Print Edition: November 2, 2011
Fall 2011 is a collage of various trends and styles, and it may at times seem difficult to narrow down the cold-weather smorgasbord of emerging looks. However, there are two definite standout trends that have been incorporated into a wide array of collections, and carry the potential to define the spirit of the season. The midiskirt and the usage of leather are style opportunities that can be translated into diverse style moments. One thing, however, is certain: the return to a longer hemline and to the staple wardrobe material, leather, signifies a significant shift taken by the fashion world from a more pubescent, erratic stage into a more grown up and defined phase of women’s dressing – always, of course, with room for irreverence and experimentation.
The fashion world is buttoning up and dropping the hemlines. In the current spirit of golden age dressing, it seems that the fashion world has done a 180 from the age of the miniskirt, and is now opting for something that accurately reflects the modern woman – self-defined, and secure in her femininity. While miniskirt-lovers may cringe in fear at this sudden shrouding of their legs, it is necessary to stress that the midiskirt can be just a sexy as its shorter counterpart, if not more due to its understated outlining of the wearer and its implications of grown-up confidence. A midiskirt provides the wearer with a good, classic line and is best worn in a close, slim fit, if the material is more structured, or with a little more room from some “flowiness,” if the material is lighter. The midiskirt certainly does carry suggestions of 1940s-era silhouettes, lending it a classic appeal, yet is modernized by bright colours and unexpected cuts.
Judging from fall runways, and current street trends, leather is back, and is no longer strictly for the rockers and bikers among us. While leather certainly possesses an edge, and a little bit of hardy power (I mean, what other material can withstand motorcycle crashes in good form?) it can also be carried off as a nice foil to an otherwise soft and decidedly girly outfit, or as an exploitatively hyper-feminine take on prim and proper dressing. The pairing of a floral, spring dress with combat boots and a leather jacket has been spotted a number of times on Vancouver and Abbotsford streets, and is a fabulous example of a very current irreverence towards styles and mixing clothing items to make a unique look that is all one’s own. The effect of leather can be fetishistic and somewhat deviant (Louis Vuitton’s Fall/Winter 2011 collection, for example), producing a smoulderingly dangerous effect that reflects, perhaps, our age of the liberated female, who has gained the ability to dress as dominantly as she feels. Leather, on the other hand, can also be worn as a classic staple, as demonstrated by Ralph Lauren’s fall 2011 show, with streamlined cuts, and classic shapes that have transcended the decades. Leather is an opportunity waiting to happen, and presents a palate for diverse experimentation.