There was a luxe trashiness to many of the collections for fall that's curious when everyone is in survival mode. Between Alexander Wang in New York, Pucci in Milan, Balmain and Givenchy in Paris, I was left with a distinct morning-after feeling. But why, especially now, would you want to wear a mini-dress the size of a postage stamp that makes you look like a street walker? I suppose it would get you noticed.
This is the cutting edge of fashion, the thing that's making magazine editors giddy. And there were more measured takes on the tough chic look -- black leather leggings worn with a long boyfriend blazer, the black leather bustier or bomber jacket. I guess if nothing else, sex always sells.
Other designers leaned on their heritage (Burberry's checks, Missoni's layered knits, Ralph Lauren's manor style and Chanel's Barbie-like kits of Madame's iconic accessories), or the heritage of others (Balenciaga's ode to Yves Saint Laurent), offering the kind of tweedy coats, cozy sweaters and pretty evening looks that store buyers were referring to as "investment pieces."
There was a lot to wear: Prada's earthen-hued skirt suits, Michael Kors, Narciso Rodriguez and Marc Jacobs' sportswear classics with flashes of neon, Lanvin's elegant, bias cuts, the everyday jackets and pants at DKNY, Derek Lam, Etro, Dries Van Noten, Chloe, YSL and Stella McCartney.
Now we just have to wait and see if anyone's going to buy. Here, a rundown of the season's top trends:
Most likely to already be hanging in your closet: A black leather jacket. If not, they were everywhere, the best with a subtle, studded collar at Yves Saint Laurent.
Outta my way: Power dressing manifested itself in strong shoulders, leg o' mutton sleeves and one-sleeved dresses.
Sandals aren't just for summer anymore: If it's cold, wear them with tights. If it's slushy, try the season's other big footwear trend, over-the-knee boots.
To shop for at the vintage stores: Anything 1980s, especially long boyfriend blazers in geometric prints and sparkly mini-dresses.
New "it" color, besides black, that is: Jade green as seen at Chanel and Louis Vuitton. Wear it sparingly or risk looking like a leprechaun.
If money is no object: Go for the Michael Jackson look at Balmain, the crystal-studded jackets and disco mini-dresses. Or buy the real thing at the Jackson memorabilia auction in Beverly Hills next month.
Most dubious trend: Capes, especially Marc Jacobs' neon, crossing-guard versions.
Trend that refuses to go away: Leggings. For a newer look, try high-waisted, pleated and peg-legged pants.
Trend we thought would never come back: Exposed bras, as seen at Balenciaga and Miu Miu.
Most timeless trend: Classical draping, as seen at Balenciaga, Viktor & Rolf, Versace, Bottega Veneta, Derek Lam and Donna Karan.
Most ingenious invention: Lanvin's knit-backed fur stoles, which can be pulled down over jackets, sweaters or coats.
Most annoying beauty habit: Hair crimping, which was responsible for at least one late runway show start.
Recession, what recession? Nadia Swarovski, sixth-generation member of the Swarovski family, which has built an empire by supplying crystals to fashion designers, sprinkled fairy dust on nearly every runway collection. She is the season's biggest winner.