Black is back as labels wear the financial crisis on their sleeves

In keeping with economic trends, some designers have toned things down at Paris fashion week, while others are forging ahead with colour. Paul Smith, Alber Elbaz and Franck Boclet tell us how they found inspiration in the global crisis.


The economic downturn left the fashion world in low spirits. Luxury companies, however, have now lifted the taboo. At this year’s fashion week in Paris, everyone is talking about the financial crisis, and fashion designers say they have delved deep into the economic turmoil to find their inspiration. The general tone is dark and sober, while all things ostentatious are being shoved to the back of the wardrobe. Givenchy and Boss, for instance, chose black.

However, austerity and sobriety aren’t the absolute must of fashion designers in times of trouble. “I wanted to avoid the grey or black suit, something of a cliché in times of economic crisis,” says Franck Boclet, designer for Emanuel Ungaro in an interview on the Haute Couture programme on FRANCE 24.


British designer Paul Smith and Alber Elbaz, artistic director for Lanvin, both agree. For Elbaz, it’s important to carry on dreaming and desiring even in times of crisis.


“I think the crisis has some positive effects,” says Eric Dalbin, director of the Dalbin label, who organizes events for fashion giants such as Vuitton, Cartier, Dior and Gaultier. “We have seen some pretty lavish parties in the past. The crisis makes us think, and value creativity. A very big budget doesn’t mean you’ll be creative.”

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