How to reclaim East Coast chic

The unpredictability of New York fashion is truly the epitome of Atlantic coastal chic. Photographer Zeba Blay of Ramapo University said, “It’s both eclectic and classic. New Yorkers are very much like Londoners in that their style looks more effortless than forced, as it is on the West Coast.”

One of the most shocking realizations, when coming to the College, was the fact that my high school experience was stylistically atypical. While I was configuring McGyver-like plans to sneak into the tents at Bryant Park during New York City’s Fashion Week, other high schools were obsessing over the unpolished fashions of MTV’s “Laguna Beach.”

The idea that high-waisted pencil skirts, platform pumps and the exoticism of a leopard print are on the verge of collegiate extinction while being replaced with deconstructed mini-skirts, double-popped collared polos and Ugg boots is style devolution.

A “CSI” (concerned stylish individual) said to me, “The fact that you look like a (Hollister) mannequin does not equate to you having style.” It is true. Has the imitation of the widely publicized “SoCal” style surpassed the point of flattery and overtaken the effortless complexity of East Coast chic?

With that said, although many may have made the mistake of trying to apply Southern California style rules to the fall/winter season, spring has just opened its gracious doors to more attempts, more risks and more fierceness. Here are some designers to keep in mind when the spring wardrobe cleaning commences:


Alexander McQueen spring/summer 2008

Toward the end of his spring/summer 2008 runway presentation, Alexander McQueen sent out a quartet of stomping, barefoot, sopping wet male models in black suits, as if they were returning from a ceremonial banquet for Ariel and the constituency of Atlantis. The cut of the suits kept up with the lopsided ideals he had in mind for menswear this spring. McQueen opted for an ankle-cut skinny legged pant, in denims, polka dots and slate grays each paired with an array of smoking jackets, slouchy knits and trenches whose indifference to the body seconded the notion that the mixing of proportions is one trend that deserves attention this spring – the tug of war between ’80s skintight tendencies and ’90s grunge.

“Marc” by Marc Jacobs spring/summer 2008

At “Marc” by Marc Jacobs, a quirky collegiate-inspired collection was presented. Showing an array of mid-thigh shorts (reminiscent of Andre from the second season of Bravo’s hit show “Project Runway”) paired with suit jackets and Ivy League-fitting knit wear led us to rightfully believe that Marc Jacobs was once again pushing boundaries. The outerwear in the show had an odd preppy twist as well. Blue and yellow-saturated trench coats sent a convincing message that A-game outerwear is a must. Marc Jacobs is known for his ability to add just enough spin to the ordinary to make a powerful statement about where fashion is headed. For this spring, he favored color blotting and asymmetry in his knits. One extremely impressive cardigan was cleverly hidden behind a pseudo-crew neck silhouette.


Proenza Schouler spring/summer 2008

Lazaro Hernandez and Jack McCollough have cemented themselves at the front line of up-and-coming New York fashion designers. Sending a high-strutting Jessica Stam down the narrow runway in a multi-pleated mini skirt with an engulfing yellow driving coat belted to perfection, Lazaro and Jack made clear the power of the thin belt. Throughout the entire collection the monotony of volume was chicly offset by the slimming belt. These two visionaries would obviously not object to the new adage: “When in doubt, belt it out.”

Marc Jacobs spring/summer 2008

Last spring Stefano Pilati, creative director of Yves Saint Laurent, had all the ladies daring to strut in his stunning five-inch platform pumps, and this season the dominating shoe rests in Marc Jacobs’s court. His off-the-wall Dr. Seuss-on-acid approach to the shoe, at first glance, looks like an intense Photoshop project, but when the double-takes are made it screams fashion. Aside from his innovative shoes, his heavy hand on fantasy put the fun back in fashion. From his floral-printed hospital-style (because the backs were out) dresses, to his completely see-through trousers paired with lace capes, everything was a culmination of risks.

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