• Wed, Mar 28 2012

Sometimes The Style Section Reads Like The Onion

Shit is so gauche now.

The New York Times‘ lifestyle pieces have a reputation for occasionally stating the obvious–as Brian Williams once famously noticed. Last summer, for example, they realized women wear sundresses when the temperature rises. These past two weeks, however, have given us a delightful one-two punch of Times‘ discoveries no one needed.

First, they unearthed that relic of another time, the skirt:

MIRANDA BERMAN thinks of herself as treading fairly close to fashion’s cutting edge. “When everyone is wearing leggings, you’re automatically different if you wear a skirt,” she said. Her own outfit on any given day might incorporate a schoolgirl mini, which she wears with tights; a long jersey column; or a leather skirt, its hemline dipping just below the knee. [...] Lately Ms. Berman, 23, a writer’s assistant at MTV, has noticed her peers playing catch-up, rediscovering a wardrobe staple that has languished in recent years, in short supply at retail and all but supplanted on city streets by dresses and skinny jeans.

Later, they actually find someone to affirm their discovery: “The skirt has become the new hot toy for women to play with in fashion,” (that would be Marshal Cohen, chief analyst with research firm NPD Group). A few fashion sites took note and ribbed the NYT–so went The Cut’s headline “The Times Discovers Hot Spring Trend: Skirts”–but it wasn’t out of the ordinary. After all, the Times’ proclivity for these things has even spawned a Twitter account.

But! Then they did us one better and, this week, discovered that Zara is (wait for it) knocking off other fashion designers. And they’ve been doing it in plain sight!

I’m quite sure, though, that Coco [Chanel] would go cuckoo if she walked into the new Zara flagship in Midtown, where a long black bouclé knit cardigan with piping and “strass” (crystals) currently retails for $129.90 Not because this particular item is so derivative of her designs (that horse left the barn a long time ago), and not because it’s fortified with 40 percent polyester, but because of the barrage of colors and styles surrounding it. Other chains churn out fast fashion; Zara, which is based in Spain and is owned by the distribution group Inditex, attempts the mind-spinningly supersonic.

We’re not entirely sure who is supposed to be surprised by this (or convinced that Coco Chanel would be fine with the knocking off but not the context?) but what’s next? An expose on how models are thin and fashion is kind of racist? How style bloggers are becoming legitimate tastemakers? And people are dressing like the 90s again!

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