FA2L is for anyone who cares about beautiful things–clothing, shoes, accessories, home furnishings–and the interconnected tribes of those who make, sell, market and desire them. If something speaks to you, buy it now or hold your peace: there are links in each story, so the item you want is just a click away. I'd like to hear from you, too: please view my profile, use the email button and send me your comments.MG

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Seeing Clearly Now–the New Chic of Transparency

Transparency is far more common in fashion than it is in, say, banking (or government), so it's no surprise that recent, 90s-influenced collections include plenty of references to that era's see-through clothes and accessories. Of course, plastic garments have been around since the 1920s (even earlier, counting celluloid collars and rubberized footwear), and made memorable appearances in the 1960s (Courrèges, Mary Quant, etc). But 90s transparency was only glancingly influenced by the Space Age–instead, designers in the last decade of the 20th century were far more obsessed with reclaiming iconic fashion tropes, deconstructing them and issuing new (and decidedly ironic) versions. At times, fashion seemed caught in a revolving door of historical references (70s bell bottoms one season, 50s frocks the next). It was also a period of extremes, with star power at each end of a long continuum: Karl Lagerfeld and his high-baroque extravaganzas chez Chanel versus Jil Sander's (or Helmut Lang's) cool displays of minimalism. (Not to mention the stealthy massing of forces at a Milanese operation formerly known for manufacturing nylon bags and backpacks with inexplicable insider appeal–la Casa di Miuccia Prada.)

But that's all fashion history. What's in store for Spring 2013? We spotted this RED Valentino PVC trench coat while shopping in San Francisco, and immediately fell in love with its jaunty attitude. We feel the same about this leather-piped PVC sandal with a buckled Mary Jane strap, by Manolo Blahnik. Finally, the PVC camellia brooch, by Chanel (of course), is a recent–but not current–rendering of one of the brand's key pieces of iconography. If you can't find it in stores, check ebay. As the 90s proved, no fashion ever dies–it just gets sold at auction.