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Fashion Weak, Fashion Bleak: Part One

Beauty Buzz

Steven Salazar, a designer extraordinaire for Confident Clothing, brings his expertise and biting wit together to critique the latest fashions and beauty trends.


Fashion Weak, Fashion Bleak: Part One
–Steven Salazar, Designer, Confident Clothing


The Fall 2003 Fashion Week may mark the fall of fashion altogether. For years now, designers have been trying to recreate the past with little success. It is much like Hollywood; the sequel is never as good as the original.

The undoubtedly offensive words of a renowned designer, who will remain unnamed, are bouncing around in my head with the sheer force of a wrecking ball. The unnamed designer implied that his generation; including the likes of Pierre Cardin, Christian Dior, and Yves Saint Laurant; inveted all modern silhouettes. I am now beginning to realize just how truthful this may be.

Do We Really Need to Go Another Round?

Truth be known, many designers are known for their “look” and have constructed quite a following based on their signature. I do not criticize the desire to design the same collection year after year to keep the masses walking in the door; these are just designers who did nothing of note. Among the designers who just cannot get off their own merry go round are Anna Sui and her overuse of purple. Betsy Johnson is boring. You can use playful whimsy to cover up lackluster talent for only so long. However, I will admit, it is the playful flirtation that keeps customers coming back for more.

Calvin Klein rolled out a collection he could have designed blind! Could it be the fact that he was busy negotiating at $430 million dollar deal to sell his firm to Philips-Van Heusen? Yes, that is the same Philips-Van Heusen who also owns Van Heusen, Geoffrey Bean, DKNY, Izod, Izod Club, and G.H. Bass. Donna Karan may have started a corporate trend by her recent sale of the Donna Karan label to French conglomerate LVMH. Rumor has it that Mr. Klein closed the deal minutes prior to the runway show. DKNY, Dian von Furstenburg, Kenneth Cole, Narcisco Rodriguez, Oscar de la Renta, Tommy Hilfiger and Vera Wang were all absolutely boring with nothing to report.

Better Luck Next Time

At the Anne Klein show, it looked as though designer Charles Nolan spilled a bottle of Burgundy all over everything. Nearly every outfit had something that was the shade of red wine, mostly in the form of panty hose. There was one truly awe inspiring moment: a luscious fur coat with a 1940s inspired collar cinched at the waist with a perfectly wide black belt. I was so flawlessly executed; I nearly lost consciousness. Talk about a black belt in fashion!

I am always inspired by something created by Max Azria of bcbg, if not the entire collection. The collection that bcbg released was nothing short of a huge disappointment. Some or the layered outfits just looked sloppy. Dresses he designed seemed to have been done haphazardly. The cohesion he is known for was missing.

Although, Badgley Mishka frequently used a beautiful shade of lavender with silvery accents, the collection as a whole did not work. Viewing their collection was like visiting the 1920s art deco scene and taking a time machine for a quick jaunt through the 1940s and 1950s. Speaking of nostalgia, Behnaz Sarafpour’s collection appeared as though it walked off the Christian Dior runways of years past. Carolina Herrera’s collection deviated little from years past, although her liberal use of satin was a nice touch.

The Marc by Marc Jacobs collection reminded me of a bad trip of Bohemia gone mad by way of LSD. You can always count on Matthew Williamson to do something very out of the ordinary. However, his collection named “Bubblegum Superstar”, for his liberal use of hot pink, became quite a sticky situation. Most of his garments brought back the nostalgic feelings of grandma’s crocheted blankets with hot pink thrown in at so many inappropriate moments. Michael Kors left a bittersweet taste in my mouth. Within the collection was an oversized denim jacket which nearly made me go blind. It was so hideous. However, I need to mention the very tasty men’s sheer plunging v-neckline pullover shirt. I must say though, I am confused as to which excited me more, the pullover or the tantalizing pecs hiding within the shadows which happened to be attached to a deliciously fine specimen of male model.

Zac Posen, one of fashion’s young protégés, clearly formulated his collection using a recipe of Versace meets Prada meets Gucci. Onward, I do not even know where to begin, but looking forward to the end of Imitation of Christ. The show was a literally a circus, complete with stilt walkers and trapeze artists, which took nearly seven bottles of Grey Goose to survive. The clothing paraded down the dirt floor of Manhattan’s Pier 63. A few models rode horses, sidesaddle, down the runway. There were military overtones and a very drab gray knit which just hung on the bodies of the models. The highlight was a beautiful pink chiffon dress that faded to watermelon at the hem and had a watermelon sash. The show ended literally with a performance by the fat lady.

Winner’s Circle

Nicolas Ghesquiere for Balenciaga scored big with buttery leather boots that disappeared into the heights of mid-thigh hemlines. He achieved interesting variations of the aviator’s jacket which where cropped at the waistline. Donna Karan is back to her brilliant roots of divinely inspired body caressing clothing. She ingeniously incorporated stylized metal rings, some of which seemed to be fused to the fabric, into her garments.

Marc Jacobs (not to be confused with The Marc by Marc Jacobs) was nothing short of brilliant! It was 1960s go-go funk-a-licious! The use of color was so fantastic with purples mixed with oranges and most everything in between. There was a shade of periwinkle that nearly brought tears to my eyes! The garments themselves were a fun and playful return to the time of sexy space-traveling bombshells!

For her new collection, Nicole Miller, had a very cute gray dress withy midriff gathers on the side front of the princess seam. The hemline had a beautiful petal shape filled in with satin. And lastly, on show of great note was Peter Som. I really have never been a big fan of his. This collection, however, nearly made me wet my pants.

Fur, fur, fur was everywhere. It was on shoulders as short pointed sleeves with longer sleeves emerging, it was thrown across the chest, it was tied around the neck, it was transformed into a breathtaking vest, and it was even lapels. Also in the collection, was a pewter dress with a twisted bust line and pin-tucks cascading from the center front just below the waist, which wrapped around the hip. It was such satisfaction I nearly needed a cigarette after.

There you have it, the beginning of Fall 2003. After reading this I realized, it isn’t the that everyone is looking to years past for inspiration to create new collections that annoys me so, it is whether they use that information to distill their ideas into something new and fresh to inspire us all! Please be sure to return next week for more updates for Fall 2003 Fashion Week. (Source:

Other News

In quite a shift of power, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals has teamed up with designers Gaelyn and Cianfarani to create an animal friendly clothing collection. The collection was designed using latex imported from England, which reportedly has a feel much like that of silk, and recycled tire tubes, which after being processed can imitate the feel and look of leather. The rubber, remarkably, did look like leather. I am concerned however with the properties of these materials. They do not breath! I am interested to learn how they fair on hot, humid New York City streets or in hot, humid New York City nightclubs. (Source:


New Products

A new product of note is Steve Madden’s Hijoo. It is a brilliantly redesigned construction worker boot. He has taken the boot, pointed the toe and given it about a five-inch heel. It is enough to make me weep. Please don’t miss it at


-Steven Salarazar – Designer, Confident Clothing


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