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Friday, July 31st 2009

Function is Fashion: Zippers Do Double Duty This Fall


Fashion vs. function is an endless debate. Will those covetable 5” booties make me fall head-over-heels both figuratively and literally? Is it really wise to wear that string bikini in strong ocean waves? (I can testify that no, indeed, it isn’t.) But luckily, sometimes the sartorial stars allow fashion and function to align. Enter exposed zippers. Useful or purely decorative, the trend spotted on last spring’s runways is exploding for fall.

We all look for timeless styles with a modern spin, and zippers provide that fresh angle. A little black dress takes an of-the-moment turn with double zips adorning the front (as in this dress by Geren Ford), or with a zippered belt cinching the waist (like this cowl-neck Helmut Lang dress). And in the hands of Current/Elliott, this fastening sharpens up the classic pencil skirt.

Sure, zippers can be all-out edgy, but designers known for their femininity play the adornment against type with ruffles and rosettes. Zippers and chains temper a sweet shift by Nanette Lepore, while Catherine Malandrino uses them to make a ladylike knee-length frock really pop, and Juicy Couture’s princess goes punk with its Ruffle Zip Cardigan.

On the other hand, accessories make it easy to just nibble on a trend, and zippered shoes, bags, and jewelry are a way to make the look your own by pairing it with your signature pieces. I’d add the above Bop Bijoux bracelet to my usual wristful of bangles, or carry any one of the new Alexander Wang bags to add interest on lazy tee-and-jeans days.


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