DALLAS — The new mantra in fashion is “ageless appropriate,” according to David Wolfe, creative director of The Doneger Group.
“The Boomers are starting to get old this year — they are turning 65 at the rate of 10,000 a day in America, and boy is that going to impact fashion big time,” Wolfe told the Dallas chapter of Fashion Group International at the Trade Mart. “The way people think about age is changing. Old isn’t what it used to be.”
In fact, the fastest-growing demographic in the U.S. is age 80-plus, dubbed Generation Exit, he noted.
“Marketers are starting to get interested because this demographic has the most money because they didn’t have to give it to their Boomer kids,” Wolfe pointed out.
In fashion, this translates to “elegant clothes” that can be worn by women aged 25 to 85. Trends include lower hemlines, simple sheath and shift dress silhouettes, suits and pantsuits, tunics over pants, dramatic draping, sculpted silhouettes, evening gowns with sleeves, flat and kitten-heel shoes and clean frame handbags.
“Lines devised to appeal to younger customers suddenly look older than the parent lines,” Wolfe said, showing slides of suits by Miu Miu and Marc by Marc Jacobs. “The jacket and skirt match. Matchy-matchy has not been fashionable for a long, long time, and that is a sign of this new urge for conservative, well behaved, pre-meditated fashion.”
At the same time, rapid technological change is pushing fashion toward futuristic looks reminiscent of modern art and architecture, including minimalism, colorblocking, abstract prints, pure functional shapes and materials with unusual coatings, sheen and texture, he asserted.
“We are now experiencing a conceptual color comeback that is changing everything,” Wolfe added, citing hot pink, citrus orange, primary red, grass green, lemon and vivid violet as well as blues and flesh-tone hues.
“Navy blue may become the new black,” he mused. “Soft powder-puff pales will gather momentum over a few seasons and in 2013 they will be a major story. They are nearly like white with a tint of color in them.”
Other trends include peekaboo cutouts, real and fake snakeskin and fluffy furs, colored leather, heavier laces such as guipure, new plaids, satin for daywear, smart jackets without linings, dramatic coats and bulky sweaters in lightweight hollow yarns.
“Basics are boring and are not what is selling,” he noted.