FW09 was the season of the Bad Girl, epitomized by Balmain’s super-short mini dresses and edgy shoulders. Nowadays, the masses are sporting studs, metal hardware, chunky black boots, etc. It’s an overall hardcore look that’s available to purchase everywhere from Barneys to Forever 21.
So naturally it’s time for a black backlash.
Technically the backlash started in SS10, with Prada and Christopher Kane showing sweet looks fit for Alice Liddell instead of Alice Dellal. But thus far, FW10 has offered even less black and very few tough, spiky accessories. The look has been replaced by pastels, greys, beiges, whites, and (gasp) flats.
However, there are still a few designers dedicated to the most versatile shade in the world. Click through to see the color warfare…
In New York, the fade to white was most obvious at Marc Jacobs, where no color darker than gray appeared on the runway. Marc’s Kabuki girls from spring have evolved, or devolved, to the Marc Jacobs wallflowers of yore. The flat shoes, ankle socks, big cardigans, and pastel long dresses all read perfectly demure, not a touch of sin or mischief. All I could think of were some of Marc’s earliest ads featuring Sofia Coppola hunched over a giant perfume bottle at the edge of a pool: beautiful, a little awkward, mysterious, and strangely sexy in a natural way.
Some designers, however, are sticking with naughty instead of nice. Alexander Wang departed from his relaxed sporty aesthetic to something hard, black, and all business. Altazurra was all edge, as was Preen, Donna Karan, and Louise Goldin.
Some designers known for their sweetness chose FW10 as the season to break away. Thakoon, Jason Wu, and most successfully Peter Som all strayed from their good-girl, pretty-dress image to something conceptual, grunge, and rebellious.
A Little Bit of Both
Straddling the line are Frank Tell and Christopher Kane. Tell, illustrating the trend towards lights, showed a collection that moved through the color wheel, from black to white via blue. And Christopher Kane, not wholly abandoning his Lolita of last season, chose black leather (the naughtiest of all), but adorned it with the girliest of embroidered flowers.
We’re excited to see what pops up in Milan and Paris, expecting Prada to push back against lovely with tough and Marc to stay light at Vuitton. By the end of fashion month we expect the rift between light and dark to grow. Which side will you be on?