noa tishbi 88.
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Call it retro, vintage or de'ja' vu, but whatever the descriptive title, the current fall/winter season reflects the recycling of major fashion trends of bygone eras, with a strong emphasis on the 1960s.
That may explain why 17-year-old Australian model Gemma Ward has become an international favorite, moving in on turf that was previously the province of supermodel Kate Moss.
With huge eyes dominating a small, elfin face, Ward bears a remarkable resemblance to British model Leslie Hornsby, who was better known as Twiggy because of her twig-thin figure. In the 1960s Twiggy generated a whole new concept of what constituted the ideal feminine physique, and sparked a wave of anorexia around the globe.
Clad in sixties retro, the waif-like Ward could almost but not quite pass for Twiggy who was also 17 when she burst onto the modeling scene.
Though the sixties revival is probably the most definitive in the kaleidoscope of revamped trends, it is not singularly representative of a specific period.
Many designers, seeking to come up with something innovative and different have resorted to cross-generational vintage in which significant trends from different decades are merged in the one outfit, utilizing contrived fading in the fabrics to suggest that they've been retrieved and reconstructed from way back when.
Sometimes the result is a spectacular fashion coup - and sometimes it's a dismal flop. But since there's no accounting for taste, one person's perception of flop can be another's idea of finesse.
But no woman, nor any man for that matter, should have cause to complain this season that they have nothing to wear.
There is so much variety, there are so many choices that almost any old thing in your closet is currently in vogue.
But too many choices can create confusion and send a large sector of the buying public scuttling back to basics.
In a recent interview with Time's Kate Betts, Tom Ford, the former boy wonder creative director at Gucci says that fashion would be more appealing to consumers if it didn't change so quickly.
"The demand for change has put an enormous strain on the business and caused artificial changes in styles, and that ultimately is why so many people have rejected fashion and walk around in T-shirts and comfortable pants."
In Israel, there's the added problem of a huge gap between the calendar season and the actual fall/winter temperature drop.
Cold weather here doesn't last very long, and winter clothes have a very short shelf life. Beyond a couple of warm sweaters, a leather jacket and parka, some consumers don't even bother to invest in a winter wardrobe.
But there are plenty of others who simply must have the latest styles to come off the drawing board.
Thus during the High Holy Day season when temperatures were running in the mid twenties and beyond, there were some women who showed up at synagogue services in their newest winter finery - wool suits, big shawls and felt hats. For them, sweltering for the sake of vanity was par for the course.
The good news about the current and upcoming fashion scene is that the romantic look, so prevalent during the summer, has continued into winter with changes of fabric and color, but with many similar designs, such as ruched parachute skirts and the increasingly ubiquitous tiered and layered gypsy skirts. The winter versions are generously cut and primarily fashioned from velvet, fine-ribbed corduroy, tricot or denim.
Because the colors are in much darker hues than those of summer, the skirts often feature embroidery, a color trim or the edges of layered white petticoats peeping out from the beneath the hemlines.
Wrapped skirts, cardigans, blouses, T-shirts and dresses with wrap-around bodices are a must for trend-conscious groupies.
These wrapped items are often paired with lacey camisole tops which contribute greatly to the romantic aura. Cut just a little higher than cleavage, they add balance to an outfit, that might otherwise straddle the thin line between sexy and vulgar. It's a good idea to have three or four of these camisoles in different colors for mix and match combinations.
Wasp waists are back, accentuated by wide leather belts with large ornate buckles. Even if you're not exactly wasp proportions, you can easily get a belt to fit your size. Most major shopping areas have at least two or three leather wares stores where customers can choose their buckles and have the belts made to measure. If you don't want to clutter up your closet with belts, choose the color and shape that best suits you, but ask the belt maker for buckles that can be threaded so that your one belt can be threaded through any number of buckles and held together on one side with snap fastening.
Generally speaking, the waist is back to where nature put it. The low-slung hipster waistlines though still much in evidence are on an exit roll.
False fashion prophets have for decades been predicting the demise of the micro-mini. This year, they've been wrong again. The line-up for winter 2005/2006, includes the micro-mini, worn with mid-thigh textured stockings or fishnet tights and high boots. Doubtless anyone who wants to show off her legs, will include at least one micro-mini in her list of fashion purchases. Unfortunately, even women well past the first flush of youth will be wearing these ultra short skirts. The micro-mini length is not reserved for skirts alone. It also includes belted sweaters that reach just beyond the top of the thigh. At the other end of the spectrum are the much more feminine ankle-length skirts along with various lengths between the two extremes.
Particularly romantic is the knitwear in genuine and pseudo hand-crocheted and hand-knitted lacey patterns in soft, delicate yarns. Fringed shawl-collared cardigans with trumpet sleeves are in and off-the-shoulder sweaters are worn over wispy blouses or sleeveless turtle-neck tops. Enormous, oversized ponchos, long, wide scarves, wrap-around shawls and stoles take women right out of the 21st century back into the 19th century or at the very least into an ethnic mode.
Chinese, Indian, Peruvian, Hungarian and Russian ethnic influences abound. The latter includes a Zhivago comeback with real fur.
Animal rights activists have been angry and frustrated this year by the volume of genuine furs and leathers utilized in the fashion industry. There's also a lot of faux fur, but the general tendency, at least in affluent society, is to go for the genuine article.
One of the interesting aspects of winter fashion - certainly as far as Israel is concerned - is that a summer trend which has long been adopted by religiously observant women has evolved into a universal winter trend. Because orthodox women have to keep their arms covered to the elbow and are not permitted necklines lower than the collar-bone, they started wearing blouses and long sleeved T-shirts under sundresses and summer weight pinafores. The winter adaptation, applicable to fashion in general is to wear a mandarin collared, wide-sleeved blouse with a deep cuff under a winter A-line pinafore.
Pants are invariably part of the winter wardrobe, more so in Israel than in previous years, because many orthodox women are now wearing pants under their skirts - in addition to which the all-in-one knee-length skirt over flared pants that was so popular in summer continues to hold its own in winter. This particular style is a boon to women with fuller figures who are a little embarrassed about wearing pants that do nothing to hide the shape of their derrieres. The skirt over the pants is a flattering solution.
Choices in pants run the gamut from stove-pipes to flares, include gauchos that look great with tall boots and of course jeans in every possible variation. The most popular length for pants is just below the knee, regardless of the width.
The little shift dress made famous both by Twiggy and Audrey Hepburn has been resuscitated and can be worn solo or over pants.
Jackets tend to be slim-fitting and semi-tailored with preppy, rodeo, military, peasant and rural influences. The military look includes camouflage prints even in leather and suede.
Earth, forest and stormy sea tones are winter color staples. The main emphasis this season is on the richest browns, warm grays, the deepest sea greens and blues and black. Be wary when selecting black, because much of it is not pure black but inky blue-black, and if you're not into dark navy, you're going to be upset when you realize that you fell victim to a trick of light.
The dark hues are relieved by soft pinks, neutrals and vibrant jewel colors sometimes as a trim or a component of an ensemble, but more often as an accessory. Multi-colored, multi-strand glitter jewelry and art deco purses, bags, shoes and boots put the attention-getting finishing touch on any outfit.
Crocodile and alligator skins are the more dominant surface looks in footwear. For those who can wear them, graceful stiletto heels add class to pumps. Those who can't wear them can still stand taller on platform soles seen on both shoes and boots, while women who value their comfort will find a large range of flats.n
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