NYFW 2011: Trend Alert – The Hemline Index


NYFW: Hemline Index

Okay, so it’s only Day Two of New York Fashion Week, but I’ve noticed an early trend bubbling up (or should I say down): Long skirts. Way long. As in grazing the ankle and maybe, if you’re lucky, rising just high enough to allow for a little glimpse of the lower calf.

Legend has it that women’s hemlines are predictors of the national economy, and as skirt lengths rise, so too, do our financial prospects. Lowered hems, on the other hand, traditionally equate to a sinking economy. I don’t put much stock in the Hemline Index (which was conceived back in the 1920s by the economist George Taylor), but I couldn’t help but notice a common thread among six of the seven women’s collections I’ve seen over the last two days. The aesthetics may have been wildly different from show to show, but they all had one thing in common: skirts that were long, longer, longest.

There were glamorous “day dresses” at Nima that literally pooled at the models’ feet. Tadashi Shoji sent out a collection of exquisitely embellished gowns that cascaded to the ground and, in several cases, trailed several yards behind the wearer. Vena Cava sent out a few minis, but the majority of their ‘90s-inspired skirts and dresses reached from the low calf to just above the ankle, while Wayne sheathed her girls in sleek skirts that were so long and lean they resembled tubes. Mara Hoffman went a more boho route (think: graphic-patterned maxis that would make Talitha Getty proud). Even Global Glam, the presentation showcasing W Hotels’ Fashion Next designers, featured more long lengths than short.

What this means for the economy, I can’t say. But if this trend shapes up the way I think it might, we’ll all be saving on razor blades and waxing come fall.

Lauren David Peden has been hired by Rue La La for her reporting at New York Fashion Week.

February 14, 2011