a dark forecast for fall fashion.

From left: Ports 1961, Ports 1961, Victoria Beckham, Marc Jacobs, Jen Kao, Diesel Black Gold, Araks.

Are American fashion designers depressed? Not likely. But, judging by the predominant colors from the Fall 2010 collections at New York Fashion Week, one might start to wonder; this year the runways were downright dark. After the first two days of shows, the omnipresence of dark garments — be it cotton, fur, leather, or wool — left me wondering if the current economic climate hadn’t affected both the designers’ bottom line and their source for inspiration. Fall’s fashion forecast looks promising, with clothes that are highly fashionable but realistically wearable and intended to sell.

Perhaps it’s a sign of our times — people are distressed and counting pennies, there’s less risk taking in the air. So it’s not surprising that we’re seeing these signs translate to the runway; black is completely appropriate and timely. After all, it’s conducive to brooding, and it masks those extra pounds we’ve gained courtesy of emotional overeating. Plus, dark garments have transformative powers. The second you throw on something black, you’re instantly fashionable and magically stand two inches taller. Right? It’s true. And the designers? They know it, too.

Naturally, I can’t wait for the day when the phrase “in these economic times” is obsolete. But, I think it’s safe to assume that we are allaffected — designers included (they need to survive) – by the downturn. And therefore, it’s logical to see collections that are designed to sell. Hey, black is forever hip — Johnny Cash, Elvis, Joan Jett. And as Morrissey put it, “I wear black on the outside, because black is how I feel on the inside.” I can work with that for now.

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