Because you can't have depths without surfaces.
Linda Grant, thinking about clothes, books and other matters.

Friday, 3 October 2008

Off piste, off trend

I suppose it must be the economy, but equally I think it's fashion's own desperation and exhaustion: I am truly bored with 'trends.'

Here's the Guardian with a list of what we're to expect:

Strong-shouldered jackets
Massive shoulders at shows like Balmain mean the style will last way into 2009.

Skin-tight trousers
This silhouette rules for next season - bodysuits at Jil Sander and Balenciaga, and tight pants at Givenchy.

Painful shoes
If your heels are huge, like the YSL Tribute boots, then a scrum will form around you, looking for the sort of killer shoes that saw models tumble at Prada.

No bag
When Carine Roitfeld began arriving at the shows carrying her phone and nothing else, the big-bag trend was over. If you must have a bag, then make it a clutch, like those that were just seen at Balenciaga.

I am going to be following none of these. I was at L.K Bennett yesterday taking back the shoes which Av had deemed not right for my dress and I was only offered an exchange or credit note. It was a real struggle to find any non-stilettos (I don't wear flats) and in the end found a pair of square-toed purple patent pumps with a stacked heel. When I got home there was an email from a fashion editor friend telling me her day-in-day-out shoes are stacked heel platforms by Stewart Weitzman from Russell and Bromley. So even the fashion editors aren't wearing these sky high shoes. Walking through Hanover Square yesterday I saw three young women who were; they were chatting on the windy street before turning and trooping painfully back into Vogue House, headquarters of Conde Nast. Their bosses know better.

I confess I have been on a buying spree lately and this must be the last gasp before the retail economy contracts and we start to see bankruptcies. I bought a scarf and a necklace yesterday. I could still be wearing them at 80 and might have to.

We know there must be fashion even in a slump. That's what fashion is, that's what fashion does, it rises above. One of my favourite films is Preston Sturges Sullivan's Travels, about the necessity of laughter. But fashion needs to remember that in a depression we're all going to need cheering up, and art school clothes that belong in an art installation, self-referential and ultimately quite boring, are literally museum pieces.


Rosaria said...

I have an image in my mind....of a woman wobbling stiff-legged down the high street en pointe in staggeringly high shoes with heels the shape of African Masi warriors, unable to bend her knees due to her painted on pants, and shoulders sticking out like pagodas or reminiscient of Joan Collins circa 1985.

Her clutch is appropriately slender, yet her pockets bulge with superfluous accessories which can't fit into the bag. Such as car keys, phone, lippy, concealer, bronzer, gum and other really big stuff.

Like Linda, I'm suitably piste off, actually, if these are indeed the trends to watch for. And they're so original, aren't they?

The British economy, like many others, has come to a screeching halt, and women will be looking for more creative solutions to looking good.

In times of hardship, a new lippy is often an affordable morale booster. I predict modest items such as these will boom.

Well, it's back to the disaster zone of the finance markets...where shares in a cosmetics company look quite promising.

Songy said...

I might keep my skinny jeans and might buy a pair of leather leggings but the others I don't agree with. Back in the '80s I didn't like the big shouldered jackets and I grimace at those even now. I know that it's all shoes this season but a girl can't live without a fabulous bag. Can she???

greying pixie said...

I would say you're quite right to ignore the trends mentioned - no thoughtful dresser would go anywhere near them yet.

But for the sake of an argument I would also say that these are only trends, not actual styles. They mark a significant and inevitable change in fashion styles that will trickle down through the design hierarchy until they reach a wearable level. Where your wearable level is, is entirely personal, but it is there somewhere.

This is the cycle of fashion that will never change and it's amazing that in this world of globalization it is still happening through Paris.

Anastasia said...

Like most trends, these are just silly. And I'm really, really tired of the eternal Eighties revival - mot of the Nineties was Eighties revival and now it's 2008 and it's still on.

I totally agree with rosarias image. Maybe one is supposed to stuff everything you can't put in a bag into the pagoda-shoulders?

Clothes one can really live in are just not fashionable.

Cal said...

Forget silly heels, I just bought a pair of Ugg boots! Very comfy and very warm - though I don't plan on actually wearing them out of the house much.

And they're not actually Uggs - they're from a fantastic Cornish company called Celtic Sheepskin and are made in the UK (from British sheep I think). Celtic Sheepskin, who basically sold Ugg's to surfers, had the original trademark for Ugg but sold it to the the giant we know now. Very interesting story.

Deja Pseu said...

While I won't rend garments over the return of a scaled down shoulder pad (helps give my broad-but-rounded shoulders a little angularity) the rest of the trends I'll skip. Roitfeld has an assistant or four to tote anything she needs, not all of us have the luxury of a sherpa. (Interesting to note that it's now far more acceptable for men to wear/carry some sort of messenger or shoulder bag at the same time that women are supposed to forego.)

gp said...

I always feel that Condeleeza Rice looks unfinished because she doesn't carry a handbag.

desertwind said...


I've been trying to find pajama bottoms. Just nice ol' cotton/hang on the waist/cropped at the ankle PJs.No chance. They're all low slung and cropped below the knee.

It suddenly hit me. It's economic. So much less fabric and they can charge the same for it.

(a variation on this is happening -- stealthly -- with paper products like paper towels and tissues, though the packaging hasn't changed.)

Linda Grant said...


please check out Boden. You'll find a link to it if you scroll down on the righthand side of the page. This is the UK store, but they have a US mailorder site as well. They have what you want, look under loungewear.