The most peculiar thing that I've witnessed in the grand soap opera of fashion mondo as of late was a convention like forum headed largely by Darryl Osborne of Neiman Marcus fame. It seems that the retail market has been feeling a pinch due to the successes of lower priced mass market lines, and rallied a group of buyers and press to drum up enthusiasm towards the common goal of bringing elegance back as a necessity to the wayward consumer. Never having spent much time in any communist country, I suddenly felt empathy for all who fall prey to such propoganda. Flabberghasted as Mr. Osbourne showed a comparative slide show of dapper dressers chronologued by decade, in scenes at Yankee Stadium, (starting with the 1920's), I wondered if he had ever been to a nightclub, let alone out of the house. It will be interesting to see which magazines buy into this editorially and how it affects future design world sensibilities.

The Gathering

Even more peculiar was the timing of this message as it preluded the next Puck building event. The Marité & François Girbaud jeans show that followed,with the cast of Broadway's Bring on De Noise, Bring On De Funk, brought back reality. In the early '80s when Girbaud was asked to submit his idea of fashion in the year 2000 for an French Elle story, his glimpse into the future included an honest sketch of a T-shirt and a pair of jeans. He caught some serious flack from the publisher, who took it as a mockery. As it turns out, he was a whole lot closer to the mark than the rest of the French contingency, who conjured up fashionable comic book heroes in spacewear.

Funky Feet in the Now

The missing element in the luxury trend working these days is the money factor. Things like laser resurfacing, gourmet food and foreign car parts seem to have taken checkbook precedence for the modern girl. However, affordable luxury can be found outside of the thrift store circuit. Not the press darling as much as the the rest of Italy's contingency, Trussardi has had a long and steady career offering affordable elegance. Keep your eyes open for more Trussardi infiltration in the U.S. as they open shop on Rodeo Drive, followed by a New York address, we hope by spring.

trussardi image

trussardi image

trussardi image

On the lux trail, the fur revival should make the Fashion Association quite happy. Now that the spray paint craze seems to have simmered down a tad, people are not as afraid to sport the coats of poor, mistreated animals. Sales are higher in the resale market, as it keeps guilt levels down a bit, since the coats were usually captured a long, long time ago. As though it makes a difference to the source, newly designed smaller fur pieces, like collars and stoles are on the retail rise. Fashion is a funny animal.

Retail world observation: This summer quarter's sales have almost doubled in comparison to last. Same time, different station: Thoughts are that the OJ trial was the phenomenal force keeping last year's summer shoppers off the streets.