To paraphrase Ione Skye in Say Anything …: We have glimpsed the fashion future, and our advice is … go back.
If the offerings from NYC’s just-concluded Spring 2001 Fashion Week are any indication, the Solid Gold-gilded era that brought us the good (shirtdress silhouettes), the bad (skinny ties), and the downright ugly (Members Only jackets, anyone?) will return with a leg-warming vengeance next spring. Though some of these new catwalk creations had fashion fans gagging with a spoon, the best sent up the Reagan era with sexy, up-to-the-minute sizzle. ”It’s great,” declared ’80s teen-movie fixture Martha Plimpton before Cynthia Rowley’s show, ”as long as it doesn’t involve rainbow suspenders of any kind.”
Almost every designer show featured a take on the shoulder-padded decade, whether subtly (Calvin Klein, Randolph Duke, Badgley Mischka, Michael Kors) or, well, not (Betsey Johnson’s Daisy Duke-inspired ensemble). The very best reinterpretations were provided by the old-school designers who were there the first time around: Carolina Herrera, Oscar de la Renta, Diane von Furstenberg, and, of course, Halston dazzled with blousy tops and wearably glam dresses and gowns. Even the improbable return of the pouf skirt (in a hot-pink micromini from de la Renta) could be forgiven. ”I never got to go to a prom in the ’80s,” said Girl, Interrupted‘s Brittany Murphy (at Jill Stuart’s fluorescent, peplum-heavy show), ”so I’m getting a big kick out of this.”
But it wasn’t just ’80s clothes staging a revival. There were ’80s personalities, too. The Cars’ Ric Ocasek and wife, Paulina Porizkova, Style Network host, were at Betsey Johnson, along with Steven Tyler and Cyndi Lauper. Ally Sheedy gave props to designer Christina Perrin, while Debbie Harry took in Marc Jacobs.
In some ways, Fashion Week’s ’80s jones mirrors what’s going on elsewhere in pop culture: NBC’s Titans harks back to the Dynasty era. In music, hard-rock covers of George Michael’s ”Faith” (Limp Bizkit) and Tears for Fears’ ”Shout” (Disturbed) have hit the airwaves. Some even hope this refocusing on the Greed Decade will stifle the current teen-pop boom. ”Dynasty had a [strong influence on] fashion, because it made America aware that the sexiest women in the world are 40-plus!” says E! Fashion Emergency‘s Leon Hall.
It’s doubtful Joan Collins’ power suiting will overtake Britney’s babycakeness, but for now, fashionistas are tripping over their Candie’s to keep up. ”I wish I kept more of my clothes,” sighs Sex and the City vixen Kim Cattrall. ”Now I have to buy them again — but at twice the price!”
HBO’s Sex and the City glamazons were Fashion Week’s hot accessory. Kim Cattrall attended two shows, Sarah Jessica Parker did de la Renta, and Kristin Davis popped in at Michael Kors, Richard Tyler, and Ralph Lauren. Cynthia Nixon was on location in Canada. No wonder Miranda gets the worst clothes.