Who is fashion for? Not so long ago, real fashion existed only for the very few—wealthy people with access to the best showrooms and shops. Opinions were for designers to have and others to ape. In this issue, we take a look at who fashion is for now. Ask Jessica Simpson, and she’ll tell you it’s for anyone with a hundred dollars or so to spend. Ask Alexander Wang, and he’ll give you a very specific idea of the Wang girl.
Ask the suddenly ubiquitous street-style bloggers, and they might say that fashion is anywhere you care to look. Yet the fashion world can still be cloistered, an up-for-anything place (see photojournalist Jeff Mermelstein’s take on the shows), but not always as sophisticated as insiders might like to think. Consider the industry’s relationship to race, the subject of Robin Givhan’s essay. Finally, what about the clothes? No matter how much fashion has changed, the runway still exists, and this season it was full of spectacularly varied trends (white suits, neon accents, punk revivalism). And consider paying some attention to the latest erogenous zone: your back. Because whomever fashion is for, you might as well use it to leave an impression.
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The ArrivalsSome spring for everyone: What we saw at the shows.
There was an exceptionally exciting variety on the runways for spring: Many shows opened with white suits, but just as many followed up with rich, saturated color—some of it electric and neon. There was just as much embellishment (graphic floral prints, rich Chinese silk) as there was restraint. Inspiration came from punks (Balenciaga) and ballerinas (Chloé). And, in keeping with the something-for-everyone theme, women can choose to bare backs or fronts this season. That is, when they’re not swathed in feathers.