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Italian Fashion - Spring 2008 - Sign of the Times
Judith Ayotte Greenwood
The news in spring of 2008 is that there doesnít seem to be any news. Iíve been tripping, shuffling and drifting through the streets of Italy and itís all dťjŗ vu all over again. Iíve been shopping, to the supermarkets, to parties and to the doctorís office and I havenít seen a single look that couldnít have been from last year or the year before.
Denim is everywhere. In spite of the hot talk in international fashion columns that the low waist is over, itís still what you see, whether flattering or not. Itís still what there is to buy.
Even the Christian Dior shop window is full of denim, but at least they are showing the Naval striped tops that appeared on the runways. I havenít yet seen anyone wear one of the tops, but they are offered. I walked down the Corso to Bonini, the Max Mara shop and their windows were all denim, as well.
The market stall that is generally our most fashionable and most expensive was interesting for two things. A chrome yellow on offer was different enough to stand out.
They also had on offer a delicious gray handkerchief linen soft pleated skirt that looked like Marc Jacobs had touched it with his New York wand. It was tempting, but at Ä65 it felt risky and I left it there.
Ethnic designs were as always an option. As many of us recall from university days, you can wear a Gypsy skirt just about anywhere, and they generally donít cost much. This vendor has rainbow colors and choices from caftans to harem pants, all the swishy and feminine things we wear in beach towns.
And then there were these. Pants made to look like Austrian shades! In red! I thought of offering a prize to the first woman who would dare to wear them in the piazza, but I reckoned that the best prize of all was the chutzpah that would take! But if you are a disco girl, here are your pants and the strapless and belted tube top to match!
Remember that two years ago every female under 50 wore pale cowboyish boots all summer long? Well, many girls havenít stopped. In the same photo, you can see that ethnic clothing is quite the thing in the streets of Italy. Just moments before this I saw a splendid African woman in full hand-printed gown and headdress.
I did finally find someone buying those Naval striped tops. Granted heís an expatriate, but Italian streets abound with expats, too. He bought two of them.
Iíve been giving a lot of thought as to why I am simply not seeing changes in what people are wearing this year. I havenít been looking only in Umbria, either, but watching crowd shots on the news, watching audiences at television shows. I blame it on two things. The weather has been unusually cool and wet. That keeps people inside more and away from the sources of inspiration for change and a good sense of what is in and what is not. The other problem is the nagging financial trouble in Italy. The situation is critical enough that everyone is aware of it. People donít feel completely confident about their incomes and notice rising prices for necessities with little hope of rising income to match. I think it has led to many Italians deciding to recycle la moda until better days are predicted.
But they are still putting it together with flair, and I hope you will, too. And I will be there the minute someone does something modish.
See large versions of these photos of Italian fashion.
© Judith Ayotte Greenwood, 2008
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