It occurred to me while penning the trend report for our latest issue that there really is nothing more liberating than a new season. After the September shows have swept through the four fashion capitals -- and the front row has returned to their roots -- what exactly are we left with? New ideas, new inspirations and, most of all, the promise of new clothes. A fresh start for all.
This season in particular though, pays homage to personal freedom. I knew this moment of emancipation had come when Phoebe Philo -- a pioneer of restraint -- said her Céline show was built around "the kind of woman who didn't care what she looks like when she's dancing." The collection, while true to its creator's clean and uncomplicated lines, loosened up somewhat and was confident in that quiet way we all aspire to.
I can't help but look to Philo as the zeitgeist. Not because of her nine seasons at Chloé where she changed fashion with wooden platforms, high-waisted jeans and the ubiquitous (at the time) Paddington bag, but because she's a "live in the moment" kind of girl. When she took over for Céline as creative director in 2008, after a hiatus to spend time with her family, I remember reading that she wasn't fussed that Céline had been in decline. It didn't pressure her that the brand was seen as dated and forgotten, or that she was billed as the new messiah. She was more concerned with what it would be "in the time she was there." Wow, I thought, there's a woman who is free and in charge of her own destiny.
It should come as no surprise that she's leading the charge of designers who looked as though they'd been granted a licence to do as they please this season. It's not so much an invitation to party or embark on an endless pursuit of fun, but a bid to do what feels right, for you. And there's plenty to choose from. For every new idea, there was something counterintuitive. Minimalism met maximalist, an explosion of color was opposed by the purity of white, and for every insane level of fantasy there came a stark reality. A balancing act of opposites. Which leaves you asking, well, which is it going to be?
The answer, I guess, lies in who you want to be. The RUSSH girl prescribes to the "anything goes" mantra and that is why we love her. Not taking herself too seriously, she's likely to have fun with this new-found liberty. She'll wear her skirts long as "the new length", her denim together, her colors blocked (or not). Or she'll take one look at the trend report and decide she'll do her own thing regardless. Now is your chance to write your own story. A wise person once said, "Freedom lies in being bold." It was Frost not Philo, but I know she knows it too.
For the full RUSSH trend report for spring/summer 2011, click here.