Looks like couture for 2004.
Last November, celebrities and fashion journalists huddled in tents at Manhattan’s Bryant Park for Mercedes Benz Fashion Week to see what global style-makers were offering for spring. Fast-forward to January and all bets are off: November collections were just a taste of what was to come.
From techno-Egyptian at Christian Dior to vibrant and sleek at the House of Versace, fashion is at its best during the Paris haute couture shows.
Just ask Gwen Stefani and Gavin Rossdale. Or Pharrel Williams. Hell, grab Christina Aguilera by the arm should you catch her at the front row of any runway show and see what all the buzz is about; Celebrities flock to the unveiling of the season’s new looks.
This year it’s back to basics for everyone. As tame or outlandish a designer may be, 2004, much like 2003, is about sex.
“A mix of severity and frivolity. That’s what modern sexiness is: ambiguity,” said House of Chanel’s main man Karl Lagerfeld in an interview with Style.com.
Expect lots of color this year. The acidic hues Dior is notorious for will make a guaranteed appearance on the red carpet. However, any electric color will blend well. Also, look for jade and deep greens as the “it” earth tone.
Hate it to break it to you athletic gear fans, but the reign of J. Lo and Sean John is over. Sportswear is redefining itself, hoping to expand markets by eliminating such casual fabrics as terrycloth and cotton and taking a more sophisticated approach.
Even Tommy Hilfiger is succumbing. His new line of men’s duffel bags look more like Berkins than backpacks.
Speaking of bags, kiss the pastel Louis Vuitton goodbye. This year, Gucci’s got it. In a fashion climate where women change bags more often than they change their underwear, staying afloat amidst ferocious competition means keeping the ladies happy.
Perhaps Tom Ford, the man who resuscitated Gucci from a second-tier luggage factory, went in the vein of Lagerfeld combining “severity and frivolity” in the 2004 Gucci logo bag. With a classic Gucci monogram, a racing stripe made of crocodile skin and hardware detail, the bag is already burning up premieres and parties.
From Dolce and Gabbana comes one of the year’s boldest and likely most successful trends, print-on-print. The saucy Italians know glamour and their spring collection is reminiscent of 60s experimentation with overlapping patterns.
Designers do what they do and consumers obey; the tricky part is knowing the don’ts.
Safe bets, in Hilfiger’s words, are “classics with a twist.” From the college student searching for select pieces to beef up their collection of T-shirts and jeans to heiresses building seasonal wardrobes from scratch, one can’t go wrong with mainstream staples like beige three-quarter length trench coats (Prada, Express/Men).
Don’t wear any more velour, don’t overdose on Ugg boots and it’s safe to say that asymmetrical tops (sorry, half-cut Abercrombie tanks) are done.
Although the masses can’t be fortunate enough to land a front-row invite to Versace’s Paris couture show, we can still press our noses to the glass and mimic the motions of the fashion elite. Or, even better, take their guidance and create looks all our own.
Regardless, good luck and good dress in 2004.
Matt Donnelly can be reached at email@example.com