Conspicuous Camouflage

Was it really only last season that everything was camo? When fashion was fatigues? When “military” was a trend you could track on Now that there are Humvees tearing past Pastis and National Guardsmen in elaborate berets stationed practically at the door of the Campbell Apartment, everyone who indulged in meshy thongs and Dior camo couture is wondering: Is it still all right to wear this stuff?

Samantha Gregory, who directs publicity for Hogan, distinguishes between army green and khaki (okay) and camo (not okay). Which means she’ll still put on her Marc by Marc Jacobs army jacket – the puffy princess shoulders keep it from looking too authentic – but thinks camo pants are no longer appropriate. “They make you look like the National Guard,” she explains. And she feels that it’s very important to accessorize with an American-flag pin. “As long as you’re sporting some patriotism, I think you’re fine with the army.”

What about the bullet belts that held a recent Celine collection together? Maybe they were better suited to a time when fashion spreads could still be titled “Urban Warrior.” “I saw the Afghans, the Northern Alliance, with those bullets around their waists,” Gregory says, “and I thought, Hey! That looks like those Celine belts.” Lara Shriftman has the belt, and loves it. “I have the one that double wraps,” she says. “I wore it so much already, but I would still wear it. Look at the newscasters! They’re all wearing camouflage! You see them wearing army green, wearing epaulets … those vests with the pockets. I feel like it’s very in the mood. It’s a trend.”

“The jury is really out on camouflage,” counters Lucy Wallace Eustice, half of the design team MZ Wallace, which made the most popular camo totes in town (they were selling well before September 11). “But I think we’ll keep making them. We will not be defeated.”

Maybe the question will answer itself: Camo was, after all, last season’s biggest trend. But as one fashionista puts it, “no one has any money to buy anything new, so you’re gonna have to wear what you were wearing last season anyway.”

Conspicuous Camouflage