Karl (l) and Armani (r) in cahoots.I'm always a little suspect when more than one designer at a time is suddenly struck with a concurrent aesthetic revelation. This couture season has seen both Armani and Kaiser Karl take pretty drastic turns toward looks that aren't usually part of their output. The two showed collections based on silver tones; Armani stated the moon as inspiration and Lagerfeld abandoned his usual palette of black, white, and Chanel Gold for silver embellished pastels. Now, to be fair this could all be truth, but part of me wishes to expose to my audience a little known aspect of the fashion business: Trend forecasting firms.
Fashion in this capitalist society is first and foremost a business. It is a big business, a huge business. A massive business that fulfills one of the human population's three basic needs (food, shelter, and clothing). As such, there is a major motivation to keep product moving. Now more than ever fashion's fickle, fleeting attention span pushes anyone who cares to be socially accepted to buy new things so that they are on trend. And, those trends don't come from just anywhere. Trends in fashion are forecasted by huge firms whose job it is to do nothing else. They analyze data, form theories, and present evidence for what will tingle the senses of the stylish next. Nearly every single fashion house of note and large clothing retailer subscribes to their services. That is how there are these waves of seemingly divined similarities between any given season's shows. If the big trend companies say wrap dresses are next, or sky-high stilettos, or, perhaps, silvery moon tones then you are bound to see them surface on nearly all of the catwalks.
It's fine. Trend forecasting on a certain level just takes the temperature of the stylish. But, I do get a little vexed when designers play it off as their own flashes of brilliance, their own sudden revelations. Karl, did you and Giorgio have a sleepover the night you woke up stunned by the thought of silver in your head? I didn't think so.