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Old 13th September 2005   #1
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Join Date: July 2005
Posts: 517
Default Fashion next spring: a ''soft, soothing message''

A wonderful new article about fashion trends for next spring came out today:

The news is very encouraging, because it all fits in perfectly with the plus aesthetic. I hope the plus-size retailers pick up on these trends. I find the reference to "nurturing qualities" quite pleasing, as well as how many of the colors refer to delicious desserts and fruits.

In case the article disappears after a few days, I'll post an extended section here:


..."The colors are homey and soothing, said Leatrice Eiseman, executive director of the Pantone Color Institute.

Designers are calling purple plum, while green is thyme, pink is blush, yellow is buttercup and blue is cornflower.

Then there's clove and espresso and earth and ginger and raffia and pecan -- all of which are some sort of brown.

So homey are some looks that designer Carolina Herrera trotted out a "coffee bean" bikini with "radish detail," and Betsey Johnson showed a "mint chocolate" -- pale green and brown -- baby doll dress.


Then there's the popular French vanilla, which is half yellow, half cream, said Eiseman.

"It's an ice cream color," she said. "It's that nurturing quality.

"There is a soft, soothing message coming this spring," she said. "We want to get away from the chaos."

The most striking palette for spring is barely there, said Joan Kaner, senior vice president and women's fashion director of Neiman Marcus.

In particular, she said, there is a preponderance of white, ivory, ecru and beige, with "a pop of apricot or blue" as accent.

Kaner said she expects clothes-conscious consumers will love what they see because fashion makes us feel hopeful.

"You get so depressed by the world situation, you want to bring some beauty into your life," she said."...
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Old 16th September 2005   #2
Join Date: July 2005
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Default Re: Fashion next spring: a ''soft, soothing message''

Not only does the article confirm that fashion is moving in a truly encouraging direction, but it also reveals something more significant about the fashion industry in general, and about how that industry is beginning to see itself, and its role in contemporary culture.

Unlike the course that the fashion industry charted in the latter half of the 20th century, when it was either brutally utilitarian, or, at its higher end, vaguely political (and androgynous in either case), fashion is now beginning to embrace its identity as a true art form, and equal to any other art in its ability to bring beauty into this world.

One of the most profound functions of art, since time immemorial, has been to provide humanity with an imaginative release from the grim realities of everyday life. (And any time art has departed from this function--as it did during the 20th century--its significance to the general public has eroded.) How wonderful to see that fashion is becoming aware of its potential to fill such a function, and capitalizing on that potential.

As described in the article, note how the fashion world is drawing on organic elements--such as flowers, and fruits and other delectables--as sources of inspiration for its soft, lovely hues. Art has always connected with the public most successfully when it has rooted itself in the beauty and harmony of the natural world.

To cite one obvious example, consider Wordsworth's famous poem, "Tintern Abbey." The full title of the work is,

"Lines Composed a Few Miles above Tintern Abbey, On Revisiting the Banks of the Wye during a Tour. July 13, 1798."

And while that title may seem unnecessarily detailed, it actually provides a meaningful clue to the significance of the poem. July 14, 1789, was the date of the storming of the Bastille, which began the French Revolution. And the maelstrom of carnage, chaos, and cultural destruction which that revolution unleashed haunted idealistic young Romantics like Wordsworth for the rest of their lives.

In returning, at this precise date--a day before the anniversary of the revloution's onset--to the landscape that he knew in the innocence of his youth, the narrator is yearning for a source of imaginative solace to help him face the ongoing horrors of the world around him.

As he writes in the poem, describing the "forms" of nature that he now revisits,

. . . These beauteous forms,
Through a long absence, have not been to me
As is a landscape to a blind man's eye:
But oft, in lonely rooms, and 'mid the din
Of towns and cities, I have owed to them
In hours of weariness, sensations sweet,
Felt in the blood, and felt along the heart;
And passing even into my purer mind,
With tranquil restoration . . .
It is akin to one of the suvivors of 9/11 writing a poem about his visit to an idyllic landscape on September 10th--a landscape that he loved in his youth, and that now provides him with much-needed comfort, even as the anniversary of the tragedy threatens to lay his spirits low.

The effect is entirely analogous to the comfort that the fashion world now seeks to provide for society at large.

As we have pointed out before, no art form has benefitted more from the Aesthetic Restoration than has fashion. The introduction of genuinely feminine styles has proven to be no mere trend, but a lasting movement, one that has enabled this art to enjoy an unprecedented flood of inspiration and creativity.

Now, if only the fashion world would employ models whose timeless, full-figured beauty harmonizes with the unmodern femininity of its current designs, it would succeed--as the article suggests--in helping each of its customers "bring some beauty into [her] life."

For our world has denied itself beauty for far too long.

The well-fed, soft-featured loveliness of a goddess by Angelo Asti (c.1899):

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