With it’s official start early last week, many the world over are wondering when we’ll actually start to see the colors of spring not just in nature, but also in stores and on sidewalks. This past winter’s fashion was heavy on Victorian and gothic influences with designers like Rick Owens and Anna Demeulemeester boasting rich velvets, high collars, lace, and plenty of black. In a recent exhibit entitled Gothic: Dark Glamour at the Museum at FIT, the curator explained that much of what we consider “gothic” fashion is actually influenced by the Victorian Cult of Mourning, a romanticized version of the bereavement process in which the wife and progeny of the deceased would wear only black immediately following their death, then would gradually introduce purples and grays into their wardrobe in accordance with mourning customs. While it would be easy to say this trend in winter fashion was a direct result of a figurative “mourning of our global economy” post-financial collapse this past fall, in actuality it’s most likely the result of both consumers and designers tiring of the infantilizing trends of empire waists and baby doll dresses that were so prevalent in women’s fashion the previous winter.
So then what will spring fashion look like this year? Marc Jacobs, who has built his name on bold prints in eye catching colors, is playing it cool with solid primaries and more mature silhouettes, as seen is his spring 09 look book. Also working with a restrained palette and less glitz and glamour than we’ve come to expect is Miu Miu, who are prominently featuring black in their spring collection. On the opposite end of the spectrum, Chloe and designer Zac Posen are choosing to utilize light hearted (though muted) colors in much of their line, and ethereal shapes. But where are the bold florals and fluffiness we’ve come to expect of spring fashion? While a few designers like Lanvin and Alexander Wang are exceptions, many designers seem to be sobering up in the face of what they know will be a harsh sell to consumers in the coming months.