The World of Fashion

March 22, 1985

Report Outline
Fashion Comeback
Cycles of Style
Market Worries

Fashion Comeback

Renewed American Interest in High Style

Fashion is not dead. Only a decade ago it was fashionable, so to speak, to predict that the dictates of haute couture designers would be swept aside by blue-jean-clad masses insistent on “doing their own thing.” Instead, as the baby-boomers moved from the classroom toward the board room, they were swept up in the “dress for success” movement. And as the Pepsi generation became the Yuppie generation, many of its members began to pursue clean-cut style with a vengeance.

The survival of fashion does not mean its world is unchanged. American women no longer adapt their tastes or distort their bodies in response to the biannual pronouncements of Paris couturiers. European haute couture has been making a comeback in the last few years, aided by the strong American dollar. But there are no fashion dictators today—no Chanel, no Dior—to lay down the law on cut or hemline length. Most couturiers now support their high-fashion activities with ready-to-wear lines. All eyes no longer turn to Paris for the latest styles, either; Milan, London and Tokyo also have emerged as fashion centers.

Foreign design is no longer the focus for many American women anyway. They have come to rely on home-grown talents—Calvin Klein, Geoffrey Beene, Bill Blass and Liz Claiborne, to name a few—for fashion direction. While the top designers still have their exclusive and expensive lines, most have produced moderately priced lines to meet the needs and demands of style-conscious working women. One of the most significant events in this trend was the decision by high-society designer Halston to create a line for the J. C. Penney chain. While some industry analysts hail the new availability of fashions for the masses, others worry about an over-saturation of designer products that could cause them to lose their prestige.

ISSUE TRACKER for Related Reports
Cosmetics and Fashion
Apr. 15, 2005  Cosmetic Surgery
Mar. 22, 1985  The World of Fashion
Apr. 14, 1971  Fashion World
Jun. 17, 1964  Cosmetic Safeguards
Jul. 13, 1960  Beauty Business
Aug. 06, 1958  Business of Fashion
Exports and Imports
Popular Culture
Retail Trade