A Stitch in Time

How to redefine global luxury in this difficult economic climate

Sometimes change blows into fashion at unexpected moments. Back in September, just as the stock market began to plunge, fashion designers, journalists and buyers were taking in the fall 2009 runway shows in Paris and trying to rationalize what they were seeing. Even at its most frivolous, fashion always reflects the moment, so how would designers interpret the collapsing Dow and skyrocketing unemployment? Clarity came for me at Junya Watanabe's poetic show, a tribute to African style expressed in hand-blocked prints paired with recycled-denim skirts. As the first model appeared, a hush of recognition settled over the audience. It was a...

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