Trend Forecaster Pascaline Wilhelm Predicts Fashion's Future

PARIS--Première Vision is a bi-annual trend forecasting conference that predicts what styles, colors and fabrics will appear on next year's runways.
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PARIS--Première Vision is a bi-annual trend forecasting conference that predicts what styles, colors and fabrics will appear on next year's runways.
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PARIS--Première Vision is a bi-annual trend forecasting conference that predicts what styles, colors and fabrics will appear on next year's runways.

Established 15 years ago, the Paris mega-fair is a must for any fashion professional (or mere enthusiast), and an ideal way to spot industry luminaries like Paul Smith on the hunt for inspiration.

Want to know what you'll be wearing in 2011-2012? Pascaline Wilhelm, Première Vision’s director of fashion, looked into her crystal ball for Fashionista. Fashionista: So – what’s awaiting us in 2011-2012? And what are we definitely leaving behind? Pascaline Wilhelm: We’re going to be less dirty, we’ll stop rolling around in the mud, no more punk nonsense! We will want to be chic, but without trying to hard, and be comfortable.

And what are the silhouettes of the future? There’s going to be a definite interest in new, bold shapes and intricate silhouettes. The week, curve-inducing materials have been popular: no more skinny, uniform bodies. Instead there is going to be more complex shapes, and an increasing boredom with the basic ‘loose top and tight bottoms’ combination.

There will be new trouser shapes--hybrids that we don’t know how to name yet, like new versions of harem pants and tulip skirts. Shapes will get more sophisticated, in part because of an increase in what kind of fabric is available.

Color forecasting seems to be as relevant as trend and fabric forecasting. Why is that? For a long time, color was the final touch of an outfit – you’d first come up with a design and then decide at the end what color to make it. Today, colors are a significant part of the process. The digital era allows a new complexity in pattern making which wasn’t possible before, when it was always done by hand. Today, it’s treated like a scientific experiment.”

How about fabrics? “People react differently to materials. There has been such progress made in new materials that people who wanted all natural are now starting to see the benefits of synthetic. The 100% silk, wool, whatever hysteria is over.” Premiere Vision is now present in New York as well. How is it dealing with Americans compared with the French? Americans…are American. They’re a tough crowd, you have 10 seconds to charm them, and if not, you’re dead.

What are your wishes for the fashion of the future? I wish for it finally to be the end of nostalgia, i.e. the return of the rucksacks, kitten heels, blah blah blah. Enough already!