Fashion is undergoing a transformation not unlike that of music in the late 90s: Niche and "alternative" is slowly becoming "pop" as indies, forward-thinking talents, and mid-price labels are becoming as relevant as the tribe's previous leaders (Oscar de la Renta, Donna Karan, and the like). As such, the sheer number of shows held each year at fashion week has grown exponentially as an extraordinary diversity of talent has cropped up. One group's mini-dress moment is another's floor-skimming skirt trendsa, and so forth. The good news is, there now seems to be enough to make everyone happy.
Much as the fall season seemed to take its cues from a cultural recession without falling prey to its pessimism (hello, who wears strong-shouldered blazers and over-the-knee suede boots if they're really scared about their financial future?), spring—for most designers—brought the promise of rejuvenation. If anything, financial downturns are often good for fashion because they force designers (and boutique owners) to single out what elements of the various collections are worth investing in. The effects, I'll admit, were pretty varied—from Ralph Lauren's Depression era-inspired "chic overalls" and denim-on-denim styling (gag) to Rodarte's incredibly inventive MacBeth woman-warrior runway show (we'll never wear it, but holy hell). Spring has slowly become about something that feels special: a one-of-a-kind print, a peek of lace, or a feather-topped hat. On the other hand, it's a return to wearable basics in the form of sporty separates, pared-down silhouettes, and slouchy suiting.
For every trend in this piece that I think folks should get excited about wearing, there are at least two or three I think are outright ridiculous. I understand that runways and glossy pages are meant to be a kind of inspiration dressing, but there's little I find most people can do with a dress that completely reveals your underpants (maybe it's just me). I'm also not including other hot-off-the-catwalk highlights like feathers (looks fabulous, but I'd dare any girl to make it home from the LES in one piece), lucite platforms (also known as "props from Showgirls"), and leather shorts (so, so, so many reasons those words should never go together). Bottom line, think feminine farm girl or embellished tomboy and you won't be far off.