This has been a challenging year for fashion. New trends have formed as designers and fashion conscious shoppers take a new approach to dressing.
People are dressing in bolder and brighter pieces in defiance of the gloom of the global recession.
Many designers have taken into consideration that the days of dressing extravagantly are now over, and the fall/winter 2009 fashion collections showed a pared down and modest sensibility to winter fashion. Flamboyance was out, modesty was in.
The spring/summer 2009 collections were designed and launched as stock markets worldwide were plunging and governments were putting together bailouts. Collections hinted at what was yet to come.
Silhouettes and lines are simpler for the spring and summer. There are also references to old-time favorites. The lumberjack shirt reappeared in the winter collections, and will likely carry into the summer season. Wear with capris to soften that winter look of plaid.
Denim jackets are making a comeback in medium dark washes, and are expected to get lighter as it gets warmer out. Paired with a bright linen skirt and metallic belt to be wrapped around the midsection, there’s a new approach to jazzing up the ubiquitous denim jacket of the 90s.
If you had the foresight to keep your old one stashed lovingly in the closet, it’s time to pull it out and give it new life. Just no acid washed or punctured jackets, please. The emphasis is on clean and weathered. Roll up the sleeves as you would a men’s shirt for a more comfortable, more contemporary look.
Sailor stripes are in as Ralph Lauren and Stella McCartney play with nautical themes. Just keep it to a minimum, a tricolour belt on weekend jeans and a white shirt will do the trick. Skip the whole sailor outfit, and go for small, cheerful accents. We could all use a little cheer in these dismal times.
Prints are bolder and more colorful. Of course, you can always rely on the queen of print to have a dress or two (or three or four) each season to brighten those spring days and summer nights. Diane von Furstenberg this year focuses more on geometric shapes and stripes, while offering a few floral dresses for that fresh, ladylike aesthetic suitable for garden parties and summer weddings.
Interestingly, summer dresses, loose kaftan tops and tunics are replacing tight, short shapes. In doing so, there’s a call for modesty and focusing on the clothes instead of the physique. Fashion is more about color choices and complementing yet clashing color coordination. Orange and purple can be worn together. Just do it without hesitation and lead the pack.
Perhaps one could make an argument for this as a sociological phenomenon: plummeting markets are correlated to plunging hemlines.
Nowadays though, we can at least find comfort in the fact that we don’t have to sacrifice fashion for living in Cairo anymore. What’s on the catwalk can be comfortably worn on the streets, just avoid the stilettos while running errands around the city.
Although flats are being relegated to lazy weekend mornings, the stiletto platform sandal was being worn in the winter with tights. Now it’s to be worn in the summer during all hours of the day. Work, lunch with friends and picking up the kids from school all warrant stilettos now it seems, so choose a sandal that is bright in color.
Yellow, green and turquoise are statement colors for day and night. Christian Louboutin featured some in his summer collection, but more reasonably priced brands offer stiletto sandals just as funky and sexy. Totter around town with them at your own risk.
With all the hype around going “green, environmental consciousness has slipped into fashion, led earliest and most dramatically by designer Stella McCartney whose shoes are all made from natural material and durable fake leather. Eco-friendly McCartney has paved the way for the use of natural rather than harmful synthetic material and has emphasized linen and natural silk jersey in her spring/summer collection.
Cairene fashionistas can take a page out of McCartney’s book, which would allow their skin to breathe better during the hot summer months. Other designers have used silk and even cotton jersey for evening wear.
A dress made from flowing jersey is a take on Grecian goddess elegance and a versatile piece that can go from swimwear cover up to wedding evening wear. A single dramatic color such as red or fuchsia can be accessorized with silver bangles and long earrings. Silver accessories are coming back with a vengeance.
To top off any outfit, a dramatic bag – both practical and fabulous – is key. Invest in one bag this season, the brighter the better. While small clutches are still the trend for night, big bags are getting even bigger. Check out the Giant Day Bag from Balenciaga; in snowy white with large studs, it will carry well throughout the city and into fall.