NOT WITH A BANG BUT A WHIMPER
Williamsburg has always—somehow—remained an elusive, fleeting place (let alone: idea) for the thinktank at the Styles section of the New York Times. It’s so close, yet, so far. But its further colonization by moneyed Manhattanites (as opposed to its earlier colonization by not-so-moneyed Manhattanites) along with the advent of HBO’s ‘Girls’ (and thus: the ability to make a highbrow-pedestrian pop culture reference that they can always return to), Styles section writing about Williamsburg has become significantly less elusive and…labored.
“Fashion is a form of ugliness so intolerable that we have to alter it every six months,” Oscar Wilde once famously quipped. He was almost right. When discussing trends in fashion staples, very little is altered…not even the copy. Such is the case of The New York Times and its obsession with skirts.
“It seems parrotlike to go on repeating the statement that short skirts are fashionable,” wrote The New York Times fashion reporter Anne Rittenhouse, “but it is amazing to observe their progress toward a complete sweep of the field.”
Ms. Rittenhouse (a penname for Ms. Harry-Dele Hallmark) must have been looking into a crystal ball: she was already exasperated by the skirt trend stories back in 1909, when the novelty of a hemline was that it was no longer attached to a dress. Her item was titled: “What the well-dressed women are wearing; The Skirt With Separate Bodice the Correct Styles for Smartly Dressed Women This Season.”
With that, The New York Times pronounced that skirts were “in.” And twice a year because it lines up with Fashion Week: long skirts come back for fall, short skirts for Spring, with an almost clockwork preciseness, the parrotlike Grey Lady announces that once again, skirts are fashionable. Yes ladies, free yourself of those dowdy knickerbockers and put on a skirt…they’re back in style!