Spring seems so very far away. It’s cold, windy, rainy and snowy. And cold.
I spend my days at home wearing Uggs and using whichever pet is closest as my personal heater. At the office I count on layers and a cozy IKEA blanket for warmth. Living in California, I have no clue how anyone east of Arizona or north of Florida manages to stay warm during the frigid months.
But, cold temperatures aside, my mind is a jumble of ideas for Spring. Namely, what I will be wearing. I’ve spent the past few weeks feverishly researching the S/S 2009 RTW shows, recording trends and popular colors/silhouettes, noting my favorite collections and looks, plucking choice photos and swooning over my favorites.
I’m a bit late getting to this. In fact, pre-fall shows have started. But, better later than never!
The season was, by no means, my favorite of late. However, I am invigorated by a few things. For starters, my budget. This year I will be forced to search for value-priced items, and my patience will be challenged as I wait for said items to be marked down. Secondly, the blog. I started The Adventures of Penny Plastic with the intention of focusing on money matters, but it has quickly evolved into a forum where anything goes. That said, while I love (and look forward to) talking about fashion, my goal is to provide some useful information about wearable trends and cheap alternatives in future posts.
Trend-hunting retailers such as Topshop, H&M and Forever 21 are customarily first to identify and interpret trends each season. The more conservative specialty retailers, such as J Crew and Banana Republic take a slower and more subtle approach to interpreting the trends, while ensuring they maintain their long-established brand identities. The former are oftentimes lacking in quality and are marked down faster; which works to the consumer’s advantage when she/he is searching for trend-driven and (often) more disposable clothing.
I would love to hear from readers about choice retailers, tips for bargain/thrift/vintage-hunting, eBay and general “philosophies” on style. For now, I will dive into the prevalent trends from the Spring shows.
Spring/Summer 2009 RTW Preview – Key Trends
Normally this kind of trend would make me groan (and not with pleasure), but the majority of the clothing – and shoes – I observed were pretty fabulous and, more importantly, wearable. Pass on the bandage dresses and leather, opting instead for delicate strips of silk or cheesecloth. As for shoes, heels remained fairly delicate, the soles were not too clunky, and the embellishments (grommets and studs were popular) added some interest.
Sorry folks, there was no escaping this trend. It was everywhere. Done well (Lam, McCartney, Karan) and very, very badly (Schouler, Lauren). If you decide to venture into romper/jumpsuit land, I have a few pieces of advice; keep the style loose and the leg long, avoid shiny or stiff fabrics, avoid too much adornment, and wear heels.
Long, Slim Blazers
Be it one-button or double-breasted, make sure the hem hits south of your hips and the fit is slender. This is, of course, a near impossibility when budget shopping as well-tailored blazers are so hard to find on the cheap.
I noticed this trend in many of the collections. I’ve always felt this was too conservative and for the ladies who wear a lot of Eileen Fisher. However, seeing so many designers experiment with monochromatic color was a real treat.
This was an equal opportunity trend – I saw it on shorts, pants and skirts. Pleats and loose fabric gathered at the natural waist and cinched with a belt.
Unique Trench Coats
For those of you in the market for a new trench – a staple of any wardrobe – now is your chance to search for unique colors, fabrications and embellishments. Keep it less structured, light and explore different lengths.
Nothing new, and it wasn’t hugely prevalent on the runways, but it’s a trend worth noting. I’ve been seeing more subtle interpretations of exposed zippers, especially on street-focused blogs like The Sartorialist. I hope to see more of this trend…..hopefully done well.
Lamé & Metallics
I loved seeing the pops of lamé on the runways. It’s sometimes hard to remember that lamé need not be reduced to outlandish, 80’s tack. A simple dress or tank blouse in a metallic lamé done in a neutral color looks just fabulous. This is a trend I hope J Crew interprets.
Let’s face it, most of us are not in constant need of formal attire. However, if you find yourself invited to a swanky event in 2009, it’s your opportunity to rock the one-shoulder look. It was everywhere on the S/S runways. I will be curious to see if a more casual interpretation of this trend filters into retailers.
- Burnt Orange
- Deep Blue
- Lemon Yellow
- Blush Pink
- Athletic Tailoring
- Gathered Waists
- 20’s Redux
- Bold, Graphic Patterns
- Crinkle Treatments
- Painterly/Watercolor Patterns
- Oversized Jewlery
- Ruffle Detail
- Harem Pants
- Sheer Overlays
Penny’s Favorite Collections
While, on the whole, the S/S ’09 season did not overwhelm or greatly inspire me, I did see a few collections that stood out among their peers. In no particular order, my top ten.
I’m partial to Burberry, as it always feels so effortless and English, although never to the point of caricature. In this collection Bailey reinterpreted some of his best elements from F/W ’08; the slender (approaching legging territory) trousers, long and lean tops, chunky jewelery and overall loose/layered elegance. This collection featured a few of the key trends from S/S ’09; tonal dip-dyed ombre, slouchy but tailored boyfriend blazers, graphic jewelry, gathered waists and crinkle-textured fabrics.
Raf Simons took one the more unfortunate trends of the season, fringe, and turned it into beautiful and sleek garments for this collection. The minimalist tailoring that is the mark of Jil Sander was certainly there, but the addition of the structured fringe element gave some of the collection an avant-garde, almost alien, feel. I was especially fond of the shoes; deep black, with large cuff closures around the ankles and a slight platform.
Dolce & Gabanna put out one of the few collections that managed to walk the very fine line between interesting and overdone. I have no idea what inspired the duo to use masculine silk robes as the foundation for a greater part of their collection, but I am glad they did. Then again, most of my fashion design fantasies involve standing in front of a mirror while manipulating and draping my robe while observing the changing shape and proportions of my “garments,” so I may be slightly biased.
I would wear every piece from Derek Lam’s S/S ’09 collection. Yes folks, even the jumpsuits. It was sportswear at its best; comfortable and elegant clothing that doesn’t stand out as much as enhances the appearance of its wearer. The color palette was soft but still felt rich, and the athletic elements, such as drawstring waists, did not feel forced. Even the incorporation of metallic lamé and tapestry fabrics felt natural. This is a collection for a grown up California girl. Which, I just happen to be.
I remember when Phoebe Philo put out her first collection (sans McCartney) for Chloé, I thought, “wow, I want to be that girl.” With Philo’s departure came a few lackluster collections; a few cute pieces here and there, but nothing to write home about. Hannah MacGibbon’s debut collection for the label gave me hope that Chloé is again on the upswing. Sure, there were some misses (such as the exposed, scalloped hems on her coats), but the collection was over-all beautiful, breezy and fun. The white ruffled dresses were to die for, and I loved her integration of deep emerald green into the otherwise muted palette. The shoes were also a high-point, and some of the best flats of the season.
The mash-up that was Marc Jacobs’ collection could likely make a minimalist’s eyes bleed. British nanny meets sheik. Grunge meets tribal matriarch. Geisha goes to the office. It was one of those collections that defies explanation, but somehow works. Like his collection for Louis Vuitton, Jacobs’ namesake label pushed the limits of over-kill, but never crossed the line. Accessories enjoyed nearly as much attention as the clothing; something we’re accustomed to seeing at LV, but not necessarily Marc Jacobs.
Any designer who can put out sexy clothes that still look insanely comfortable gets my vote for Most Popular. Peter Som is the master of merging professional with breezy, sensual with ladylike. I could imagine walking into my office wearing just about everything I saw in his S/S ’09 collection.
Bless Anna Sui for telling her models that they can smile. SMILING MODELS! It’s a miracle! I barely recognize models without their smoldering mugs, and while I don’t have a preference either way, it’s just a nice break from the usual gloominess. I always adore Sui’s collections. She’s not the most innovative designer, but she knows her customer and gives her what she wants season after season. This collection featured the usual suspects, bright candy colors, embroidery, folksy charm and lots of dresses and swingy skirts.
This collection was an accessory lover’s wet dream. I really wanted to avoid adding two Marc Jacobs collections to my Top Ten, but I couldn’t help myself. The amount of…..shit, thrown onto these looks bordered on overwhelming, but with some editing you’ll find some of the coolest accessories of the season. Braided rope, chunky & graphic jewelry, patchwork obi belts, awesome sandals – all with an overarching tribal theme in rich, satuated colors and stamped leather. The clothes weren’t half bad either; short & swingy skirts, structured blazers and floaty, wide-leg pants. Louis Vuitton can sometimes feel old and repetitive, but this collection breathed life into the label, and the season. I would kill to see the inspiration boards.
There are no words to describe the treat that was Sonia Rykiel’s 40th-anniversary show. Uplifting comes to mind. Or joyous. Happy, smiling models, crazy Rykiel-inspired hair (a la Susan Sarandon in The Witches of Eastwick), sequin berets, gorgeous color palettes, beautiful gowns and cool separates. And it never ended! 108 looks total, 40 of which were designed by other designers in honor of Rykiel’s influential 40 years in the industry, including Largerfeld, Lauren and Kors. It was the absolute highlight of the season, for me. Check out the entire collection at Style Dot Com.
Penny’s Favorite Models
Old and new favorites from the S/S ’09 shows.
Penny’s Spring Wardrobe Picks