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Warmest regards and thanks again for being here~ Michael Cress

Thursday, December 31, 2009

2009... Out With The Old (We Hope!)

In the majority of my editorials I focus on what I like and what works. As 2009 comes to a close and we're ushering in 2010 and a new decade, there are a few things I just assume leave behind.

For a decade that has been completely out of proportion in a variety of ways, sartorially it seems we've had the same problem.

Perhaps it was Kate Moss and the "heroin-chic" look ushering us into the current decade that made everyone start looking at everything as if they were gazing into a fun-house mirror.

The Thom Browne label began in 2001 and not long after took the runways my storm with his shrunken suits that made a full-grown man look as if he's wearing 12-year old's clothes. The proportions are miniature. The jacket buttons near the sternum and the pants didn't cover the ankles. Oh, and the sleeves were- you guessed it, short. How did the Fashion Elite react? Just beside themselves in adoration and awards! Menswear Designer of the Year in 2006 by the Fashion Designer's of America and GQ's Designer of the Year in 2008. Ahem. We'll remind the CFDA and GQ in 10 years of that choice.

Men's pants have gotten shorter and tighter. Many now rolling up the cuff to show the ankles. Ties, fittingly, have become pencil thin and the traditional standard of 3 3/8"- 3 5/8" width is frowned upon as clown-attire by the fashion-forward types.

Proportions have come to a point that even Burberry has shortened the coats and trenches that made them famous for over 100 years. Short of special-order, a full-length Burberry is not in the offering. Sad when the venerable classic English apparel maker caves to temporary fashion whimsy and follows the herd. In a related note, the Thom Browne label is now rumored to be bordering on bankruptcy, having only netted $5 million in sales last year.

Men's magazines, former masculine staples such as GQ and Esquire seemed to have become more, well, feminine in the past decade. Heterosexual men wonder if some of what they're reading is satire. Are they serious? They've clearly gotten away from their old base. Looking at male models on the runway and print, they've become as feminine as many of the designs. Sadly, the designers have insisted that the female models follow the "heroin-chic" look and have bodies of 16-year old boys. In reviewing the Spring 2010 Menswear lines from the Fall shows, it was striking how similar the bodies were of the men and woman models- they seemed androgynously interchangeable.

This loss of the feminine look (i.e., curves) became very striking in the preparation of the recent Kim Alexis editorial. Kim having been in 6 Sports Illustrated Swimsuit issues in the 80's, I took an SI tour from 1979 (Christie Brinkley cover) to the present. What was striking was the shapelessness our current designers demand of our models compared to the days of Christie, Kim, Paulina, Elle, Kathy Ireland, etc.. Could there be any correlation with dwindling apparel revenues? I think we need some real men and real woman to step up and take control of the fashion world to redefine the sexes to what they're supposed to be.
In the December issue of InStyle, one of their predictions was that the gladiator sandal was here to stay for 2010. Please, tell me it's not so. I will say, 1 out of 10 designs are good but that one good design doesn't make up for how terrible the other nine look.

Since I've probably offended everyone at some point so far, just in case... let's talk woman's hip-hugging jeans. The derriere is a wonderful asset and best if not obscured by a low hanging waistband and a seat that sags down the upper thigh; thus making that God-given wonderful attraction no form or attention whatsoever. Hip-huggers are not sexy. The proportions are poor and they're not flattering. Ever. There, I said it.

I would have an endless list of styles I wish would come back. More classical. More masculine for men. More feminine for woman. More elegant. Classical lines that withstand the test of time and not the whims of designers rolling the dice to try and stand out. The masses actually caring how they dress. No, I shouldn't hold my breath this year either.

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