News / 

The staying power of the "simple black dress"

Save Story
Leer en espaƱol

Estimated read time: 3-4 minutes

This archived news story is available only for your personal, non-commercial use. Information in the story may be outdated or superseded by additional information. Reading or replaying the story in its archived form does not constitute a republication of the story.

Hamburg (dpa) - As the fashion houses of Europe and the U.S. present their latest collections, many will surely note how the glitz and glamour of previous years has in 2005 gradually been replaced by a trend towards simplicity, elegance and understatement.

A case in point is designer Miuccia Prada, who said shortly after the presentation of his winter 2005-06 collection: "You can hardly believe how much work we put into it, and then what comes out is a simple black dress."

That fashion staple, one of legendary designer Coco Chanel's signature pieces, is proving a winner again this season, with Prada's collection leading the way.

Black dresses are basking on the runways of designers Veronique Branquinho, Paco Rabanne and Boss. Other top fashion houses have produced versions in darker tones such as violet (Celine and Gianfranco Ferre), grey (Bottega Veneta and Ralph Lauren) and glass bottle green (Yves Saint Laurent).

The dresses are a clear sign that after years of clothes laden with ornamentation, embroidery, patterns inspired by folk art and the flea market look, solid fabrics are back in vogue.

It's almost to be expected given that constant change is one of the fundamental laws of the fashion world. And obviously, many people have grown tired of the opulent look of past years.

Despite its more simple look, the new restraint isn't boring. There's a subtly luxurious side to it. Some of the trendy fabrics have a light shimmer. Even better are beautiful fabrics that have the quality of light cashmere, soft leather (made into a bomber jacket in the style of the movie "The Aviator") or gleaming silk (Zac Posens' sexy evening dress with flounces).

Thanks to the clear baseline of the styles, they are more suited to creating a strong flowing effect than the decorated pieces of previous seasons. Tailored wool coats and chic capes are replacing fur jackets.

Decorative elements aren't disappearing completely. They are, however, being placed on more strategically. Fur is being used as trim on jackets, while decorative beads are being used as eye- catchers around coat collars.

And because a variety of loose, swinging skirts have broken the dominance of pants, the fashions look more reserved and more feminine.

Designers appear to be concentrating on the essentials: Well- tailored, wearable and at the same time elegant clothing. That will also be the case early in 2006. Hand-made features such as embroidery, fine lace and similar elements will still play a role, but will be used sparingly. Ornaments that look cheap are out this season.

There's more than just a change of mood behind the latest trends. At a well-attended recent Berlin meeting of the European Fashion Institute with the theme, many pointed to evidence that fashion consumers of the future simply want to buy good and discreet products.

No designers with huge logos that seldom fulfil what they promise. The simple black dress has defeated the street-wise silk top. The rustic leather purse has driven out the one made of crocodile skin with gold clasps.

Glamour that flakes off after a few days isn't in demand. What consumers would rather have is a soft and consistent glow - the sheen of quality.

Copyright 2005 dpa Deutsche Presse-Agentur GmbH

Most recent News stories


Get informative articles and interesting stories delivered to your inbox weekly. Subscribe to the Trending 5.
By subscribing, you acknowledge and agree to's Terms of Use and Privacy Policy.

KSL Weather Forecast