With New York Fashion Week almost at its conclusion, many can breathe a sigh of relief (area residents happy to have less commotion, designers content after hearty responses, enthusiasts eager to get to the racks). As Rachael Zoe complained on Bravo's The Rachael Zoe Project, designers seemed to show less couture and focused in on the wearable
collections that store buyers were hungry to snatch up.
The New York Times reported that the response to Tory Burch was especially promising, and points to the pricing of her items as an explanation. (Though I would hardly call Burch's collections 'middle market' as the Times does, but I suppose my market is not broad enough to have a middle that falls above the Gap.) The positive reception that Tory Burch felt this year is surely an example of what many consumers (and all of my friends) have been saying for years: Who wears this stuff? When a leopard, Pleather, skin tight body suit trots the runway with 6 inch stilettos, it is hard to imagine it serving any purpose other than shock (and awe that anyone could wear it without being on the losing end of a game of 'truth or dare', even if they are being paid). But runway collections that feature wearable items are a pleasing change not only to fashion amateurs, but also to high end department stores who have not been able to sell the high price tag couture for many seasons now.
I have always loved Tory Burch's patterns and tunics (not to mention her cultish ballet flats, which have been updated for Fall '09 with an even broader variety of color and tonal toe adornments), and am even more apt to buy her pieces after such a reality based Fashion Week showcase. While the economic downturn has surely hit fashion hard, the industry must adapt to survive and come out even more compelling than at the height of societal excess. Bring on the boyfriend blazers and skinny jeans!