Archive for November, 2010

Summer fashions are retro to the max

While Australia may not have been hit as hard by the global financial crisis as the US, Britain and other parts of Europe, there is no question local fashion trends have also felt its impact. As local designers and fast fashion retailers invariably look to the international runways for their style cues, Australian consumers will also be wearing clothes that reflect the safety and familiarity of years gone by.

Take swimwear, for example. For several seasons now, more and more local swimwear designers have been whipping up 1940s and ’50s-inspired retro bathing suits, including one-piece styles, complete with sweetheart necklines and boy-leg bottoms as well as two-piece costumes with halter-style tops and high-waisted briefs.

fashion show

The move away from barely-there bikinis to classic, retro styles has been a gradual one. But the vintage styles have sold like hot cakes and look set to endure for several more summers to come.

“Retailers and designers are having to play it safe and deliver things they know will sell,” says Evans. “That’s why trends seemed to be static for the past few seasons. It (the economic climate) is making fashion much more evolutionary rather than creating revolutionary new trends every season.”

Evans, who will visit Melbourne in November for WGSN’s biannual trend seminar, says the economic crisis has also driven the trend for minimalist, pared-back looks.

“This return to simple, quality basics like those we have seen at Celine and Chloe, for example, is another reaction to the downturn. It’s about providing simple, quality no-fuss designs … things that will sit within your existing wardrobe rather than creating a whole new seasonal look.”

Kristi Anderson, Sportsgirl’s head of apparel, agrees nostalgia for the good ol’ days is driving several strong trends in Australian fashion this summer, including 1970s and 1950s looks.

“Sportsgirl’s collection this summer has been inspired by a number of key trends that we know our girls are going to love; 1970s-inspired printed pants, maxi dresses and skirts will be big, as well as ’50s-style sundresses,” she says.

Of course, one can’t ignore the fact that the return to ladylike, 1950s looks – think full skirts and dresses with nipped-in waists, complete with cocktail hats and gloves – has also been largely driven by the Mad Men phenomenon.