Salut from Paris, where I’ll be covering the Women’s Ready-to-Wear Fall 2008 collections all week for this blog.

If you don’t follow the twice-yearly marathon that is Fashion Week (there are actually four consecutive fashion weeks—New York, London, Milan, and then Paris), allow me to set the mood of this season and recap what we’ve seen so far. Umm, okay, the truth is, it isn’t easy to sum up the mood yet, before Paris, which is when the major ideas emerge and things start to gel. Fashion director Stacey Jones flew in from Milan last night, and we tried to hash out what we’ve seen at the shows so far. Here’s what we came up with:

If there’s a common thread, it may be “streamlined and subdued shapes. Less skin-baring and more structure, avant-garde, clean lines, and mannish tailoring,” says Stacey.

Calvin Klein and Jil Sander are good examples of this.

I liked Calvin Klein. Especially the strong shoulders, the sequins, and all the men’s ties. As Stacey pointed out, it will be great from an editorial standpoint—she’s already thinking of how the model will pose when she shoots it. (She demonstrated, putting her feet at shoulder width and tilting down her chin. “Like this,” she said, with her hands on her hips.)

Stacey and I thought Prada was interesting, with the subversive all-over lace that was like spider webbing for the body.

Versace is one of our favorite shows yet. If you haven’t checked in on the brand in a while, you’ll be surprised. It’s insanely beautiful.

My friend had a great comment that the Marc Jacobs show was like a Magic Eye portrait. Such is her faith in the designer that she looked at it all morning on after the show, waiting for the moment where SHE GOT IT. (It came in a flash, on the fifth viewing, and then went away again, never to return.) I don’t know if I get it, but I also keep coming back to it. There’s something intriguing in the long shapes, the tricorne hats, and Star Wars headbands. I’m open to the idea that I may soon love it, even if I don’t get it immediately.

Stacey and I liked Ralph Lauren, particularly some of the big plaid jackets with tight black pants. Like a lot of fashion lovers, I really admire the Olsen twins and think they have a great aesthetic. They also truly know what suits their bodies, but that is a term paper for another day. Right now, I would like to draw a parallel between this hallmark Olsen look, from when they first debuted their grown-up chicness, and this look from Ralph Lauren Fall 2008.

You see the similarity? It also reminds me of the Ruben Toledo illustration that is on the wall at Nordstrom at the Grand street entrance. Big coat, tiny pants. We’re fans of this look, non?

As for the plaid trend, which merrily along, Stacey is already planning a story for next season, something mixing plaid and prints and feathers.

The grand prize for my favorite show so far this year (I feel like I’m giving out an Oscar), goes to a dark horse: Rodarte. I always enjoy looking at the dresses at Ikram, almost as pieces of art, but not exactly as something I covet for myself. This season, that’s not true. I’m coveting it all. And though I can’t afford it, I’ll be taking inspiration from a lot of these looks.

That’s my roundup. Don’t you worry; we’ll get a more cohesive vision for fall this week. We are in Paris after all. Major league time!


Photography: Courtesy of