When they stage their fashion shows for the next season, many of these "borrowed" ideas will be evident on the runway. Since top designer fashions are affordable compared to couture creations, the splash they make extends beyond fashion insiders and society ladies who lunch.  The results will be seen in boutiques along Fifth Avenue and Rodeo Drive, and hopefully for the designer, on the red carpet leading to the Oscars. These trends, with an exposure amplified from their couture origins, are trickled down to the designers on the next rung down, the "bridge level."

Bridge level designers include the likes of Linda Allard for Ellen Tracy, Adrienne Vittadini, and Nicole Miller.  As the price points get lower and the names get more familiar, the trends these designers show are literally interpretations of the original ideas sparked a year or more after they were first seen in Paris. These designs are seen in many department stores and therefore by more people. The more exposure, the more validity is has.  The more validity, the more likely increasing numbers of fashionistas will jump on the bandwagon.

The prices get lower again and the time frame continues to grow as these trends trickle down again to the "better market" tier that includes Liz Claiborne, CK by Calvin Klein and Chaps by Ralph Lauren. We are not done yet; the same process repeats on the next rung comprised on department store private label merchandise and large manufactures like Levi Strauss.  One more season, one more interpretation, and they find their way into Target and Wal-Mart.

Yes, it may be a full two years after the fact; yes, it may be made of a synthetic fabric and yes, it may be mass produced in a sweat shop in an underdeveloped third world country, but the fact is: nothing would be hanging in the Big Kmart if there weren't an exquisitely crafted one of a kind couture creation to inspire it.

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