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Spring by Alphonse Mucha, 1900

Spring by Alphonse Mucha, 1900

Primavera! Spring has arrived! It conjures up images of clear skies, singing robins, blooming flora, and more importantly Spring Fashion! While I find diaphanous textiles of warmer months sumptuous and their pale tints innocent, the Modern cuts with a penchant for . . . brazenly short accoutrements is not my cup of tea.

As I loathe going to the stores, I tend to acquire my seasonal desires twice a year. Fall and spring. Ordinarily, this entails a new reticule, new seasonal daywear make-up scheme, few new accessories, and an outfit or two. I am nothing, if not methodical! In fact, my family and peers have taken the habit to wait patiently until the season is over before inquiring if they could have a particular item of mine. I try to keep the trends in mind while maintain my own exacting standards. Peculiar? Only because I voice it.

Spring 2013 Trends

Contrast: Predominately black and white patterns and pairings are making a comeback, but did they ever really go out of style? The preferred prints are graphic in nature and the frocks are short. It is one of the most classic contrast combinations. . All the stylebooks I ever come across, caution people from pairing white shirts with black trousers, “because otherwise you shall be mistaken as a waiter.” Ah, yes! Who would like to match those two items, eh? Besides, no one wants to be mistaken for the help. The shame of it all! Granted, black blouses and white trousers are acceptable to the fashion writers.

My Perspective: I do not mind the black and white groups, but I find it a bit trite. I try, albeit unsuccessfully, to stay away from black generally speaking. I would prefer a more vibrant contrast like blue and orange, purple and yellow, even red and green, than black and white In the 19th century black and white combinations were not unheard of, but was not considered a fashion staple as it is today. Most of the gowns that followed this grouping were startling during the time.

Charles Worth, Deep Iris Coupe des Velours Silk Chiffon, 1903

Charles Worth, Deep Iris Coupe des Velours Silk Chiffon, 1903

Veiled: Chiffon and sheers are tres a la mode. Sheer paneling or illusion panels, as they are sometimes called, display beading or embroidery. The notion is to give the appearance a portion of the body is being revealed, but actually not, or the intricate embellishment is suspended from the gown.

My Perspective: Diaphanous fabrics are very typical of warmer weather accoutrements. I find them delicately feminine if done in a lady-like manner not the sultry vixen use of sheer paneling. I enjoy tulle, chiffon, and lace, but I am not a fanatic of silk or satin. Tulle and flowing fabrics encourage movement. It is always a good indicator of “a felicitous outfit” if it causes you to twirl in glee. If you want to twirl in a gown, it is probably the dress for you! The 19th century saw tulle, netting, and occasional gauze as an ethereal overlay of a ball gown or other such ornamentation.

Collage: This season expect to see a mash-up of exotic prints. Graphics next to florals, besides toile to other bouts of eccentricity in a patch-work conglomeration. This trend is appearing on silk and other high end fabrics.

My Perspective: I do not have a propensity for bold prints and/or wild patterns. The 19th century saw its share of prints. I would venture to say 90% of the prints were all over floral designs, what we might think of as fabric akin to our grandmother’s sofa, or part of the ensemble was in print with the others being in solids of harmonious pairings. Aside from actual “patch work quilt” outfits, which are unheard of at the court of St. James, this is a Modern conception.

Charles Worth, 1872, MET

Charles Worth, 1872, MET

Flounce: Ruffles! Need I say more?

My Perspective: A decidedly 19th century trend! There was definitely no shortage of ruffles during the Victorian era. Ruffles; a trend I can support! I already own quite a few blouses with ruffles, so I am already set. However, the worrisome danger in ruffles is appearing childish. So do take into account what image you are trying to convey.

Alpha: Apparently, this translates to tuxedo jackets and menswear-type blazers. This idea has been around for quite some time. I think it is silly this would be considered a trend, really. Masculinity in a feminine way.

My Perspective: The whole concept started with coats, which is mandatory in Europe regardless of sex. It was indoor coats due to the draftiness and shoddy insulation practices up until recently. I adore the look of a blazer. I believe it looks polished and professional. The only negative aspect for me is I live in . . . *bites back scathing adjectives options* in the Southwest. It is much too hot to wear . . . well, anything! I joke not, when I say it routinely reaches 120 degrees in the summer here. Right now, it is 80 degrees and climbing. In March, no less. I have the opportunity to wear alpha-wear for about three months. *grumbles* I detest this overheated valley.

Asia: Intricate origami folds are making their ways into mass production. The kimono sleeve and its stylized silhouette are returning to the fashion market.

My Perspective: For Western Europeans the East remains a source of exotic inspiration. In the past, it has shown itself in fabric choices, colors, and distinctive prints. The architectural folding has not truly been adopted by Western sensibilities. They were too preoccupied with the hoop skirts, crinolines, bustles and other fascinations to sustain the origami folds. I must admit, this will not be a trend I shall be adopting anytime soon.

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