No matter how confused the media appear about what eco fashion is, one mantra rings true: to create a sustainable wardrobe is to buy clothes designed to survive the short-lived trend cycle.
Happily, this theme appears to have dovetailed, so that timeless chic will be what we soon find in our favorite stores. Understatement and restraint seems to have tied together the designs shown during New York Fashion Week and the Green Shows.
Donna Karan, celebrating her label’s 25th year, declared she was going back to basics (together with Vera Wang), sending out models in basic black. While fall colors are traditionally, well, fall-colored, there was a distinctively hesitant palette from which many of the collections drew, lending itself to multiple matching opportunities within an existing wardrobe.
The glowing response to Marc Jacobs‘ groomed, yet safe, collection highlighted the macro trend of clean, more focused and comfortable clothing. This unstoppable current flowed through his Autumn/Winter 2010 collections. Jacobs’ sophisticated separates in neutral shades of camel and gray, relied on his tried and tested sweet vintage-inspired style that resonates with the house’s many fans.
Beauty is found in the details and true eco designers such as Samantha Pleet have their sensitive fingers firmly on the current pulse. Pleet’s collection managed to incorporate usually bulky details like quilting and pleating into streamlined, easy, comfort-driven pieces.
“I’ve always designed for the busy person, someone who is running around making life happen,” says Pleet.
Fashions have to change. Times must change and designers try to reflect the changing circumstances in which they live. And while designers are meant to push fashion forward and challenge concepts of size and shape, this season’s straightforward collections reflect the current tentative climate.
Designers like Anna Gilkerson, of Deux FM, and Lizz Wasserman, of Popomomo, are showing similar influences.
Gilkerson heightened her supple loungewear basics to include sturdier day and night looks to tempt us out the door.
Wasserman continued to display her signature dresses attention to the revealed back, yet there was a telling contrast between the exposing cutouts and the warm hemp and cotton fleece she utilized. “I found myself wanting to cocoon the popomomo girl in warm, soft layers,” she says, adding, “In some ways, I think the new look of clothes act as a layer of protection and warmth against a cold uncertainty.”
Thieves designer, Sonja den Elzen, named her urban-nomad collection, “Conscience.”
“The dark palette is for me a reflection of the mood of those who are consciously aware of the distress of what is happening to the planet and humanities slow pace to respond to it,” she said. “I feel that we are in a very serious time”¦ though it often feels like swimming against the current.”
Image: Thieves F/W 2010 (photo courtesy Dream Sequins)