MILAN — Miniskirts and micro-dresses may be storming the runways here, but some retailers and editors are questioning how far they’ll go in real life.
"The liposuction doctors are going to be licking their chops," quipped Linda Wells, editor in chief of Allure. "Usually, there’s an association between short skirts and a good economy. Maybe designers are trying to make that happen. It seems a bit like forced optimism."
Joan Kaner, senior vice president and fashion director at Neiman Marcus, said she’s hoping to find longer options in showrooms.
"Last night, the models were yanking the dresses down to cover their rear ends," she said, referring to Tom Ford’s parade of tiny dresses at Gucci. "For the young, it’s fine. At designer prices, you’re catering to a different woman and I don’t see that many women running around in skirts that short."
Kuwaiti retailer Majed Al-Sabah said most stores are likely to buy very short styles for enticing window displays, but he expects a tiny minority of women to wear it, given what he sees on the streets of Milan and Paris.
"In my market, no one could wear them," he said. "Most of the short dresses, I’ll buy them as tops and tunics."
Julie Gilhart, vice president and fashion director for women’s at Barneys New York, said the store would be buying into the look for next spring.
"It’s all about a very slim pencil skirt or a short miniskirt," she said. "Short feels right, now. Anything long doesn’t look new."
But the predominance of extremely short skirts, also seen at Prada, Fendi, Jil Sander, Max Mara and Dolce & Gabbana, is prompting a lot of reflection.
"I don’t think a lot of the designer customers are going to be able to wear that length, as much as they might like," said Charla Lawhon, managing editor of In Style. "There comes a point in every woman’s life when she probably wouldn’t wear a skirt so short."
Wells noted that the last time such short skirts were in fashion, women wore them with dark tights. This week, they’re being featured with bare legs. Elizabeth Saltzman, fashion director of Vanity Fair, applauded the look as irreverent and fun, perfect for young pop stars, "rock chicks" and the likes of Sarah Jessica Parker and Cameron Diaz.And for mere mortals? "Time to hit the Stairmaster," she said.
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