Uncovering the fashion trends

June 17, 1992|By Gwen Salley-Schoen | Gwen Salley-Schoen,McClatchy News Service

Ever wonder why hemlines rise and fall, necklines shift from high to low, backs are exposed one season then covered the next? It is quite amazing when you think about it, that every designer seems to shift design lines at precisely the same time. It's almost as though they had a meeting and talked it over.

If you ask a designer how they all manage to make a change simultaneously, he or she will just say the time seemed right.

There really is no mystery involved. In the industry, it's called the shifting erogenous zone of fashion. Here's how it works:

Each season designers unveil a part of the anatomy that we haven't seen in a long time. Some seasons it's cleavage. Other times it's knees, backs or navels. The purpose is to shake consumers up and make them pay attention. Everybody knows what navels look like -- goodness knows, we see enough of them at the beach every year -- but uncover one at the office and everyone thinks you're starting a new career.

At the same time designers uncover something, they cover up the zone that's been exposed for a while. The idea is, that by keeping something under wraps for a time, it becomes more mysterious and therefore more exciting when it is suddenly uncovered.

Fashion has made these swings, from covered to uncovered, since Eve found her first fig leaf. One of the masters at the game is Calvin Klein. He's been toying with buttoned and unbuttoned jeans, tight jeans, baggy jeans. He's raised and dropped hemlines, covered and uncovered breasts for as long as he's been in business.

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