When French literary critic and theorist Roland Barthes declared the author dead in 1967,
shock waves reverberated throughout the literary stratosphere. Today, I'd like to posit a similarly outlandish claim as it pertains to this dear fashion industry of ours: the trend, as we plunge towards Autumn/Winter 2011/12 and the next round of fashion weeks, is on it's deathbed, wheezing its final "must-have" breaths. And I, for one, will not be weeping at its funeral, nor, on the other hand, will I be dancing in YSL Tributes on its grave. For the death of the trend, just like that of the author, is a double-edged sword denoting a fundamental change in our thinking about style and fashion, and, perhaps, even how we consume as a 21st century society in general.
Now, when I say the trend is breathing its last, what I really mean is that the more staunch notion of "Color X-is-the-one-this-season-and-Garment-Y-you-can't-live-without" mentality is evolving into something bigger, and, in my opinion, better (not to mention denoted by a much snazzier word):zeitgeist. Gone is that precious notion of the color, the cut, the "it" item, as it were. In this day and age, pretty much anything goes-it all comes down to how you style it. Thanks to the advent of the blogosphere, the saturation of the ready to wear and high street markets during a time of economic uncertainty, big brands have taken a step back from forcing yo-yoing "must haves" on us season after season (now jumpsuit! Now crop tops! Now bandage dresses! Now the kitchen sink strapped atop your head, onward ho!).
Instead, the aptly industry-dubbed "micro-trends" have been running riot, essentially allowing fashion editors to peg anything and everything that appears in at least two or more runway shows as one of this season's many "micro-trends," thus appeasing both designers and readers alike. Just take this coming Autumn/Winter season, for example, whose "trend-watch" is riddled with contradictions and opposites. Keywords to stash in your mental fashion cupboard for fall include androgynous v. ultra ladylike, fetish v. homespun crafts, minimalism v. fetish, futuristic v. victoriana, neutrals v. brights, and so on and so forth.
As for shapes-long and lean will do nicely, as will short and body conscious, hemlines maxi, midi and mini find themselves all on point and a wide leg trouser is just as current as a skinny. Prints range from check to geometric to polka dots to cheeky graphics (Dolce & Gabbana's stars, for instance) and the more you mix and match 'em, the better. There is no one item or brand this season (or next) that can propel you to instant and current cool, only styling can do that. The question, as it were, has become not what to wear, but how.
But for all my pomp diatribe, when it at last comes time to lower the coffin of the trend into the ground, it's not so simple as "Alaia to ashes, Dolce to dust." Because if the trend were truly dead as a doorknob, I wouldn't still be considering swapping a kidney for this season's Alexander Wang Robyn Hobo Tote so as not to be the only blogger at fashion week without a bullet studded bag, would I?