Little, beaded cardigans. Soft, cuddly cashmere. Silks opulently beaded, yet remarkably fluid. Pretty butterflies and dainty flowers. Body-curving Sweater Girl knits with three-quarter sleeves and bateau necklines to show off a delicate, graceful curve of throat and shoulder.
It’s the Age of Romance. Again, as in the last fin de siècle, we’re in the midst of an era of change. At the turn of the 20th century, it was the Industrial Revolution that turned society on its collective head. At the turn of the 21st century, the Computer Age is shaking the foundations of society as we move toward a truly global economy and try to keep up in a world in which everything happens almost instantaneously.
Fashion has responded to the hectic pace of life by celebrating the essence of the body, of feminity, and of humankind. The newest innovations in fashion come from juxtapositions of opposites like denim, fur, and lace. Or they come from the fabrics themselves, in lush beading and embroidery that harks back to the handmade delicacies of another, slower-paced era. Other trailblazers are futuristic fabric manipulations resulting in new surface textures and new ways of wrapping and folding fabric to cocoon the body – a curious blending of future technology with the rough, earthy look of 19th-century peasant dress.
The jewelry that’s been seen in recent seasons is also an expression of the delicate essence of womankind. It’s romantic and lacy yet strong and substantial, and it shows many of the same kinds of innovations and juxtapositions happening in textile design. It is luxurious in its use of precious gems and metals and its craftsmanship, but it’s as easy to wear as your favorite old gray sweatshirt.
Okay, so make that sweatshirt an eight-ply gray cashmere one. After all, times have changed!