By  on March 16, 2009

This fall's crop of runway fabrics channeled past moments of uncertainty.Astrakhan topcoats referenced the Russian Revolution and World War II, while corduroy blazers mimicked the U.S.-manufactured, mass-produced variety popular with the working class in the late 1800s during the Long Depression. “People want that security right now,” said Gilded Age designer Stefan Miljanic. “Corduroy sparks emotions. It’s the warm, soft but gutsy feel that makes it an essential fall fabric.”

Miljanic drew from images of sport coats with leather patched-elbows, worn by pipe-smoking Harvard professors in the Sixties for a rustic feel. “I love the thicker cord blazer,” he said. For a more sophisticated look, a burgundy stretch corduroy hunter jacket had an iridescent sheen. Band of Outsiders took a similar approach, with designer Scott Sternberg choosing a waxed treatment for a stiff construction and a memory for wear. “It’s a suit for now, for a guy like me,” he said. “I’ve done corduroy before, but now I’m doing it in a better, in a fresher, more confident way, like including Ultrasuede elbow patches.” In Paris, Junya Watanabe kept his corduroy pants short and relaxed, paired with puffy vests and brown suede-pocketed tweed jackets for a taste of pure Americana.

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