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Lusting for Leather by Kelsie Pelletier

The type of cool exhibited below 14th Street is entirely its own breed. The quintessential downtown girl, swathed in leather and a smattering of studs, can beat you up in her Balmain. And you’ll like it. For her, a night on the town calls for a vintage fringed leather jacket, thrifted boots, and a generous helping of attitude. Tough accents carry an outfit from middle America to the cobblestone streets of SoHo. This September when Marc Jacobs explained the logic behind his Spring 2010 collection as being the opposite of this rock and roll style, it made these usually chic downtown girls stop and wonder. An arbiter of fashion in ways topped by few other style personalities, what Marc Jacobs says affects the ways we dress ourselves and perceive “good” taste. Marc Jacobs’ show was a change of pace. Inspired, if not just a bit too opulent. Ruffles upon ruffles topped gowns of silk and taffeta in a color palette more conducive to brunch on the Upper East Side than a latenight downtown romp. We can marvel at his construction, at his patience in creating gowns that appear to be wearable works of art, and at the sheer feat of creating a 52-look collection. However, when it comes to relevance, Jacobs missed the mark. He offered opulence when we needed practicality, sophistication when the look de rigueur is biker chic. Other designers, however, weren’t as ready as Jacobs to abandon the downtown leather and studs look. Erin Wasson x RVCA sent out models in leather pants, layered necklaces, and studded seventies-inspired denim, worthy of any young fashionista’s lust. Charlotte Ronson, in her eponymous line, catered to the downtown clientele with grey and black pieces piled on, including a standout hooded bodysuit with pewter studs

adorning the arms and waist. Phillip Lim, too, embraced the tougher side while maintaining his upscale aesthetic. His dresses, with their whirling combination of pleats, sequins, and leather, could easily transition from day to night, and can also find relevance both above and below 14th Street. Showing that leather wasn’t just for those of us who prefer to be cloaked in black, Alexander Wang channeled vintage American sports culture and created looks with accents of camel-colored leather. His leather shorts, which were almost the exact color of a well-worn football, are sure to make an appearance on It girls around the city. Jacobs singled himself out. Taking a stand for sophistication, his collection was immaculate. But only time will tell if Jacobs has truly made an impact. This winter, before a night on the town, we’ll see just how many girls reach for ruffles and leave their beat-up leather jackets at home.

Erin Wasson: The ripped leat her skinny jean s at Erin Wasson x RVCA. Alexander Wan g: Wang’s camel le ather shorts rede fine classic American sports wear. Marc Jacobs: Inaccessible op ulen

ce at Marc Jaco

bs. Charlotte Ronso n: Do downtown bold with Charl otte Ronson’s studded hooded bodysuit.


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