Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Pre-Fall. Concept or Condition???

All these Pre-Fall collections are being shown this week. One has to wonder what's up. Pre-Fall is considered the most important collection of the year because it delivers early and sells the longest. It's also the one that grabs the largest dollars from retailers. For some strange reason, it is the new Fall and the old Fall which happens in a couple of months is mostly window dressing. If that is really the case, then why bother with Fall proper?

Oscar de la Renta showed his Monday and Chanel presented theirs" a la Russe" last week . All the other usual players are doing the same throughout this week and next. It just seems like an exercise in futility when we can't find a flashlight bright enough to find our way out of Black Friday. There isn't a battery strong enough. Stores can't give the stuff away and design houses are scrambling to put out new collections for dollars that are as fictitious as the idea of a bright tomorrow. The night we're in makes the far northern hemisphere look like a blindingly bright endless day. The truth is that it's dark at this moment. Pitch black dark. Friends and associates are losing jobs or shutting down businesses everyday. Not one day goes by without someone ending on the proverbial down beat.

This need to pump product for a public who is no longer able or interested in buying unless the markdowns start at 60% with an additional "friends and family" 30% off on top. Try to make something on that ........ This is the new math. I was never good in math, though my Mom was a math teacher, but even I can do that simple subtraction. If I didn't know better you end up with a negative number. That is not good, is it? Am I making a mistake on the equation? I could call Mommie and ask, but something tells me I could be right on this one. So what to do?

Pre-Fall looks more like a condition than a business concept. Pre: as in just before the tumble. The next month or two will sort out the results of this effort. We'll see who and how many benefit from this early sell. The pie is the size of a half eaten cookie. There is not that much to go around. Oscar was lackluster, which really surprising. He is so much of the time right on the money, but this collection was as depressed looking as the state of the economy. A bummer parade of bummer looks. Karl sent out a Russian inflected modernist take on Poirret,Bakst, YSL and some Coco to taste. It was rich and in some cases the total opposite reflection of what the mirror reflects. I kind of like that attitude. It gave you something to ponder,dream about, and basically took your mind to a different place. The collection was inspiring,probably absurdly expensive, but amusing. Amusement is so lacking in the air. To smile, enjoy and feel a lightness is in short supply. For that I am grateful. Many commenters on the NYTimes fashion blog "On The Runway" were less than positive about it. A lot of criticism about Karl /Chanel being out of touch and living too much in the past and not pitching forward to the future(quite unknown). Call me old fashioned but there was something brewing in that collection that could be an antidote to the malaise which has infected the public at large. Some fantasy grounded in real time can't be all bad. Otherwise, why get up in the morning. It takes more than meds now to navigate these shoals. Just inches below this rising tide are jagged rocks that I have no intention of tripping over and being pulled under.

For those of you who have not looked at the Times' fashion blog, check it out. The conversation and criticism is very lively and thank God, intelligent.

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