Op-Ed

The Empire State Strikes Back

Empire State Building

Empire State Building

NEW YORK, Feb 9, 2008 / FW/ — With the close of the New York Fall 2008 season yesterday, it is apparent that New York-based designers and those who chose to show at the Big Apple, have taken a united front against the economic downturn by presenting very tight and coherent collections that make women dream.

After a not-so-stellar holiday selling season and reports that consumers were buying accessories rather than apparel because the clothes are so boring, ‘playing it safe’ was no longer an option. It was time to roll up the sleeves and think of the woman who will wear the clothes and stop thinking of the bottom line.

The inspirations are eclectic, which in turn resulted to very eclectic collections. There is no major trend, in the sense that the fashion world is used to. Remember the days when we see flowers or ribbons everywhere, or the bubble skirt became so ubiquitous, you feel that the next time you see one, you want to say… ‘Enough already!’

True, the mini-skirt is back, but not everyone proposed minis. In fact, both the hemlines and the waistline showed a lot of movement during this season. There are also bubble skirts, but there are A-line silhouettes too. There is over-the-top layering of tulle yet there are also minimalist silhouettes.

In short, New York-based designers decided to focus on their core clientele, which in turn also meant defining and/or redefining their signature styles. In the eyes of this fashionista, it is actually a very good move.

As all the study groups and marketing research for at least the past two years have pointed out, the current generation is very ‘individualistic’ in the type clothes they wear. Oh yes, there are still fads and crazes, but we won’t see everyone wearing the historical ‘peasant look’ that Yves Saint Laurent popularized during the 1960s and early 1970s.

The demography had changed from 40 years ago. As already discussed at ‘Will the Fall 2008 Season Be an Acid Test for New York Designers?’ and ‘Has London’s Time Arrived?’, we live in a different time.

Overall, the Fall 2008 New York season is one of the strongest showings in recent memory. And as in Star Wars, let me say to the designers, ‘May the force be with you!’

One last thing, for non-Americans who did not fully understand the title, ‘The Empire State Strikes Back’, Empire State is the nickname for the state of New York, the same way that the ‘Big Apple’ is the nickname of New York City.

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