The New Year look

The fashion detective plays prophet predicting predominant trends this new year:

Fabric: With 750 vendors at its biannual fair, Première Vision is the leading fabric convention in fashion. It’s held in Paris (with two smaller previews in New York), where clients such as Prada, Giorgio Armani, Marc Jacobs, and Donna Karan send their teams to scour the best of the next season. For spring-summer 2005, Pascaline Wilhelm, PV’s fashion director, says: “The dominant themes at February’s fair were Fantasy Prints and Florals. There was A Lot Of Colour. It was very reminiscent of the Fifties, but it’s been redesigned somewhat. And the Eighties are going to be important for colour and fabric sway. We’ll see a little bit of Metallic Blue and Yellow and Green.”

Vintage: Designers frequently comb through vintage shops looking for inspiration. “Right now, the demand is for Floaty Floral things and Embroidery,” says Radford Brown, co-owner of Cherry, a vintage store in the West Village. Other dealers are talking about the eighties. “We got a gigantic shipment of Lacroix, and it flew out of our L.A. showroom,” says Katy Rodriguez, owner of Resurrection, which has stores in New York and L.A. | Mark Walsh deals in vintage couture and after attending the Paris couture in July, predicts Fifties and Eighties influence. “Clients are asking for Huge Necklaces and Brooches. It’s very Belle Époqueish and taken from the Dior couture show, which was completely Glitzy and Baroque. It was very Bonfire of the


Dead Fashion Icons: “Whenever someone of Helmut Newton’s stature dies, people start studying their work again. We’ve been selling a lot of his old books,” adds Resurrection’s Rodriguez.

Books: At the Rizzoli Bookstore, the dominant theme among the bestsellers is classic Hollywood Glamour. It’s also been shifting a lot of books on etiquette. The biggest title for the last two months has been Ultimate Style, Bettina Zilkha’s tribute to the late Eleanor Lambert and her famous Best Dressed List. Also moving: Eliot Elisofon’s Hollywood Life, which details the homes of classic movie stars like Rock Hudson and Henry Fonda, and director Cecil B de Mille; How to Be Lovely: The Audrey Hepburn Way of Life, by Melissa Hellstern; Beaton Portraits, a retrospective of the late Vogue photographer Cecil Beaton’s classic shots of Hepburn, Grace Kelly, and Marlene Dietrich; and The House in Good Taste, a book on Manners by the late socialite Elsie de Wolfe.

Movies: There’s no question that The Aviator, Martin Scorsese’s biopic of legendary recluse Howard Hughes, will be a fashion bonanza when it opens in December. Cate Blanchett, who plays Katharine Hepburn, has been booked for the December cover of Vogue. Elle has already signed on to sponsor the film’s premiere, and W is planning a “significant” tribute to the costumes in the film. Stills of Blanchett and Gwen Stefani (who plays Jean Harlow) are already popping up all over the Internet, and recent fashion history shows that designers are less interested in the content of a film than in its costume and design. They don’t need to see it to be influenced by it.

Stylists: Stylists, who act as art directors for fashion houses, often do more in the way of designing a collection than the designer. Many of them also work for Vogue, W, and Bazaar, and, odd though it may seem, also wind up being the people who give the designers their press. Melanie Ward, a creative director at Helmut Lang, is also a senior fashion editor at Harper’s Bazaar and says there will be no tectonic shifts in fashion next season. “Last season, we saw a very conservative look. There were Fifties influences everywhere. Skirts were longer, the styles were more uptight. That’s going to continue for spring. I don’t anticipate a lot of body-conscious, sexy clothes. I think there’s still a big impulse to Make Things Prettier.” Katie Grand, the editor-in-chief of Brit magazine Pop, who also styles for Prada and Miu Miu, says, “I’ve been plowing through old Sherlock Holmes and Coronation Street,” a British soap opera. “The references are sort of obscure for me at the moment, but there’s something very interesting about Working-Class Britain in the early sixties. It’s just rich with texture and shape. My father also gave me a couple of books on Joan Crawford and Bette Davis, so that’s floating around as well.”

Menswear: The men’s shows take place two months before the women’s and so sometimes provide clues about the direction of a season. According to both Ward and Jim Moore, creative director of GQ, the main theme was “preppy,” but with a twist. “Miuccia did polo shirts for Miu Miu—she’s never done that before,” says Moore. “Marc Jacobs did an ode to Brideshead Revisited for Louis Vuitton.

The Verdict: Goodbye, Tom Ford. Disco is out; socialites and old-world movie stars will be back in fashion.