Clotheslines by Marylou Luther

     Q Dear Marylou:  I bought one of the new full skirts, but now that cold weather has hit, I don’t have a jacket that works with it.  But I do have a coat that accommodates the skirt’s fullness, so all is not lost.  Any jacket ideas?__ E.Q., Hogansville, GA.

 Bolero - Geoffrey Beene

      Dear E.Q.:  Yes, the bolero, or any jacket that stops above the waist.  While the original Spanish version is matadorable, today’s boleros are not usually decorated and epauletted.  The late, great Geoffrey Beene made the bolero his design signature, often pairing it with jumpsuits (another big trend).  The bolero in his illustration here is from the designer’s 2003 collection, when I described it as “the one jacket with 2003 written all over it.”  Beene told me he considered this version, inspired by Magritte, one of the best things he ever designed.  So did his countless imitators.  It was constructed with only one seam under the sleeve.  To suggest a bird in flight, he hung it from invisible wires to float above the other mannequins in his Manhattan studio.

                                illustration by Geoffrey Beene


     Q  Dear Marylou:  In your column listing designers inspired by artists, you did not say who inspired Rick Owens’ sculptured pillow forms.  Can you find out?__ N.N., Kent, OH.

       Dear N.N.:   Picasso!  You know, the artist who de-formed the human form, and transformed familiar shapes into new never-before-seen shapes.  Just like Owens did in his spring collection.
         To me, this phenomenon is the perfect example of Demna Gvasalia’s credo to make the ordinary extraordinary.  Now all that remains is Will It Sell?  Stay tuned.


     Q  Dear Marylou:   You wrote about transformable fashion from New York.  Which spring collection in Europe offered the most transformable clothes?__ H.Y., New York, NY.

        Dear H.Y.:   Japanese designer Jun Takahashi of Undercover, who shows his collections in Paris, wins, hands down.  All the clothes on his spring runway were presented as twos and all were reversible.  The ones on the right revealed the underside of the ones on the left.  The range included dresses that reversed from solid to print, from dots to solids, coats with one side leather and one side a yellow knit, pajamas that went from print to print (one side a Cindy Sherman-inspired  face print, the other side a Sherman lip print) and tuxedos that reversed from black to white.  And more!



     Q  Dear Marylou:  What spring runway trend surprised you most?__ B.R., Denver, CO.

       Dear B.R.:   Two things:  Shorts and the preponderance of minis.  It is definitely a season for leg-baring—and thigh baring.  The new short circuit is an electrifying presence—from men’s satin boxers at Louis Vuitton by Nicolas Ghesquiere to casual day-and-night shorts at Olivier Theyskens, to not-so-casual shorts for dressy evenings at Dries Van Noten.  
         When both Karl Lagerfeld for Chanel and Ralph Lauren show minis, you know something is up—way up!



  (Marylou welcomes questions for use in this column, but regrets she cannot answer mail personally.  Send your questions to


 ©2018, International Fashion Syndicate


      Marylou Luther, editor of the International Fashion Syndicate, writes the  award-winning Clotheslines column, a question-and-answer fashion advice feature read weekly by more than 5 million.

   In addition to her syndicated newspaper column, Luther is the creative director of The Fashion Group International, a non-profit organization for the dissemination of information on fashion, beauty and related fields.  Her twice-yearly audio-visual overviews of the New York, London, Milan and Paris ready-to-wear shows are must-seeing/reading for industry leaders. Her coverage of the European collections appears in newspapers throughout the U.S.

   The former fashion editor of The Los Angeles Times, Chicago Tribune and Des Moines Register is biographied in “Who’s Who in America.”  She won the Council of Fashion Designers of America’s coveted Eugenia Sheppard  award for fashion journalism, the Women in Communications award and, in 2004, the Accessories Council’s Marylou Luther Award for Fashion Journalism, which will be given every year in her name.

  Her essays have appeared in “The Rudi Gernreich Book”, “Thierry Mugler: Fashion, Fetish, Fantasy”, “The Color of Fashion”, “Todd Oldham Without Boundaries” and “Yeohlee: Work.” A book with Geoffrey Beene was published in September, 2005. A graduate of the University of Nebraska, where she received the prestigious Alumni Achievement award, Luther is a member of Phi Beta Kappa, Kappa Tau Alpha, Theta Sigma Phi and Gamma Phi Beta.