2002: A FASHION ODYSSEY
THE DONEGER GROUP CREATIVE DIRECTOR DAVID WOLFE PREDICTS WHAT WILL BE HOT — AND NOT — IN THE COMING YEAR.

Byline: Holly Haber

Want to be in sync with what’s coming down the runways next spring? Then pouf up your skirts, get dressed up, and show a little skin. But buyers, beware: Some of these looks will stick, and others will come and go in a blaze of glory.
That was the message of David Wolfe, creative director of The Doneger Group buying office and retail consultancy in New York, when he spoke at a trend seminar staged by the Fashion Group at Haggar Co.’s new corporate auditorium here.
Wolfe rattled off a series of styles that he predicted will have a short shelf life going beyond spring, including Jackie O-inspired sleeveless sheaths and pearls; Eighties power suits; cowgirl, nautical, military and safari looks; men’s wear elements, especially shirts and neckties; Asian fabrics and kimono cuts; Grecian draping; and rock star glam. “These could make a lot of money if you’re striking when the iron is hot,” Wolfe advised. “Most trends are bisexual because trend addicts know no gender.”
He delved into greater detail about looks that he expects will have staying power, including classics; pulled-together styles replacing dressed-down casual; more voluminous silhouettes, like full skirts and wide, flowing pants; vivid and contrasting colors; prints; brand logos; bare, revealing looks, and vintage clothing.
“Classic — that’s very in right now and will stay in for the next 10 years,” Wolfe predicted. “Some people never left it behind — and maybe they were the smart ones — but now it’s refreshing and a relief after some of the ugly stuff we’ve had lately.”
Dressing down is dying, he emphasized, and will be replaced by coordinated looks that are still comfortable.
“Casual has its reached saturation [point], and it’s become boring,” Wolfe asserted. The style was made hip by dot-commers, but now that many of those businesses have failed, so has the look’s appeal, he reasoned.
Dressed-up styles for the present and future include suits with jackets with deep V openings, monochromatic outfits in khaki, black or gray, and dressy materials including satin, charmeuse, metallic prints, embroidery, leather, suede and fur.
“Fur looks rich, like you care how you look,” Wolfe reflected. “The Nineties was about looking like you didn’t give a damn.”
And after all the tight-fitting clothes of that decade, it’s finally time to turn up the volume.
“The silhouette is moving away from the body,” Wolfe observed. “We want ease, because it looks new and fresh.”
Easier cuts have the advantage of masking figure flaws and flowing gracefully across the body. Roomy, unstructured jackets, small shoulder pads and wider and pleated pants are all prime examples.
“Full, soft skirts,” Wolfe continued. “Nobody owns one [yet], so that’s a good reason to think we’ll be able to sell a few.”
Color, which of course has never gone out of style in the South, is now appearing even on the edgiest rock stars. Color will appear in contrasting combinations: light with dark, bright with soft, two-tone combinations, and mixed prints and patterns. Stripes are back in a variety of printed and woven styles, as well as men’s wear-inspired pinstripes and chalk stripes, herringbones and sailor stripes. Designers will also mix textures, such as smooth and sophisticated with rustic and nubby.
Next spring’s palette will be daubed with soft, rosy pinks, misty greens and icy blues; glowing browns and golden yellows; blazing brights in prints and patterns, and extremely dark hues such as midnight blue and blackish-green. Black and white pairings will carry on through spring 2003.
Brands and logo-printed merchandise are on a roll, Wolfe noted, showing a slide of Louis Vuitton’s garish graffiti-logo bag designed by Stephen Sprouse.” Why do you think brands are so important? I think it’s because there is so much stuff out there,” Wolfe asserted.
Leather bags will also be back in force, Wolfe predicts. Accessories are selling well partly because of the revival of the put-together look . Key jewelry trends are gold replacing silver, pearls, Maltese crosses and lots of color, especially red, purple and orange. Showing skin has become so common that most people are not even shocked by nudes in advertising, Wolfe reflected. Bare midriffs and shoulders, plunging necklines, miniskirts, HotPants and sheer chiffon, georgette and gauzy knit fabrics will be the most popular of the dare-to-bare-it looks.
Citing translucent fabrics, Wolfe quipped, “People don’t want to go around naked, but are perfectly happy to go around veiled.” Sheer style extends to accessories and shoes, where frosted and clear materials will reveal the skin and feet.
The passion for collecting quirky objects, which has been fueled by the Internet, has excited demand for vintage clothing from the Victorian era to the 1980s.
Other market opportunities are aging boomers as well as tweens, both rapacious consumer groups.
Noted Wolfe, “The tween market is booming, but boy, you’d better be fast on your feet! And remember: They have no brand loyalty.”

The Trend Trackers
QUICK FADES
Safari styles
The military look
Cowgirl chic
Sleeveless sheaths
Power suits
Kimono cuts and Asian fabrics
Draping a la Ancient Greece
Rock star glam

SMART BETS
Dressy looks
Luxurious materials
Brand logos
Vintage clothing
Flowing, forgiving pants and skirts
Contrasting colors
Black and white combos
Sheer fabrics
Skin-baring silhouettes