Although fashion designers typically create their collections in secrecy rivaling the Manhattan Project, what's interesting is how many similarities between collections emerge as Fashion Week progresses, and how these similarities then group themselves into a limited number of strong trends.
Taking stock - both consciously and unconsciously - of the zeitgeist, designers first absorb the influences around them, then deconstruct them, and finally re-build them into fashion that feels "right" - sometimes in a very wearable or commercial way...and sometimes not.
Either way, it's fun to hear from the designers themselves what moved and inspired them, as WWD recently did. For Fall 2009, their influences seem to fall into three main categories: 1. the mystery of nature; 2. the magic of color; 3. a hard-edged Blade Runner'ish vision of an industrial future.
1. MYSTICAL FANTASY NATURE...both benevolent and malevolent...
"The collection relays the feeling of being a witness to wistful scenery, like seeing cherry blossoms in the moonlight on a snowy night." - Akiko Ogawa
"The butterfly, the symbol of beauty, mystery and new karma, is portrayed in the signature minimal and romantic look of our collection." - Andy & Debb
"Dadaist cabarets, the Cubist muses, the eroticized Surrealist dreams with German punk." - Alexandre Herchcovitch
"'Rumble Fish' meets 'Thelma & Louise'. True Americana but with a modern and contemporary edge." - Marcella Lindeberg/William Rast
"A dark and futuristic take on the New Age movement." - Vena Cava
"Mont Saint-Michel...magical medieval monastery...Gothic architecture, gargoyles, griffins...legends and fairy tales of past." - Leifsdottir
"Once were princes now are thieves." - Mara Hoffman
"Tsars, enchanted birds and Russian folklore." - Tibi
"We fall into a daydream and are drawn into a mythical world." - Ideeen
2. REALMS OF COLOR
"In terms of color, we kept coming to the work of heroes like Cy Twombly, who moved to New York in the Fifties and made his colors bleed and run and evoke the seasons." - Loden Dager
"Asexual, aseasonal, rectangular, slick palette of blacks, touches of pure grays and intense dark blues." - Rad Hourani
"Industrial materials and a synthesis of the textures and colors of urban construction sites." - Jeremy Laing
"Cool tones highlighted by blue and green; an attitude that hints of renewal and optimism." - Thuy Diep
"Enless spatial manipulation, rich color dialogue and the possibilities of the three-dimensional geometric progressions of Sol LeWitt." - Carlos Miele
"Arctic neutrals combined with shots of teal, ice green and winter white - the colors in the photographs of Olaf Otto Becker." - Julian Louie
3. PUNK-INFLECTION WITH A FRENCH ACCENT
"Fall has a Paris punk appeal." - Alice + Olivia
"A blend of aviator and spy; hardcore luxury.'" - Pierre Morisset, G-Star
"We are suggesting a new kind of opulence, of intelligent indulgence over blind gluttony." - Naeem Khan
"'Nature never appeals to intelligence until habit and instinct are useless. There is no intelligence where there is no change and no need of change.' - 'The Time Machine by H.G. Wells." - Nice Collective
"The French have four words for it: je ne sais quoi." - Trovata
"Modern day Mad Max." - Nicholas K
- Lesley Scott
(images: illustration at top - themoldydoily.com; Dada painting - storiefm.co.uk; Dada fashion - nytimes.com; abstract painting by Koko - World of Found; Paris techno punk; Blade Runner - filmsquish.com)