2005 looks set to be a wild fashion ride as designers agree to disagree and plunder far-flung parts of the globe in the quest for inspiration.
While some designers have headed to Africa for safari jackets and a tribal look, others have opted for an Asian stopover.
Classical Greece, Hollywood circa 1940, 1970s London, and the American Wild West have all proved to be inspiring places
for the class of 2005. It is Imperial Russia, however, that is shaping up as the inspiration of the year. Designers are
looking to this bygone empire for aristocratic opulence and pre-revolutionary peasant chic.
For all the new, the 2004 reign of the ladylike seems set to continue. The spring 2005 fashion runway shows were once
again dominated by ruffles, frills, flowers and lace, with whisper-weight, flowing fabrics omnipresent.
The penchant for pretty and feminine has again transplanted itself from the runway to the red carpet. With the awards season under
way, Hollywoods' best and brightest are doing their best to dazzle. As in 2004, this year is seeing femininity and
glamour ruling the carpet. Joely Richardson ("Nip/Tuck") sought to cement her place as a showbiz princess (she is from
the famed Redgrave acting dynasty) by wearing a gown once worn by the twentieth century's epitome of femininity and
glamour - the late Princess Diana. Also going for the princess look were Emmy Rossum (star of "Phantom of the Opera")
in white Ralph Lauren and Portia Di Rossi ("Arrested Development") in white Valantino.
While there is no serious challenger to the sweet, pretty, and flirtatious aesthetic, 2005 is serving up some tempering influences.
Watch out for dark glam establishing itself opposite corner to the prim ladylike glamour in 2005. There is a decidedly
gothic undertone arising. Marc Jacob's neoGoth collection sparked at a great deal of interest in New York. In 2005,
black is definitely back on the red carpet. At the Golden Globes it staged a mini comeback, with many stars opting
for the perennial safety of black. Renee Zellweger showed why their will always be a place for the LBD in a strapless
Carolina Herrera 1950s inspired dress. Deborah Messing was more goth than retro in her choice of black.
2005 is also the year that androgyny is making a comeback. However, you will still be able to tell the boys from the girls -
this is an androgyny tempered by an unambiguous femininity. Designers' fascinations with masculine elements are really only
lending an edge to collections full of femininity. On the London catwalks the tomboy trend was seen in pieces like a
chunky knit sweater wrapped with a black tuxedo bow belt, wide-leg trousers cropped mid-calf, and bright checked men's
shirts revamped with feminine blousy sleeves. Paul Smith is another designer playing with gender this year. Smith, set
his bookish girls in slim two-button blazers, argyle sweaters, fedora hats and plaid knickers turned up at the knee.
Tempering this look was loose flowing hair and hippie elements, including shift dresses, pleated plaid skirts and earth-goddess
caftans, and ethnic embroidery.
Modifying the 2004 prim look, is the re-emergence of the boho look. Feel free to play with American folk, hippy and gypsy looks in
your quest for thrift store chic. Before you get too carried away with your homage to retro-styling, it is important
that you know that compared with the junked-up, granny's-attic fashions of a couple years ago, this season's take on
bohemian style is more sophisticated. 2005 boho is controlled and pretty.
While the gowns continued their celebration of all that is feminine, so too did the hair. If you have had your straightening irons
on standby waiting for the waved hair fad to pass, then 2005 is not to be your year.
Big bouncy and glamorous hair is the buzz for this year. It's on the catwalks (Versace, Chanel and Michael Kors all previewed the
look on the spring/summer catwalks); it's in pop videos (Kylie Minogue is already bouffant); it's on the red carpets
(Angelina Jolie showed up to London premiere of "Alexander" with a voluminous mane and the Desperate Housewives showed
that bigger is better when it comes to hair at this year's Golden Globes; it's on the big screen (Kate Beckinsdale
wears it in "The Aviator"); and on the television (in the words of one commentator "big hair is to "Desperate Housewives"
what Manolos were to "Sex and the City""). In New York, blow-dry bars are springing up in the hippest of neighborhoods
to cater for the new voluminous look.
If big hair induces frightening eighties flashbacks, you may want to opt for a more natural look. The natural look, a perfect
pairing with bohemian chic clothing, has appeared on the runways with seemingly haphazard and touseled tresses. The secret to
getting this look right, however, is not taking the trend too literally. Like all good hair, this style starts with a great
cut and actually requires maintenance. By all means, embrace your hair's natural texture and flow, but remember that nature
looks it best when given a little helping hand. Natalie Portman opted for this boho chic look at this years Globes, and earned
a big thumbs up from many for her billowing tank dress with black beaded cummerbund and loose curls.
The 2004 awards season saw a return of old Hollywood glamour. This year seems a continuation of the trend. Minnie Driver and
Diane Kruger both went for good old-fashioned glamour with their hair if not there clothing. But, it was Scarlett Johnasson
channeling Marilyn Monroe and who looked every bit the blonde bombshell who was the standout in the vintage Hollywood stakes.
2005 also leaves you no hair to hide behind, with a clear trend for hair to be softly drawn away from the face. Nicole Kidman, in a
bright Gucci gown complete with peacock feather elected to keep her hair and makeup sweet and simple. Kidman's naturally curly
hair seemed effortlessly pulled back, with an effect that was all chic glamour. Hilary Swank, however, kept thing even simpler
with a style straight from her high school yearbook - a ponytail.
Although not really seen on the red carpet the other big hair trend of 2005 are disconnected asymmetric cuts. Watch out for extreme
angles on a sidewalk near you. Blunt edges are cropping up in the most unexpected places, with very little to no blending taking place.
There is no denying this is an edgy trend and probably best avoided by the shrinking violets among us. Try taming these styles down with an
asymmetric cut (one side is longer than the other). The angle of the cut can range from a gentle slope to a plummet.
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