This September, American designers showed their spring collections just as the recession celebrated its first birthday. The big question: would the economy change Fashion Week? Yes, Anna Wintour tried to save retail with Fashion’s Night Out—but even Marie Antoinette didn’t say “let them BUY cake,” and the evening’s effects were small, if any.
As for the clothes themselves, it was hard to say. Mostly, the economy informed the spin.
Modest? Luxury would be tacky, out of sync with the national mood.
Extravagant? But fashion should be fun, a fantasy!
Challenging? Don’t play it safe; now’s a time for ideas.
Accessible? Have to pay attention to the bottom line—what women want to wear.
Click through to see some of the week’s standouts and how they reflected on 2009.