Escapist Fantasy or Depression Era Chic?

Vogue's Fashion and Features Editor Sally Singer talked to NPR about the trends dominating the runways at New York Fashion Week. "We've seen people playing it very safe, but we've also seen shows that are about making a fun statement on the runway." It's a microcosm of what's going on in the fashion industry in general: "it's a difference between presenting luxury for luxury's sake... designers should think hard when they do that," and "style as a place where you can be exuberant, where you can be creative, you can be talented, you can be interesting." As for recession-driven trends beyond Bryant Park, Singer says she's found women sporting men's wear on the streets in New York especially exciting. "I've thought it's so funny to see girls in menswear... I thought, 'Oh my god, they're wearing their banker boyfriend's clothes'. He's not going to work and she's wearing his clothes. It looks adorable." As for Michelle Obama (Vogue's cover model this month), Singer says while she may not be significantly influencing designers, she has the potential to have a "profound influence on American consumers." In other words, the theory that she's a 'one-woman bailout for the fashion industry' isn't so far off.