What’s Old Is New
On a recent rainy weekend while visiting my parents in their new retirement home I got to perusing old family photo albums and coffee table books that were now accessible after decades of being hidden in plain sight in the home I grew up in. One of the books, “America: A Day in the Life,” I had bought my parents as a Christmas gift nearly 25 years ago. The picture book captures May 2, 1986, depicting what everyday life was like across our country. One photograph in particular caught my attention—that of an 18-year-old Battle Creek, MI, girl standing in her bedroom getting ready for school. Clothes are strewn about an unmade bed, and on the floor are three shoe styles: a lone boat shoe and pairs of cut-out flats and Keds sneakers, both in white. It struck me instantly: Almost 25 years to the day that photo was taken, these three styles are as relevant now as they were back then.
For the countless styles that come and go in the blink of a season, there are those precious few that withstand the test of time and become classics. Converse Chucks, Birkenstock sandals and Timberland’s wheat boot are a few. And there are far more silhouettes ushered in each season with a myriad of brand names attached to their familiar shapes. Fittingly, this month’s fashion story, “Catch the Color Wave” (p. 30), revisits designers’ favorite decadal muse, the ’70s, with saturated jewel tones awash on platform pumps and sky-high heels. We’ve seen it all before, but revisiting the classics from time to time can reignite the love affair as well as entice a new generation of consumers.
This month’s Special Report, “You Heard It Here First” (p.8) delves further into the ’70s revival that’s expected to be strong for Spring ’12. Chunky silhouettes—wedges and platforms with wooden heels, as well as the new “flatform” (a flat on a platform last)—are designed to balance two of the season’s expected leading apparel trends: wide-leg pants and jumpsuits. Designers are also revisiting the Grunge era of the early ’90s. Military boots and platform oxfords pair well with the season’s slouchy proportions and cutoffs. The classic Dr. Martens 1460 boot should also be in the mix.
Another classic being reintroduced this spring is Kalso Earth. Gary Champion, president of Earth Inc. and the subject of this month’s Q&A (p. 10), discusses how the famous negative heel construction (developed 40 years ago by yoga instructor Anne Kalso) has been upgraded and repositioned as a premium wellness brand that’s good for the mind, body and soul. [Note: no claims of weight loss.] While the negative heel now ranks as a classic, the jury is most definitely out on whether any toning and shaping styles will one day reach such legendary status. Perhaps, 25 years from now, we can all revisit that question.