Monday, June 15, 2009

Hemline Theory Holding Water?

If Hegel's historical thesis-antithesis-synthesis holds water in fashion and fashion is repeatedly new, then I don't know where we stand: In Glamour-wood or in a Photograph of the Great Depression. 

The Resort 2010 lines are out now and while many American and British designers keep a monochrome, demure look about them, Chanel and Prada are, as per usual, living up to the luxury of Old Hollywood and Lido. 

Economists use the "Hemline Theory" to judge rough economic times; Last fall's looks converged on the funerary and skirts the length my Bubby would wear. Fashion does not die though and Resort 2010 provides some mixed evidence on the future of our economy. 

Take Marc by Marc Jacobs, who describes as "Demure American" with plaid and terry dresses. Though hemlines rise about the knee, fabrics remain affordable. Are we rising out of hardship, but keeping an eye on the budget? I think we learned good living does not mean sacrificing style (or spending $800,000 on property that is worth $200,000). 

Calvin Klein too maintains a sense of pragmatism. No bikinis or shorts, but full length dresses that are packable and plain on first glance. The sheerness of the fabric though might be a little too economical and show a little what is only vaguely insured by the cloth. 

Burberry Prorsum's soft, gauzy, cloudy and seductive line experiments with new fabric technology--as sort of picture of a sexy depression. Yet that is exactly it: a picture of a time past, a luscious nostalgia that begs us to think of the future. UK?  Getting better? (Even if Gordon Brown is screwed). 

While Yves Saint Laurent may opt for large fabrics with bold shapes inspired by "seashells" (I don't see it...), the coverage is "less pretentious" according to the designers. 

Compare this to Chanel and Prada, of course coming out of depression and taking the initiative to adopt the luxury we secretly wish we had. Chanel's collection, inspired by the cafes of Lido, Venetian festivals, and the 1919 uppercrust--just beginning to explore the short hemlines of the roaring 20's (are we going back there Chanel? I hope). Prada too breaks from Fall 2009's Austerity and opts for big bows, short skirts, and colorful patterns. Sticking it to the man. 

If we are going to be economical here, who better of a designer to look to than Moschino Cheap And Chic line and their Technical Satin Dress? On sale at Saks for $356.90, this dress can be yours too. The tie at the shoulder gives it a "just made-cheap and chic" look that the name promises. Technical enough to give it a vintage Gotham City chic, brought back by the cycle of modernity, it gains my vote for "Vanity of the Day." 

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