By  on April 7, 2008

What is the shape of fashion? On one hand, it is in total control. The control of Miuccia Prada’s shockingly unromantic black lace. Of Marc Jacobs’ deliberately subversive sportswear and his big, brash sculpting for Vuitton. Of Balenciaga’s aggressive chic, and Yves Saint Laurent’s more aggressive chic. On the other hand, fashion continues to swirl in disarray brought on by the woeful U.S. economy, the thriving emerging market economies, the cultural obsessions du jour (celebrity, fake celebrity, 24/7 Web coverage—take your pick) and most especially by the communal industry exhaustion brought on by seasons, pre-seasons and post-seasons that roll relentlessly from one into the next.  

From a fashion standpoint, at least, though the collections in total proved far from stellar, there was enough good news to ensure a strong fall season. A current of power chic emerged with a bravado that felt suddenly fresh and daring, anchored by those previously mentioned collections. At Saint Laurent, Stefano Pilati sought a look that “transcends literal notions of femininity.” With his strict cuts and the models’ demonstrative helmet hair, he succeeded. And who else but Prada would take that frothy staple of matron and ingenue alike, lace; strip it of frou and sentiment (not to mention the whimsy of her spring’s fanciful sprites), and deliver a collection that was as clinical as it was artistic?

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