Now that most of the February issues have hit newsstands, and retailers have nearly finished clearing their holiday merchandise to make room for pastels and short sleeves, spring in the fashion world has seemingly arrived, despite the dusting of snow currently glaring at me from outside my apartment window. (I have also finally landed a post-law school job at a fashion company, so the unemployment thaw has certainly begun.)
But what does such spring awakening look like for 2010? Groundbreaking? Irreverent? Compelling? I hardly think so. (The fact that I'm a fall fashion junkie only colors my pessimistic view of spring offerings slightly.) Nautical stripes and sailor accents by Marc Jacobs for Louis Vuitton are always pleasing, but not new. Nudes and flesh tones from Celine and Donna Karan are soft and wearable, but expected for spring (and frankly, I think Banana Republic's iconic khaki-hue collections are just as nice and much more affordable). The sight of florals from Roberto Cavalli and Alexander McQueen are certainly harder than those from Peter Som (which are pretty), but they bring to mind that scene in The Devil Wears Prada where Meryl Streep is presented with the idea of featuring flowered details for the Spring issue, to which she responds with her telltale sarcasm, "Florals for spring? Groundbreaking." (I should mention I dislike the lingerie as outerwear look popping up everywhere. This perpetuates the pajama look, and even though the corset tops and bra-lets may cost hundreds and be from La Perla or Cavalli, there's a time and place. And its not 1 o'clock in the afternoon at Starbucks, or a meeting in the office.)
Perhaps I react this way only as a result of the extreme emphasis the fashion industry places on 'newness'. If you truly stop and think about the evolution of fashion in the past decade, few popular concepts are really 'new' (skinny jeans are from the 80's, flannel shirts for women and edgy, chunky boots are from the 90's, sequins, mini skirts, and bohemian-chic dresses are from the 70's, shift dresses are from the 50's, fringe details are from the 20's, etc). If you set aside the revolutionary standards set by many critics and evaluate the collections solely in terms of inspiration, affect, and, most importantly ask, does it make you want to wear it? you may find a different result. So wearing that personal style hat, I find much of the spring collections hitting the racks as we speak to be fresh, light, airy, and a sign of better times to come as the mercury (and the balance in my checking account) eventually rises in the months ahead.