Utility vs. Fantasy: Which Side Are You On?
Call it optimism or call it escapism, but Spring 2010 is the season of the ruffled party dress: usually short, often chiffon, and almost always nude (we refer to both the color and the prevalence of sheer fabrics). Marc Jacobs—who else?—kicked the trend into high gear with his parade of ballet nymphs in New York. The frill lasted all through London, Milan, and Paris, taking in along the way Christopher Kane, Fendi, and Jacobs’ former protégé Peter Copping at Nina Ricci. But toward the end of Paris, a counterinsurgency. At Celine, Phoebe Philo cleared the collective palate with a collection that she herself described as “a kind of contemporary minimalism.” Hannah MacGibbon was of a similar mind-set at Philo’s former stomping ground Chloé, and, thinking about it, the groundswell of “utility chic” could be traced back via Junya Watanabe‘s pantsuits to MaxMara‘s back-to-what-we-do-best styles to…well, didn’t Marc put those plain little raincoats over his ruffles? (And was it just coincidence that the patron saint of contemporary minimalism, Jil Sander, chose this moment to re-emerge with her +J line for Uniqlo?) So, suddenly, two camps: one that flirts with frivolousness but that also has the potential to create romance and desire, the other practical but possibly in danger of coming across as too plain. Click for a slideshow, then tell us, which side are you on, and perhaps more pertinently, which approach will make you open your wallet?