The tents are up. The shows have begun. Fashion Week is under way. But economic prosperity is not. Yet again. “This is a season that is going to make or break a lot of people,” senior vice-president of IMG Fashion Fern Mallis tells Bloomberg. Retailers like Neiman Marcus have been cutting orders by as much as 25 percent. They’re clamoring for lower prices. Designers are working harder than ever to create pieces women don’t already have, so they have a reason to go out and shop. Anna Wintour hopes Fashion’s Night Out, which kicks off tonight in over 700 stores across the city, will jump-start that effort. We wonder how many non-industry people know and are excited about Fashion’s Night Out. But everyone really should go, because if you put forth even a small effort to go to something you’re pretty much guaranteed a sighting of a celebrity in the wild and a free cocktail. Actually, tonight should be the easiest night to get drunk for free all year: If you look at the FNO calendar, it’s hard to find a store that isn’t handing out free booze. Perhaps they figure when you’re drunk, you’re more likely to spend money recklessly.
But come spring, when Fashion’s Night Out is no longer still going on, designers plan to get you into stores by making clothes that you don’t currently own trendy. For the spring 2010 season, according to Neiman Marcus senior VP and fashion director Ken Downing, we will see a lot of blue (which goes nicely with a blue economy). Shades will vary from navy to turquoise to pale powder blue. We should also see “shorter and full flirty skirts and long and draped sleeves to be worn during the day as well as for cocktail parties.” Also expect variations on animal and floral prints. This season will bring an influx of relaxed pants, which makes tons of sense because the fashion industry can’t have you wearing all those leggings you spent thousands of dollars on this season again next season. No! We have to spend thousands of dollars on pants that come in entirely new shapes. But! Though we’re about as cheap as they come and loathe being forced to spend money, this is excellent news! For it sounds like bottoms are back. Pants for the win!