The clever joke in the New York Times
article actually contains within it a clue as to how the movement towards "Feminine Romanticism" may be interpreted.
In an age that has seen the rampant vulgarization of popular culture--to the point that it has practically been emptied of all meaning--these consciously girlish styles indicate a desire to recapture a sense of . . . lost innocence.
And that is a core concept in Romantic art.
Here are a series of excerpts from another thoughtful article
about the Paris shows:
Paris fashion trends favor romance
The Paris pret-a-porter shows that closed this week left clear indicators for how women should dress for spring-summer 2006: There was an air of romanticism and dignity in nearly every collection.
Attendance at every catwalk show was packed to the rafters -- in contrast to past seasons, where many seats were left vacant. Many feel that as designers are creating pretty, romantic and reasonable clothes for «real» women, interest is on the rise.
Nearly every designer had some version of the peasant blouse, often worn off the shoulders. Jean Paul Gaultier looked to the Ukraine, etching his blouses with needlepoint designs and slipping a vest on top. Phoebe Philo at Chloe cut hers from English eyelet embroidered cotton, while Andrew Gn splashed his vibrant Pucci-styled prints on organza blouses belted over a pencil slim skirt.
- - - -
Ruffles, flounces and frills were everywhere. They were on the bottom of a silk taffeta trench coat in Sonia Rykiels collection, around the neck and down the front of YSLs shirts under matador bolero jackets, gracefully cascading down from the hips of Antonio Marras sumptuous ankle-length floral gowns at Kenzo, and at the back of the pinstriped redingote jackets shown at Marithe & Francois Girbaud.
Designers including Valentino and Elie Saab featured soft, floral silk organza or georgette dresses cut in ruffled tiers cascading down from a small empire waist or bra top.
- - - -
At Nina Ricci and Stella McCartney, low-riding dirndl skirts were shown with hip-length curvy jackets showing just a sliver of skin.
- - - -
Flower prints, particularly in the faded chartreuse and cranberry tones found in 1950s draperies, will also be very popular next summer. Look for mixtures of these prints like those put together in the multiple layered ruffled dresses at Kenzo, and the soft georgette skirts worn with contrasting embroidered waist-length jackets at Christian Lacroix.
In a word, the key to getting through next summer in style is romance. Think pretty, be sweet.
The article touches on many important points, including the fact that:
-fashion as a whole has never been as popular as it is right now, thanks to the feminine revival
-the peasant blouse is more beloved than ever (and how could it not be?)
-Old World touches, such as folkloric embroidery, and even actual Dirndl/Tracht-inspired styles, continue to fascinate
The twentieth century is finally over, in more ways than one. This wild enthusiasm for vividly unmodern apparel testifies to a deeper desire--a Romantic desire--on the part of the public to rediscover and restore the culture of beauty that once enriched our existence on this terrestrial sphere.
Torrid beauty modelling an all-too-rare example of full-blown romantic femininity available to plus-size ingenues: