The usual spring-to-fall fashion mood shift was particularly pronounced this year. Six months ago, it was giddy, color-warmed, arms-thrown-wide optimism. Now: sober, serious, head-down, coolly remote, when it’s not a little aggro. Fashion is supposed to change, but this season’s message is about pulling back, not forging ahead. Bad economy, long war, contentious election, the environment—right now the world at large is not exactly conducive to happy thoughts about double-face cashmere and velvet evening dresses.
But sobriety doesn’t have to be dull. There weren’t fireworks off the runways, but there is great design that’s thoughtful, steadfast, practical. In the pages to come, you’ll see a leaner silhouette, a softer approach to the omnipresent goth trend, and a rediscovery of pragmatic ideas like strong tailoring in jackets, pants, and dresses reminiscent of eighties power dressing (minus, thankfully, Alexis Carrington Colby). There’s pleasure in plush fabrics, delicate lace, gigantic costume jewels, and (for those who love it) big fur. So this isn’t the season for escapist fantasies. But honestly, isn’t a wear-every-day suit a lot more satisfying?