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23-08-2012
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In Fashion, Are Trends Passé?
Freedom of Choice

By RUTH LA FERLA

KATE LANPHEAR, the platinum-thatched, leather-sheathed style director of Elle, is commonly peppered at dinner parties with questions about fashion’s next wave.
“The thing I get asked most,” she said, “is, ‘What’s the “in” color next season?’ ”
The query rankles. “If I hear it one more time ...” She trailed off, exhaling gustily.
Identifying directions in color, shape and mood and interpreting them for the camera are, of course, Ms. Lanphear’s métier, a means of placing the season’s most covetable looks in some kind of edifying context.
“As a reporter,” she said, “you always keep your eye on trends.”
But as a shopper? Not so much.
Ms. Lanphear is one in an influential coterie of tastemakers — merchants, stylists, photographers and bloggers — who can tick off new fashion directions like items on a high-end grocer’s list. Neon, they will chorus, is having a moment; patterns pop; the trouser suit reigns; leather leggings are the season’s instant update. Oh, and speaking of leather, black is (what else) the new black.
All well and good, as far as such observations go. But often as not, as insiders will tell you, that may not be far at all.
“Trends, they are not what they used to be,” said Garance Doré, the blogger and street-style photographer. Until some time in the 1970s, Ms. Doré pointed out, fashion tended to follow a single, clear direction, handed down to the faithful with the ringing authority of Moses on the mount.
Robert Burke, a consultant for luxury brands and once the fashion director of Bergdorf Goodman, amplified the point.
“As little as a decade ago,” he said, “we would gather at the Ritz in Paris to come up with trend stories, which would then be translated into shop windows and advertising. Forty or 50 of us held the keys to that secret information.”
Now that anyone with a passion for style and access to a television or computer screen can draw her own conclusions, “the trend story is passé,” Mr. Burke said.
Trends persist, of course, still scrutinized by mass merchants, manufacturers and many consumers, who use them as a compass, a means of navigating a sea of often-conflicting messages. But as an impetus to buy, trend reports rank fairly low on consumer checklists. Shoppers instead glean their fashion intelligence from a welter of sources, among them the runways, the Internet and the seemingly anarchic streets.
How, then, to sort it all out? It’s a matter of instinct, front-row stalwarts will tell you, and of personal taste. As Ms. Doré put it, “We wear what we like.”
That said, she and her nuance-sensitive peers turn to a handful of designers whose idiosyncratic but reliably identifiable output sets fashion’s course.
“Designers, along with a cluster of innovative brands, realize the value of consistency and continuity,” Mr. Burke said. “And of having their own voice.”
Which of those voices speaks persuasively to women today? Mavericks like Phoebe Philo of Céline, Francisco Costa of Calvin Klein and Nicolas Ghesquière of Balenciaga, whose ample, gently rounded coats are breaking new ground; David Neville and Marcus Wainwright of Rag & Bone and Alexander Wang, who have elevated urban-tough styling and free-spirited layering to a disciplined art. Also drawing high praise this year is Riccardo Tisci of Givenchy, whose goth-tinctured regalia has taken fashion in a darkly romantic direction.
And that’s just for starters.
“We buy what we love and what we’re going to be able to sell,” said Roma Cohen, an owner of Alchemist in Miami Beach.
Mr. Cohen has placed his bets for fall on designer looks identifiable to the affluent Miamians who are his clients, and to the urbane visitors (New Yorkers, Italians, Brazilians) who descend on his two shops in high season.
Fall’s most covetable pieces, he predicted, will include Joseph Altuzarra’s nomadically inspired dresses and separates in a Moroccan-carpet print, their exoticism contrasting with his military-style jackets and coats; Rick Owens’s bias-cut jerseys and tweeds, elaborations on his signature suedes; and the designs of Mr. Tisci, whose style is so much his own, Mr. Cohen said, “that people can look at a piece of his and right away read it as Givenchy.”
A signature look from a favorite designer is a magnet to his clients.
“They are not looking for trends,” he said. “That’s not what they care for. If they see something that everybody is doing, they’ll go for something else.”
He looks to Erika Cohen, his wife and partner, as a bellwether, noting that her personal fall wish list includes Mr. Tisci’s black leather boots with a shark-tooth closure, as well as a crocodile-stamped variation with a tassel on the back. To those, Ms. Cohen added a fur-peplum coat from Gareth Pugh, a blouse from Céline and Givenchy red leather leggings.
“I keep checking with our staff every day to see if our shipment has arrived,” she said. “They will be my No. 1 go-to for fall, and they’ll stick around in my wardrobe for years.”
Longevity counts for Marie Chaix, a young editor who has made her imprint on French Vogue and, more recently, as a stylist for Proenza Schouler. She leans toward pieces “that express a style rather than being in fashion,” she said. “Which is what I think every brand is looking for but which is the hardest thing to achieve.”
For fall, she has her eye on a demi-sheer white organza blouse and black leather skirt from Valentino, and at least one from a lineup of the designers’ confectionary frocks.
“Along with a Céline coat,” Ms. Chaix said, “this season you want a Valentino dress.”
She is partial as well to a black leather jacket and iridescent trousers from Balenciaga, a look, she said, that pushes fashion’s boundaries without sacrificing quality or craft. And she has already ordered a boxy jacket from Proenza Schouler in black leather with glints of gold.
Ms. Lanphear is similarly drawn to skins, her raffish longtime signature.
“I have a very visceral response to certain things,” she said, one that this year extends to Mr. Tisci’s brown and oxblood leathers in a collection that, she said, “carries a real sense of romanticism in a brooding, fairy tale way.” The deep red of a lace-embroidered camisole puts her in mind of Snow White. “It makes a really strong silhouette with leather jodhpurs,” she said.
She added that as a tomboy, “trouser suits were something I really responded to.”
Ditto Ms. Doré, whose enthusiasm for matching jackets and pants in collections like Louis Vuitton, Miu Miu and Stella McCartney is matched only by her fondness for peplums, especially those at Lanvin.
“I already have maybe two peplum styles in my wardrobe,” she said. “They are one thing I think will not go out of fashion.”
In most such conversations, overarching themes emerge. On the runways, Britannia rules, at least to some degree.
“London is having a moment,” said Ken Downing, the fashion director of Neiman Marcus, noting in particular fashion’s infatuation with the Edwardian style of “Downton Abbey.” With the Jubilee fresh in their minds, he added, designers are no less inspired by the trappings of nobility: fur panels, lavish brocades, evening slippers and royalty’s reigning emblem, the crown jewels. “Maybe that’s why we are seeing so many brooches,” he suggested.
To say nothing of equestrian looks, which score high with Holli Rogers, the coltishly lean fashion director of the shopping site Net-a-Porter. A personal favorite, she said, is a countrified tailored jacket from Stella McCartney, with a flared hip and sporty collar. Oh, and an amply cut Kenzo tweed coat with yellow waffle-knit sleeves.
Well-bred, pared-down shapes persist, filtering into the most rarefied collections, as well as a number of forward looking, accessibly priced lines. As relatively easy on the budget as they are on the eye are an Elie Tahari robin’s-egg-blue peplum blouse; a jewel neck, fit-and-flare dress from Milly; and a racily streamlined leather-sleeved shift from DKNY.
Their rigor is countered by a kind of giddy opulence, as evident in the floral brocades at Nanette Lepore or a baroque-patterned sheath at Just Cavalli as it is in a succession of jewel-encrusted looks at Lanvin.
In a moment defined by such alternating currents, “the real struggle,” Ms. Lanphear said, “has to do with which side is going to win.”(nytimes)

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23-08-2012
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An interesting point and i think it can connect to the things discussed in the "nothing new in fashion" topics. Id say we entered fashions postmodernism, everything, every big trend existing simultaneously and they are all a bit humbled by the fact they exist at the same time.
I think trends are a neccesity in the industry, the industry has a way of doing things and is not going to give it up so easily. plus, there will always be people who want to be told whats acceptable so they can just relax and feel trendy, but i do think changes are inevetable and i am really interested to see which way its all going to take.

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24-08-2012
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we've been talking for ages about the 'sudden death' of trends
finally NYT is catching up with the idea

the only reason why i 'follow' trend reports
is to avoid all things 'trendy'

personal style rules big time

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24-08-2012
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^ I can see your point with avoiding trends and although i also tend to do that sometimes i think that sort of attitude can be every bit as limiting as following trends.

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25-08-2012
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Hmm, interesting article.

As I've gotten a bit older (she says at the grand old age of 21) I’ve noticed trends are a young persons game usually.

I work as a fashion journo and do a spot of street style photography, and the most stylish women have always outgrown the ‘trendy’ look and have developed some sense of personal style.

Still, I think dedicating yourself to trends is often an in-road into the world of fashion. It’s a crutch isn’t it, it’s like saying, look I am stylish because creepers/crop tops/dip dyed hair is fashionable at the moment.

As for me, I suppose I do incorporate some trends into my personal style. For instance, I am a massive creeper junkie, but I only go for ones which fit with my own style aesthetic if that makes sense.

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27-08-2012
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ssgghh View Post
^ I can see your point with avoiding trends and although i also tend to do that sometimes i think that sort of attitude can be every bit as limiting as following trends.
maybe yes, but its fun playing the 'avoid the trend' game

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29-08-2012
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To me avoiding the trends at any price just to be outstanding from the crowd is as much ridiciulous as following them (the trends, that is) like a sheep.
I respect the people with their own style, those who wear what they like and want, whether it is a trend or not.
I don't think trends are passé, especially not for marketing.

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06-09-2012
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There will be trends so long as there are persons with a compulsion to follow; to fit in. To social groups real or imagined. Which we all are to a lesser or greater extent. Trend setters, early adopters, late adopters. Leaders, disciples, followers.

It is still the case that, despite feminism (or perhaps because of it - one of those unintended consequences), women are, by and large, more drawn to social cohesion, inclusion, than are men. Will the women's fashion industry always be a larger industry than the men's? Probably yes. Women have a dialogue 'qua women' much more virulent than any male equivalent. The figure of the lone ranger, the outsider icon, remains more likely to be male than female. Women's greater need for social acceptance amongst their own gender makes them more suseptable to following trends. And to buying more stuff. The figures don't lie.

In a point in time characterised by the rise of visual culture in confluence with post-feminism [depoliticisation], it is almost as if the dialogue amongst women borne out of traditional feminism has become repositioned within fashion. Appearance is everything. What was this or that celebrity wearing? Is there a trend? Am I part of something larger than just myself? Does my look fit in, will I be accepted? Or ridiculed?

Yet there is another tendancy of course. Toward greater freedom. Social deferrence is unquestionably breaking down. Anything goes, individualism, toleration, not judging, not caring. The language of many trend analysts and editors, as they attempt to 'hand down' dictats about what one 'should' wear this season, seems often to come from a past long since dead. The laughable audacity of it all.

Most of us remain malleable; ready fashion victims clamouring for acceptance, chronic shopping habit to boot. It's just that we're in denial. For we are individuals. So please don't tell us we should, or are, following a trend. Even though, categorically, hook, line and sinker - we do. Follow.

Still.

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19-10-2012
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tentacl Ventricl View Post

It is still the case that, despite feminism (or perhaps because of it - one of those unintended consequences), women are, by and large, more drawn to social cohesion, inclusion, than are men.
......
Women have a dialogue 'qua women' much more virulent than any male equivalent.
Women's greater need for social acceptance amongst their own gender makes them more suseptable to following trends. And to buying more stuff. The figures don't lie.

........In a point in time characterised by the rise of visual culture in confluence with post-feminism [depoliticisation], it is almost as if the dialogue amongst women borne out of traditional feminism has become repositioned within fashion. Appearance is everything. What was this or that celebrity wearing? Is there a trend? Am I part of something larger than just myself? Does my look fit in, will I be accepted? Or ridiculed?
of course you are right
but look around you
the paradigm is 'old' tired & shifting

the niche is slowly turning to mainstream as we all knew it eventually would

recession & tiredness of the 'lifestyle' helps turning the page on 'must have items'

on top of all the rise of 'personality status' makes shunning the obvious, finally legal

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19-10-2012
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I frankly don't care for trends. People keep saying to try out certain trends anyways, but having your own style and tastes in fashion are much more important than trying to dress in ways that are "hot." Be you. Why follow trends? Don't completely ignore trends, but don't feel you have to keep with trends to remain relevant.

I am no fashion expert. I'm "retired." All I know is that you don't always fixate your personal style on trends alone.

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19-10-2012
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I don't think trends exist because simply because people feel the need to fit in. I think it's also a factor to consider that exposure to something or seeing someone wear something very admirably can cause others to like what they see. For example, there are certain trends that I haven't really thought about in the past, but as they gain popularity, I might decide that I really like it. As a general rule, I'm a bit of a lazy dresser so I don't feel much of a need to wear it and "fit in" or be more accepted by society for wearing it. But I would still like the trend and appreciate when others wear it.

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19-10-2012
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tentacl Ventricl View Post
There will be trends so long as there are persons with a compulsion to follow; to fit in. To social groups real or imagined. Which we all are to a lesser or greater extent. Trend setters, early adopters, late adopters. Leaders, disciples, followers.

It is still the case that, despite feminism (or perhaps because of it - one of those unintended consequences), women are, by and large, more drawn to social cohesion, inclusion, than are men. Will the women's fashion industry always be a larger industry than the men's? Probably yes. Women have a dialogue 'qua women' much more virulent than any male equivalent. The figure of the lone ranger, the outsider icon, remains more likely to be male than female. Women's greater need for social acceptance amongst their own gender makes them more suseptable to following trends. And to buying more stuff. The figures don't lie.
Do you have any proof of this assertion?

I find men to be far more dressed alike than women, and also to have far more allegiance to a single idea of what they should be as a gender.

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19-10-2012
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I've been over trends for a few years now I had no idea that in doing so, I was 'trending' ... I thought maybe it was my age and a greater sense of personal style.

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20-10-2012
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fashionista-ta View Post
Do you have any proof of this assertion?

I find men to be far more dressed alike than women, and also to have far more allegiance to a single idea of what they should be as a gender.
I have to agree with this. But i also think both genders are equaly suseptable to trends, they might just be different trends they are following or timed differently but i find people in general just want to belong (or belong by not belonging) and try to do so in various ways, both conscious and unconcscious.

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13-11-2012
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I pick what works for me on a seasonal basis and tailor my look to what is trending in versus what is less in. Sometimes I think I have personal style, other times I'm just a passive follower... who tries to look nice.

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