Shoulders are definitely strong for Fall 09. As shoulders become more dominant, jutting out or tower over, necks have been relegated behind intricate ruffs, fur collars, patterned scarves, or heavy, oramental necklaces. Maybe designers are telling us they have collectively decided not to stick their necks too far out for the Fall 09 season. Or perhaps instead of burying our heads in the sand, we should be covering our necks in an effort to hide from an ever-widening economic crisis that has not only closed its grips around our banking and retail institutions, but has also reached across European and Asian shores. There is an ancient Japanese saying that states that the man rules the head, but the woman rules the neck. In these times, it certainly feels the weight of the world hangs on our shoulders. Strong shoulders definitely require strong necks. In any case, designers, collectively, have decided we should hunker down for the long cold winter of this recession and cover up.
The recession has taken a heavy toll on businesses and consumers, alike. Although, New York has no choice but to acknowledge the deadening weight of the economic crisis. Designers share the hope and optimism that although bowed, we are not beaten, and even in dark days, there is always something to smile about.
An American classic, Ralph Lauren romanticizes the neck by layering it behind soft, tulle-like ascots and beaded netting in subdued colors, such as mauve, silver grey, ivory, and antique gold.
Kors has decided to tough it out with necks that disappear under heavy knitted turtle-neck sweaters, chunky 80s-inspired gold or silver chains, fur collars, and neon-colored wrap scarves.
Overall, London’s interpretation of recession-ready fashion is darker and edgier than seen on New York runways. The cut is more often sharp and angular as if to express the sharp economic downturn experienced in the UK. Most of the collections centered around geometric designs and patterns. There was color, but it seemed to be used sparingly with emphasis placed on the stark contrasts of black and white; as if designers were seeking to find a beacon of light in the midst of dark, gloomy times.
Todd Lynn’s tough, androgynous tailored chic left no neck uncovered. His black and white collection showcased fitted tuxedo jackets, skin-tight leather pants, and high-necked fur collars and capes.
Although Templerly showed her collection at NYC fashion week, Temperly London is a British designer who, this season, recreated the Empress of the Orient. Studded in hard metal and zippers, this woman is no shrinking violet. Temperly’s empress is prepared to do battle, her neck shrouded like the crusaders of the Middle Ages. The collection has an intensity that seems to echo the rage and discontent wrought from uncertain times.
Erdem greeted us with rounded, bouquet silhouettes. Colorful and fanciful florals fought against a backdrop of black, seeming to express cheer despite the sea of black in which petals in bright blues, yellows, reds, purples floated. Tulip-shaped dresses expressed a vulnerability and softness that definitedly would have warranted some type of protection and like Ralph Lauren, Erdem, wrapped his waif’s neck in wispy, floral ruffles.
Milan is a constant for high-energy sex appeal; the city literally vibrates with rock and roll seduction. These women are too sexy to really be terribly concerned about a little, itty-bitty economic downturn. Besides, a great bag, sexy stilettos, and a devil-may-care attitude will navigate any woman worth her pout through a recession’s maelstrom. The eye of the storm is the best place to find a spotlight. These women do not need the added protection of a neck covering, but one should always be prepared.
For Fall 09, the D&G show, most fittingly, largely referenced the Elizabethan era with boned bodices, fur capulets, and high, ruffled collars. The collection was kept contemporary by pairing these elaborate designs with graphic tees and skinny pants. The shoes were reminiscent of Venetian chopines worn by the Italian upper classes during the late Middle Ages as well as showcased short hoop skirts and flowy tops in quilted velvets, damask fabrics or printed tapestries.Missoni took the concept of protective layers to new levels with models covered head to toe in feather soft knits.
Angela Missoni has proven a girl can cover up, but she can’t hide her sex appeal. The collection, in girly mauves, soft greys, apricots, and powder blues, was young and hip. There seemed to be an open exchange between obscurity with the use of cowl sweater scarves and transparency afforded by web knit layering.
Paris is a sophisticated city, a luxurious city that will not be bowed by the economic crisis. As spoken by Galliano for Dior, “we are suffering an economic crisis, not a creative one”…and so, in typical stately fashion, Paris has offered us their decree on the recession. It sounded a bit like…”Let them eat cake”–cough.
Chanel’s Karl Lagerfeld danced between the 16th and early 20th centuries; leaping between the reigning rulers(King Henry VIII and King Edward VII) to present a collection juxtaposed between heavy wool picture hats paired with elaborately pleated ruffs. With this same sense of playfulness, Lagerfeld dappled in mixed media with chunky knits, furs, leathers, wools, and of course, Chanels’ ubiquitous tweeds. Ruffled collars were worn either high or cascaded softly around the face(depending on the era). These neck coverings demanded recognition of the wearer’s majesty and removal from the masses’ concern of recession.
Lanvin was severe in his judgement on the recession. His collection of 40s revival suits were highlighted by heavy, sculptural jewelry which rather than merely decorative enclosed the necks of his models in metal collars. The mannish cuts of his suits were dark; the embodiment of an austere, haughty–almost untouchable chicness.