Michelle Obama’s inauguration suit (lemongrass Isabel Toledo suit, green J. Crew gloves and dark green Jimmy Choo pumps) embodies the colorful, pulled-together, classic dressing that David Wolfe predicts spring 2010 will welcome.
The Doneger Group creative director said the industry — and country — needed optimism and the rebirth of American values, as inspired by the Obamas. In fashion, that translates to patriotic red, white and blue in the form of Americana, nautical trends, gingham fabrics, stripes and polkadots.
The next year of sobriety will sweep the nation clean of conspicuous consumption, ostentatious glitz, and “fashion flash points” that are out almost as soon as they are in, argued Wolfe as he presented his spring 2010 “big picture” forecasts to the industry.
“Spring 2010 will be the light at the end of the runway, when fashion comes to terms with our new reality,” said Wolfe, adding he expects “shake ups, shake downs and shake outs” in the meantime — though not on par with the Great Depression when 14 percent of retailers closed their doors. “Like the housing bubble, the luxury market was artificially inflated by aspirational customers who are now gone. When recovery comes, we’ll be a very different nation. People are changing their lifestyles, even if they have the same incomes.”
Wolfe predicts women’s wear will adopt men’s wear’s “turtle pace” that is “about refreshing and replenishing, rather than evolution every season.” Women’s sportswear will also take shapes from men’s wear, and will see the return of the working wardrobe, the interview suit and “dressing for success,” Wolfe predicted.
What the fashion industry has labeled as seasonal trends — fringe, boudoir dressing, bondage — are really “fashion flash points,” argued Wolfe. “There are the same basic trends all the time, but we give them tricky new names each season. The problem with real trends, like safari and nautical, is that they are not new.”
The green movement is the exception: a new trend. From the green trend, not only will environmentally friendly products be in demand, but also floral prints, the color green, wood accessories and skins that evoke nature.
He predicts that e-commerce and in-home shopping will grow as conspicuous shopping flips from being chic to tacky, driving shoppers into the closet, because “we will no longer admire people staggering around SoHo carrying 10 shopping bags.”
Wolfe said fashion’s emphasis will shift from celebrities to real people (counting the Obamas in the latter category). “It’s time to roll up the red carpet, and I hope a lot of celebrities are in and go away,” he said. “We have our own troubles now, so we don’t need to read about celebrities’ in the gossip columns.