Join the ‘Club’ (foot)

Boy, if there was ever a fashion season which has all the makings of disaster, and promises to tempt or bring out the fashion victim lurking in many of us…it is fall 2006. What started out back in February, as freshly appealing and highly interesting, is already beginning to look old and wear thin. And thanks to fashion saturation on countless websites, in magazines and newspapers, the novelty of a new season starts wearing thin months before any of us will even think of donning the new offerings.

I think if I see another picture of Nicolas Guesquiere’s ridiculously unwearable, costume-y high structured hats, flaring plaid minis, and especially, the scarily orthopedic footwear, I will scream. (You’re not actually entertaining the idea of wearing those ugly shoes are you? I mean really! Grounded, practical, and urban is one thing….downright distorted, contorted, and expensive no less- is quite another.)

And while some of Guesquiere’s archival interpretations for fall 2006 looked charming and arresting (in an almost shockingly exaggerated way) when they first turned up on his Paris runway several months ago, only a handful (some coats, the narrow silhouette as seen in his brief jackets, skinny pants) have even a whiff of wearability or real life application for us mere mortals who are not 18 years old, 100 pounds, and 6 feet tall (and rolling in dough I might add).

The folks at The New York Times obviously feel this is a season filled with more than its share of rather difficult to pull off choices (oversized knits, endless layers, scary looking boots and platforms), so much so that they turned their ‘Thursday Styles’ section into a guide or primer of sorts…in an attempt to help the customer sift through the trends (without a stylist)…and come through unscathed.

My advice is simple and easy: experiment all you want; devote a day or two or as long as it takes, and sift through your closets. Try everything on (different combinations, etc), and most importantly, think realistically about your age, your body, your ‘look’, your occupation, your lifestyle, your geography. Make sure you have a good mirror and really take a good hard look at yourself. Be ruthless. If you think you look silly…you probably do. Steer clear of all the ‘runway only’ shoes, boots, and hats. Don’t over- layer unless you are really skinny or have such personal style, that it comes off as natural and effortless. If you have bad legs…don’t even THINK about wearing leggings: opt instead for skinny (or narrow pants) or jeans.

Speaking of which, one trend for fall 2006 that has already caught on, is skinny jeans. They are also perfect for pairing with voluminous capes, coats, couture jackets, and knitwear.

I happen to find them versatile and flattering, and think they work for a range of ages, depending of course, on the shape of one’s body- and legs- AND on the jeans. And with Karl Lagerfeld having proposed high heeled, faded denim over the knee boots with EVERYTHING for his Chanel couture fall/winter 2006 collection (they ultimately had the look of skinny faded jeans worn with high heels), all of a sudden, this ‘bridge and tunnel’ staple looks newly sophisticated, chic, and elegant. And appropriate for day and evening, even black tie.

Yes, I know- not all jeans are “created equal”: some styles and washes are more ‘age appropriate’ than others. While I found a good, affordable selection (under $60) at the Levi’s stores (, the one thing that constantly irks me is why they have to make these narrow jeans so low-rise. Forgive me, but I just don’t understand the appeal (maybe it’s generational?) In the first place, very few women (of any age) actually look good in jeans that are cut so low that their midriff hangs out over the waistband. And forgetting looks, I don’t understand how anybody could actually find such low risers to be comfortable. Can somebody please explain to me the appeal and advantage of feeling as if you are losing your pants?

But if you are like me, I have some good news for you. A sales rep at the Soho shop (who agreed with me by the way), confessed that the waistlines are on the rise, and in the near future, even the skinny jeans will have waistbands that are natural or even high- waisted. (Hurray!)

Speaking of ‘high and low’ and the new fall season, Diane von Furstenberg, the designing icon and newly elected President of the CFDA was the subject of an article in Newsweek on July 25th (among others of course) where she told A. Christian Jean, that one of her goals is to “make the membership very exciting. It’s all about the members. I want to create a true fraternity and support system for the members. I would like to turn it into a huge, massive, great network.”

Now, one would assume that in order to accommodate this “huge, massive, great, network”, the venue for last night’s cocktail party to honor the new members would be an appropriately large, inviting space. But alas, it was just the opposite. In fact, when we initially contacted Steven Kolb, Executive Director of the CFDA, to request coverage of this event, he politely informed us that there was no room at the time, since, Arnold Scaasi’s approximately $10 million, 12 and a half room Beekman Place duplex apartment (which is for sale) is “much smaller than others who have hosted so the guest list must be very small and tight. At this point we need to accommodate our CFDA members first.”

Well, low and behold, according to, at the last moment, (owing to the large number of requests and rsvp’s), the location was changed to accommodate the growing throng and instead of being held indoors, the party was moved to Sue’s Garden, the building’s “lush backyard space”.

And ironically, DVF was not on hand at her ‘coming out party’…she had planned a summer excursion long before the details of the cocktail party (or her Presidency) were announced. So, I guess they had “room for one more” after all.

-Marilyn Kirschner

Marilyn Kirschner

I am a long time fashion editor with 40+ years of experience. As senior market of Harper's Bazaar for 21 years I met and worked with every major fashion designer in the world and covered all of the collections in Paris, London, Milan and New York. I was responsible for overall content, finding and pulling in the best clothes out there, and for formulating ideas and stories.

  1. Low rise jeans actually work VERY well for me. The reason is that my torso is freakishly short. And since I am so short 4’11” it works very well. Also, I have a big build, even at my skinniest–80 pounds. I still didn’t look THAT skinny. And jeans often make the lower part of your shirt bulk up so it makes you look quite a bit bigger. So lower jeans don’t have that problem.

  2. Hurrah, I thought I was alone in my total disdain for ‘low rise’ jeans, I have & never will understand that concept, probably why I haven’t worn a pair of jeans for over 10 years now, promise I’m not a freak or hugeley unfashionable. Its just that I’m a british ladies size 20, I’m not like a sack of spuds, I have a waist & hips, but can I find any great looking jeans without looking like humpty dumpty, can I heck, any suggestions???
    P.s I have tried bootcut, straight leg, loose fit, jeans with stretch, jeans without, my problem is my stomach, if I get jeans to fit that then they hang loosley on my waist & a belt just exxagerates this further but if I get jeans to fit my waist & can hoik them up over my jelly belly then I end up with a new set of boobs underneath my god given one’s, have you given up trying to help me yet????

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