Looking back on all of the Fall shows, from New York to Paris all the way through to Australia, collections were not without recession-referencing trends. Although the recession will affect consumers differently, particularly depending on their geographic position, certain uniform signifiers have permeated the fashion industry. Two important trends are characteristic of a recession (the United States has been through seven recessions since 1980) and they are quite opposite in nature. For one, we see more conservative cuts, darker colors, garments that encourage more traditional notions of femininity (can't you just see those magazine headlines, 'The Feminine Side Of Fall') as a response to the economy. It's fashion's little bow to the somber mood brought on by an economic downturn. We saw this, in particular, in France. Black was everywhere on the runways quite possibly because Paris is home of some of the oldest, most reputable design houses and also because, if there is anyone who knows how to dress with good sense, it is the French. In New York, the second of the two trend was more obvious, namely, that of opulence. Like a tilt towards conservatism, the opulence trend is an easy one to unravel. In times of economic hardship we cling, we seek, we indulge in that which separates us from the pack. To this end New York in particular saw fur and jewels, velvets and lace, details that signify craftsmanship and expense, tacked on to almost every collection that went down the runway. The same lack of surprise strikes us here, that is, If there is anyone who knows reckless excess, it is Americans. Yesterday we ran a piece elaborating on this stigma, where we considered American consumers and their battle with the psychology of quality. Check it out here.
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