist" for spring.  The article says:
"Designers are well aware that the recession has not ended, but they are cautiously optimistic. 
"Fashion responds to the economic climate by providing a way to lift a woman's spirits," Catherine Malandrino said. The theme song at Michael Kors' show was "Here Comes the Sun." 
"Indeed, designers made a special effort to be sure their collections were irresistible and actually wearable (not always the case in the past). They aimed to restore consumer confidence - and they are succeeding."

Read more:
They are succeeding? Well, I guess after you hit the bottom with stuff that looks, feels and wears like something from the back of my mom's closet in 1982 (not a compliment-- sorry, Mom), there's nowhere to go but up.


One trend identified by the SF Chron style section is "the carrot pant," aka THE MC HAMMER PANT. Dearlord, I think I hear the four horsemen of the Shopacolypse!  (p.s. I love Rev Billy and the Church of Stop Shopping)

Thank goodness for independent artists with style from whom we can buy. Case in point: not only is the dress from this lovely designer/seamstress at etsy fantastic, but her philosophy is great too. Clothes based on origami! So fabulous! So intentional. Not a random ruffle on a jersey t-shirt in sight.  Maybe some random cutouts. But anyway, browse etsy, dodge disappointment. (and do a cross check with regretsy)

UPDATE! @WomensWearDaily is our voice of reason and sanity in an off-the-rack world beruffled with mediocrity.  Check out the photos from Dior and Galliano, which make SUCH a better case for the beauty of ruffles.