The Fashion Statement: Long, Lean and Ladylike
Among the oddball indicators of the economic future, hem lengths are one of the more popular. Urban lore says short skirts reflect a bullish stock market and hems drop when people get down on their luck.
New York Fashion Week officially wraps up today and, one of the take away messages is longer hems are here to stay. Ne fret pas: That doesn't mean we're in for another meltdown. In fact, the industry has been showing signs of a turnaround. Nevertheless, hems lowered in the middle of the downturn and longer silhouettes seem to be having a lasting effect on fashion.
Except for a nod to the '70s last season, Marc Jacobs has been flirting with a more demure, sophisticated look for a few seasons now. For fall, he showed grown up silhouettes ever-so-slightly reminiscent of Dior's New Look from the '40s in futuristic materials such as a metallic rubber, fur and cellophane.
Looks for the boardroom are what Donna Karan does best, and she was clearly enamored with '50s silhouettes for today's all-business woman. Bloggers mentioned Tippi Hedren and Grace Kelly as a way to describe the Hollywood glamour Karan managed to add to her working girls.
Carolina Herrera has said repeatedly over the years that she's inspired by "real women." So, except for flourishes like a high-necked fur collars and wide-cuffed leather gloves, she presented simple trousers and dresses with a real woman in mind. Straight ahead. Nothing fancy. Very wearable.
Even the Pasadena-based bad girls Mulleavy sisters at Rodarte, who not too long ago were inspired by Maori tattoos and dresses that wrapped up its wearer like mummies, were fascinated by a good girl -- or at least a provincial, prairie girl. The 1978 film Days of Heaven was their primary influence on gowns that billowed like the movie's astounding cinematography on wind and wheat fields (wheat prints lined their hem. To that, they added craft-like quilted apron dresses and saleable floor-grazing coats.
That's not to say that partying '70s references have disappeared altogether. Michael Kors' fall collection is solidly rooted in the disco era. To prove the point, Donna Summer and Giorgio Moroder mixes blared as long, lean gowns with deep V-necklines sailed down the runway.
And the '70s have largely dictated the modern trouser: high-waisted, loose and flowing -- a very welcome respite from years and years of skinny.