"We are living in one of the most controversial times (for fashion)." That was David Wolfe's opening line at his MAGIC seminar, "Spring 2011 and Beyond: What's Next?" at the Las Vegas Convention Center last week.
As the creative director for The Doneger Group, a global trend forecasting company, he's the closest thing the industry has to a fashion fortuneteller. He knows what's going to happen before it happens.
What's happening now is indifference, which explains the controversy. As Wolfe tells it, consumers today would much rather spend their money in an Apple store than a fashion boutique. Reason being, he says there's nothing exciting going on in fashion right now and it certainly isn't changing people's lives the way the latest smartphone promises to do.
Wolfe points to trend recycling as the culprit. Fashion needs something brand new, something that hasn't been pulled from the archives. That, Wolfe says, is the only way fashion will get back its mojo. Until then, here are the trends we can expect for spring '11.
Older Celebrity Role Models: The Justin Biebers and Selena Gomezes will fade out soon. Wolfe used a Harper's Bazaar layout with Bristol Palin, in which the teen mom is wearing $31,785 worth of clothes, to illustrate how ridiculous the celebrity style role models have become. Betty White, he says, is having a moment for a reason. Joan Rivers and Raquel Welch, too.
Extravagant Accessories: When the recession hit, all the pieces we used to consider afterthoughts took center stage. Consumers couldn't afford to get the dress on the mannequin, but the bracelets were in the bag and the bag was as bold as ever. Statement pieces get even louder for spring.
Legs, Legs and More Legs: "Legs are hot," says Wolfe of spring's "it" body part. Short shorts were all over St. Tropez this summer, which is usually a strong indication of what the United States will pick up on the following year. Wolfe expects everyone, no matter the shape of their legs, to pick up this look.
A Dash of Romance: Feminine features, such as lace and ruffles, get a nod, but it's a gentle one. "It's like Splenda," Wolfe says. "Just a little sweetening." Even the florals scale down a little. The prints are micro floral, nothing large and overstated.
Silhouettes Drape the Body: The look is casual cool. Clothes flow away from the body, giving body-conscious women a little peace of mind. Low-crotch pants, also known as Hammer pants or harem pants, are part of this trend. Wolfe expects them to come back in a big way.