PARIS, France — Sitting through the Paris collections, I was struck by how unappealing much of it seemed.
I find that the editors who attend shows season after season get caught up in analysing a brand in terms of its recent history. Has it moved on, they ask? Where is it going? The ultimate compliment they pay is: "I'd wear that."
Now that I'm slightly removed from the day-to-day of it all, I tend to sit there and think the slightly more practical: Would I pay for that? And I have to say, much of it I wouldn't.
I can appreciate the cut of a Rick Owens jacket, but do I have to have it? In these times above all? No. What appears on the runway is supposed to be an indicator of the times. But what I saw (and I didn't see everything) made me think fashion is more cut off reality than one would expect.
What should credit crunch fashion be? All I know is what I want. I want a dress that says lighten up, because everything else seems too heavy. I don't want intellectual fashion. I have enough to think about as it is.
I don't want hard fashion because life is tough enough.
I want a dress that feels like a whisper. That says forget about all the uncertainty in life, put me on and go out, have fun. And I'd be willing to pay a lot for that dress.
From what I hear, US retailers are equally confounded by what they see on the runways and in showrooms. Budgets have been slashed, and what's left is being spent on the big designers who control their floor space, leaving little room for autonomy or creative buying decisions.
Is it any wonder these stores are performing so poorly?