Male Box. Safety Is Important – But Not In Fashion

September 25, 2008 • Male Box

This article is spot on!

Joseph A. Ungoco for Second City Style Magazine

In an uncertain economic environment, everyone, including designers,
starts to play it safe. As I reflected on the endless whirlwind of
runway shows and presentations during New York’s recent Fashion Week, I
had to concur with my fellow editors’ assessment of what we had all
seen: boring, boring, boring. In the aftermath of September 11th, the
Fall 2002 fashion shows that following February were a study in dark
and somber colors and austere unadorned silhouettes, but they still represented the best in American design. In this Presidential election year, with so much uncertainty at all levels of the economy, most designers showed clothes that they knew retailers would buy
because they, in turn, could easily sell them to their customers.
Undoubtedly, the collections that will be financially successful this
spring will be the ones that allow customers to add to existing
wardrobes without buying an entire new collection.

Very few designers really took big chances in their collections this
season. What that meant for us in fashion media in the tents at Bryant
Park was a seemingly endless parade of “safe” clothes. Each
season, we search for “fashion”, not just clothes, and a collection
that is “directional”, one that changes the course of fashion and marks
a turning point in fashion history. Although the week was disappointing
overall, the sea of mediocrity made the few really great designers stand out.

First of all, the prevailing color palette for spring is black, white, and nude.
How thrilling, right? It’s about as innovative and exciting as floral
prints for spring. In terms of fabrics, shapes and details, nothing new
or exciting was really offered either. Historically, American fashion
is influenced to a degree by the Paris couture shows that precede New
York Fashion Week by 2 months and, hopefully to a lesser degree, the
Paris and Milan Ready-to-Wear shows 6 months prior. What I found at
times shocking and at other times just sad was how much blatant copying
of European designers I saw this fashion week.
In my last column, I
suggested that Prada’s Guipure lace dress was a must-have for this fall
– not next spring. So many designers worked this inarguably beautiful
fabric – surprise, in black, white, and nude – into their collections
for Spring 09 that it seemed like American designers were desperately
trying to fit and profit off a trend that someone else, a truly
talented and visionary European designer, started 6 months earlier.

Read the rest of "Safety Is Important – But Not In Fashion" here.

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