In With the Old; Out With the New

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Yes, dear readers, you read that title correctly. By now I’m sure you’ve read and contemplated the blog or two that I posted regarding the recent stylistic trends that need to take a hike. Let’s leave all that negativity in the past, shall we? I propose beginning 2008 with a list of my predictions for what will be big in fashion and design this year, and I think we’re in for quite a trip down (recent) memory lane. I’ve thought long and hard about this list, seeing as how I have to predict a full 362 days into the future. Your input, as always, is most welcome. As are baked goods. I love me some chocolate cake. And pie. I like pies, too.

  1. Black is back. Big time. Remember in the 90s when life was easy, and you could just dress like a cheap imitation of a Helmut Lang ad or maybe in knock-off Donna Karan-ish layers? And it was all good ‘cause each of the pieces were in black and all you had to do was “match” your blacks to each other? Well, I’m not saying we need to go back to that era of codified corporate dressing, but I have a feeling that the retina-burning parade of candy-colored dresses and accessories foisted upon celebrities by designers in recent years is about to come to an abrupt end. As you know, award shows themselves may cease to exist – at least temporarily – due to the writers’ strike. And even if the show goes on, who’s going to cross the picket line in aquamarine acetate or chartreuse chiffon? Nobody.

So, we’ll see a return to the little black dress…and the black sweater, the black trousers, the black suit, the black bag, and of course, the ever-popular black Ray Ban sunglasses. But don’t think all black all the time. As the Spring 2008 RTW shows hinted at with their march of neutrals (grey, khaki, white), mixed with hints of color, the idea is looking pulled together in a non-severe, monochromatic way. Feeling like you already have too much black in your wardrobe? Aim to acquire one well-made piece in black this year – preferably a dress for women, a suit for men – that will become your signature piece. Build a look around it. Accessorize with aplomb. Watch others’ jaws drop.

  1. Want color? Think mannerism. Okay, so I don’t wanna get all art-history on you here, but there’s something to be said for the muted, not-quite-pastel colors of the mannerist painter’s palette. And these minty greens, peachy yellows, grayish blues, and washed-out reds are the freshest colors for right now. They were everywhere for spring and show no sign of abating for fall. Although certain hues can be tricky to pull off with certain skin tones (I wouldn’t recommend Saint Elizabeth’s look, at right in the del Conte painting, to just anyone), when worn correctly, these unconventional colors lend an air of sophistication to any ensemble. Black suit with white button-down blouse? Yawn inducing. Black suit with celery-green sweater shell and amber jewelry? Applause worthy.
  2. Green is good. Let’s just quit talking about it all the time. The world’s gone eco-crazy these days, and fashion is no exception. There’s lots of positives in this trend: use of sustainable materials, responsible business practices, emphasis on a bigger system of give and take. But aren’t we all a little tired of having “green” shoved down our throats? Can’t we just be responsible keepers of the earth without proclaiming it to everyone and their mother? Is it okay to wear organic cotton and naturally dyed denim…and not even mention it to anybody? You know, like, be humble about our environmental consciousness? Here’s hoping that designers from Stella McCartney to American Apparel keep doing their thing (vegan shoes and accessories; vertical integration of manufacturing) and that other brands take notice…quietly.
  3. Logos are like TV theme songs: nobody focuses on them anymore. Quick: what does Threeasfour‘s logo look like? (Think Prince during his “symbol” phase.) How about Koi Suwannagate‘s or Band of Outsiders‘? (Think block letters…in black.) Those days of old when a gold Medusa head or interlocked “C’s” screamed to the world exactly what the wearer was capable of purchasing (because let’s be honest, it was all about label worshiping for a while) are loooong gone. The newest, hottest, hippest labels are all about understatement and reserve; the “cool” factor, if you will. The three labels mentioned above were, in fact, finalists for the Vogue/CFDA Fashion Fund in 2007. (By the way, Rogan Gregory – whose own spare label is left – was the winner and he also designs the eco-friendly label Edun, natch.) And none of them are particularly interested in showy labels that announce the wearer’s brand preference. Kinda refreshing, isn’t it?


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