The essence of ease... in a suit. The whole message in Adolfo's cardigan-sweater-and-skirt suit—and how it's worn: fuzzy mohair over ribbed wool... sleeves rolled up... knitted gloves rolled down. All soft, blending textures. All whitened beiges and beige-y whites from tasseled moccasin to angora cap... Against this paleness, this softness, the face comes through like a flash—not painted-looking but definitely made up—and the cut of the hair lifts everything in sight. As we said... the whole message... Suit and turtleneck, about $325.
Much has been written in both the fashion and business press about this idea of "consumer fatigue" supposedly currently plaguing the retail industry, where shoppers are supposedly so bored of runway styles by the time they arrive in stores that they aren't shopping. The proliference of runway images on Instagram and other social media platforms, combined with celebrities wearing pieces within 24 hours of a show, does make the most acclaimed ensembles look old hat by the time they are available for retail, but it is difficult to see now if sales will greatly benefit from the new approach that brands like Burberry and Tom Ford are doing. Even before this recent rash of schedule changes, it has been a deep conversation I have found myself in many nights—how can the fashion industry be changed? How can it be saved?—I, for one, have long thought a shift in the calendar (with a closer timing between revelation and purchase) would make shoppers more likely to break out the plastic, but one only has to walk through an empty department store during a weekday to know that the problem runs far deeper—an uncertain global economy and piles of items that are too expensive for their quality and too unoriginal in their style (that then go on sale 40% off within months) has left a rather dour feeling to the designer floors, which I do not believe even schedule changes can remedy. Where are the clothes we want to buy? For me, at least, they appear to be in 1972—a time when Vogue was still confident to give real pronouncements about "a total look", but one that was wearable and feminine at the same time.
Editorial by Richard Avedon for Vogue, September 1972.
[Vogue's] point of of view on the look of today for a woman of today: the kinds of clothes that suit her life and, most important of all this season, how we see these clothes being worn—with what hat, what makeup, what glove, shoe, bangle, et cetera—the total look is here. We also expect this is an issue you will want to shop from. Not necessarily for any one particular thing we show, but for the idea of these clothes—the mood—the attitude—the whole racy, casual new turn of fashion they stand for, of which ease is the essence... And by ease we mean: nothing hard, no sharp contrasts, no chopped-up colors. There is softness to whatever you're going to be in this season—a softness to the tailoring—a softness and warmth to the textures—a softness to the natural, neutral all-of-a-tone colorings. Everything goes together—or nothing goes. In the best sense of the word, it is a total look—casual but definite... very turned-out. It's in the rolling up of a sleeve and the rolling down of a glove... in the turning back of a cuff and the look of shirt collar coming out of a dress or jacket... in the putting-together of a soft brown felt hat with a beige cashmere muffler, an amber earring, a brown suede envelope bag... being all of a tone is the key.
The essence of ease... in a dress.
Small, shirty, unwaisted—a new take on a dress, from Oscar de la Renta, in heathery beige cashmere with a muffler to match and a gamut of browns head to toe... More than a different way to look in a dress, a different way to feel: totally relaxed, very sharp, like being in pants—it has that kind of little raciness. It's what all fashion is about... Of Agnona fabric, about $260.
New cut of hair and well-defined makeup, toned for day...
With this year's softness, ease, all-of-a-tone coloring, you need the punch of vivid makeup, the lift of shorter hair.... Hair that always clears the collar—it has swing, fullness, shine. And a part—on the side or in the center. At night, it can be held with sparkly barrettes; for day, loose casual, the way it is here... The look of a frankly made up face for day: makeup with color that's all of a tone, but the kind of glowing, vibrant tones that put emphasis where you want it most—on your cheeks, your eyes, your mouth. Here, everything gleams in warm, russety, tawny shades: a basically beige foundation shined with Russet Pear blusher; smudgy, shimmery Cinnamon brown shadow for eyes; the mouth lined and colored with Little Red Russet—all of which come from Revlon's new Little Foxes collection. The ivory-and-brown cashmere sweater, Bonnie Cashin for The Knittery, $55.
... and well-defined makeup, contrasted at night
You could be in something black or sequinned... pale or brilliant... in candlelight or artificial light. But the one thing you're always going to want is a really spectacular makeup at night, one that's intense, emphatic—your face holds its own. And you do it all with contrast: deep color against pale skin—eyes defined, mouth defined. The point, made beautifully here: creamy, ivory foundation with Shining Red Rouge across the forehead, high on the cheeks... dark, finger-smudged Blue Smoke shadow and Petal Blue liner for the eyes, with shimmery white to open everything up... mascara on top lashes, bottom lashes... the wettest, shiniest mouth, finger-painted that way from a little pot of Norell Red lipstick... nails in the same scarlet shade. All from Ultima II by Charles Revson. Coifs by Ara Gallant.
The essence of ease... in a big-evening dress
The offhand luxe of a shirt and skirt for the biggest evening of the season—Bill Blass's dolman-sleeved overblouse in muted bronzes and greens and long pleated black georgette skirt. It's the kind of dress that doesn't take wearing—and it doesn't wear you. Which holds for any and every big evening dress now, for the attitude of ease running through everything... it's the way you're going to look—and look marvelous—at night. Overblouse of viscose; silk skirt.
Ease is a suit that's like being in separates... a shirty dress over a turtleneck
The casual suit by Kasper for Joan Leslie: all soft greys—tattersall cashmere jacket, ribby angora pull, satiny shirt and stock, flannel pleats. Shirt of Qiana nylon; skirt in J.P. Stevens wool loomed in America. About $260.
The dress over a sweater from Geoffey Beene: toasty tweed, unwaisted, with a shirt collar, dropped shirtsleeves—and a white wool turtleneck underneath. (Putting it over a sweater or shirt is one of the things that eases a dress into this year's casual mood.) Worsted tweed by Meyer Woolens loomed in America. About $275.
Ease is a coat that wraps and ties... in tweed, in fur
The coat this year—you pull it around, tie the belt, put anything and everything underneath—it's the raciest way you can possibly be in a coat... The tweed wrap-and-tie—Originala's, designed by Ilie Wacs, in brown-and-beige herringbone double-faced with cream. Everything about it roomy and ample—big botched collar, big patch pockets, raglan sleeves—but nothing overpowering. That's what makes it so completely offhand—that, and the way you wear it: a soft hat way down on the head, soft shirt collar pulled out. Coat, of wool and spun rayon, about $345.
The camel mink wrap-and-tie Givenchy's done for Alixandre—the luxe-iest polo coat you could bundle yourself into, and perfect with all the other toasty textures and camel tones around—cashmere shirt and pants, knitty rolled-down gloves. Camel-dyed Saga mink from Scandinavia.
Ease is a blouson jacket, a chopped coat... in fur
Reiss & Fabrizio does the jacket of the year in spotted mink—the blouson getting it all together in a wonderful suit look. All in tones of brown with white... from the pinstripe shirt collar sticking out to the herringbone tweed skirt striped tights, Argyle socks. Natural Finn Jaguar mink.
The chopped coat is it over pants—and Calvin Klein's is russet fox, notch-collared, wrapped and tied with russet suede over russety everything esle. By Calvin Klein for B. Geller, in dyed Norwegian blue fox. Wool wants, about $44.
Ease is a raincoat that's actually a raincoat
Any raincoat worth it's waterproofing looks like just what it is these days: a raincoat. Nothing else. Nothing but. Except a lot of natural dash... Donald Brook's fur-lined smock, warm and cozy enough to beat all kinds of weather—the chopped raincoat for pants turned out with a creamy wool jersey shirt, handknit grey-and-white sweater, pants in grey-and-white Glen plaid. Plus soft hat, soft muffler, soft knitted gloves rolled down... the whole look very natural, very easy. Cotton poplin by Tandler Textiles; worsted plaid by Meyer Woolens.
The perfect trenchcoat—Ralph Lauren's in natural cotton poplin. Strapped shoulders, strapped sleeves—everything about it sharp and classic, including the way it's worn: soft tweed hat, Shetland wool jacket and knit vest, button-down Oxford shirt, wool flannel pants. Coat, about $145; jacket, about $165; vest, about $32; shirt, about $20; pants, about $55.
What you need, Calvin Klein has—that easy little pants suit for all those easy little evenings—a brown velvet safari jacket (softness itself and somehow more dégagé than ever in velvet), matching pants, a creamy flannel shirt and stock. Crompton cotton velveteen suit, about $130; Viyella flannel shirt and stock of wool and cotton, about $40.
Ease is the softness of brown...
Bill Blass's wrap-and-tie fur for Revillon: brown sealskin with a big, notched sable collar—just what you want day or night with anything from tweed pants to a velvet dress. Fouke-processed Matara Alaska fur seal and natural Russian sable.
Printed velvet pants suit from Ben Reig, all in tones of tortoise and knockout for nights when nothing's a big production: velvet shirt jacket, wide velvet pants, the surprise of bareness underneath—a black matte jersey halter, open front and back. In rayon, about $495.
Ease is the softness of brown velvet at night
Malcolm Starr's fur-trimmed velvet dinner suit: a bare-arm dress and a simple little cardigan with lots of silky brown fox—the whole thing soft and casual as being in a sweater and skirt. Of rayon velvet and dyed Norwegian fox. About $345.