Tuesday, August 26, 2003

‘In Fine Form’:

In my New York Fashion Industry Report, Friday, August 22, I spoke about the way in which our latest emergency (the blackout) impacted on fashion and vice-versa. The utilitarian, functional, and practical items I mentioned - flat or low heeled shoes, coats with large utilitarian pockets, and structured, padded, armored clothing (all of which would have come in handy for those who had to struggle through the city streets last week) and all of which are readily accessible this season- were subsequently touched on by other fashion journalists.

In Sunday's New York Post, fashion editor Libby Callaway dedicated her 'Street' portfolio to 'Walk this Way'- photographs of women looking chic and comfortable in flat shoes and sandals. As she put it, for many of us fashionistas "the worst thing about last week's blackout wasn't the absence of power" but rather, "having to hoof it home in high heels - so on Friday, those of us who did have to work padded around town in flats. And comfy footwear has been the predominant look in the week since."

And Bill Cunningham's 'On the Street' portfolio paid homage to deep pockets - as seen on the ubiquitous cargo pant (or cargo skirt). But while in his observation, the pockets are not being used, and are ornamental and decorative only, this may soon change.

This has already changed for a certain segment of the population (and no, they are not on the 'best dressed list'): police officers. In today's Metro Section of The New York Times, cargo pants as a police fashion statement, were the subject of Shaila Dewan's article, "Cargo Pants, And They Come with Cuffs." As she noted, especially since 9/11, cargo pants are "a fashion choice that also solves a storage problem". Police officers have really used and needed their multi pockets for carrying and storing all their life saving necessities.

Elsewhere in today's Metro Section, ("Suiting Up with the New Woman Warrior") Ginia Bellafante touched on another one of my subjects last week- the idea of clothing as 'armor' . But what she left out was the implication these heavily padded and structured items have on the reality of modern urban living (such as our blackout) where one could have used the padding and cushioning the get one through the night.
- by Marilyn Kirschner

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