By  on January 19, 2005

DALLAS — The inevitability of change — from hemline lengths to whether styles will be sexy or demure — might be fashion’s only constant. Following the ebb and flow of trends has turned into a delicate science that can help vendors and retailers increase market share and their bottom lines. As creative director of the Doneger Group forecasting service, David Wolfe studies worldwide style shifts and predicts how they will play in the U.S.

For fall, Wolfe predicts glamour, vulgarity and sexuality will start to fade, and what he calls “deluxe minimalism” will take over. Here, he holds forth on the changes under way in fashion.

WWD: What are the top trends for fall?

David Wolfe: The big idea I can hit you with is: This year will be interesting, because we are on the brink of big benchmark changes in fashion that will start this fall. Most people will start to notice it for 2006, but people who are more sensitive to change will begin this year. We are practically reaching crescendo saturation in glamour/celebrity/vulgarity/sexuality. We have gone about as far as we can go. It has become so ubiquitous that it is no longer noticeable. When every girl in the world looks like Paris Hilton, you know it’s time to move on. Spring is going to be very successful and flashy, flamboyant and fabulous, but it will be enough for many people. What I see is the end of bling.

WWD: How will that be interpreted in fall fabrics?

D.W.: I think it means what I’m calling “deluxe minimalism,” because we still want to look and feel like we are being cocooned by luxury, but we want to feel luxurious instead of showing off our luxury to other people. That is what lots of Europeans are talking about. That is where they are heading, and we will end up following.  

We love eye candy, so there will still be plenty of color, but it will be expansive and subtle, with unusual combinations. Color will drive the business but not in such a heavy-handed way. The big things will be luxury fabrics with surface interest — not so much applied embellishment, but furry or hairy or sparkly in some way, including an enormous amount of patterning, damask, tapestry and brocade.

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