They’ve all lost their minds. Last week all the Patsys and Edinas came charging out of the tents of Bryant Park shrieking about the return of COLOR for spring. They are still clinging to the notion that it is possible to identify clear directions and specific trends. They are in denial about the fact that fashion—from Cavalli to K-Mart—has become a giant free-for-all, and that cheeky upbeat gals who want color will wear it, just as they did last spring, and gloomy existentialist gals who wear black will continue to do so.
What’s my point? My point is that anyone who claims to understand the now vast writhing Fashion hydra in any way, shape or form is a big fat fibber.
There’s only one person prepared to tell you the terrifying truth about the state of fashion today, and that person is, you guessed it, Scoop Doonan. And what is that truth? Here goes: Fashion has long since descended into bedlam and chaos. It’s fun, it’s freaky, it’s more entertaining than ever, but none of it makes any sense. This should not come as such a big surprise: if fashion—and when I say fashion I mean everything from Target to Tuleh—is the mirror to our culture, and our culture is going through a really bonkers period, then fashion will follow suit.
Don’t get depressed. This wackiness represents, for you, the ordinary women in the street, a liberating opportunity. When there are no rules there can be no mistakes. The era of the faux pas is dead. We are living in a time when self-expression is the key. It’s about having your own look. You are the star. And you are the one with all the influence. The designers are just playing “pin the tail on the donkey.” They have no power over you. The fashion world changes when you get bored with a particular notion or trend, and not before.
To illustrate my point I include the following two letters from Scoop Doonan’s mailbox:
I am sick of jeans, but continue to squeeze my butt into them because I cannot figure out an alternative. Help!
Betty Blue, New Jersey.
Once upon a time, jeans were not part of the fashion scene. They came back at the end of the 90’s with unstoppable ferocity, like a biblical plague, because people were sick of wearing black stretch pants and skirts. But, as you have become painfully aware, nothing lasts forever. Denim is starting to feel dusty and deja-vu!
The solution: Tights! Knee-highs and thigh-highs! Tights! Tights! Tights! Long the preferred leg covering of Orthodox Jewish women, sturdy hosiery is the grooviest alternative for those with jean fatigue. The upside: You can say farewell to the agony—and, yes, the cystitis!—caused by those icy blasts around your chicly bare legs this winter. The downside: I predict that this denim alternative will be embraced with such enthusiasm that by November there will be a worldwide shortage of Lycra. I foresee full-scale brawls outside the Wolford shop on Madison Avenue. My advice: Do your panic-buying now!
The whole concept of the status handbag feels played out. If I ditch my Chloès and my Fendis, how will I express my status?
Bag-hag, Upper East Side.
G.K. Chesterton once wrote, “When people stop believing in God, they don’t believe in nothing—they believe in anything.” If he were around today I think old G.K. might have modified his comments as follows: “When women stop believing in God, they don’t believe in nothing—they believe in handbags.” Tragic as it may seem, there’s no denying that handbags have been become a religion for you gals. Is this a bad thing? As a retailer, I have no incentive to squelch your ardor. I prefer to fuel it: I think you will find the new silver Goyard purse—available this month at Barneys or Bergdorf Goodman—more than spiritually enriching. For more modest, low-key devotions, try the distinctly unflashy white Valextra tote from Barneys or Saks Fifth Avenue.
I strongly encourage you to continue worshiping and finding spiritual fulfillment in your accessories. May your faith in handbags sustain you through these dark days of fashion confusion.
Follow Simon Doonan via RSS.