By Juliet Warkentin, WGSN
Some very interesting developments as our crunch goes on…

The Power of Women
Powerful, iconic women have been making headlines recently, not only with their ability to inspire new generations as role models (Hilary Clinton, Christiane Amanpour) and fashionistas (Michelle Obama, Carla Bruni), but also through a growing awareness that the 21st-century workplace will be far better served if it taps into its feminine side: Experts cite female characteristics such as ‘discipline, focus, detachment, and systematic thinking, together with playfulness, empathy, and design‘ as the key to management success. From a retail point of view, women hold the decision-making power for many products, making it vital for marketers and brands to connect with them. In recessionary times it makes even more sense to focus on the group that holds the purse strings.

The Wisdom of Age
In a world that has idolised youth for decades, ’age‘ is little more than a dirty word. But as the economy gets tougher and as Baby Boomers get older, the concept of ’experience‘ is acquiring a new relevance and energy. To get the best from the benefits of age is more than learning lessons from the past — it’s about applying experience to new ideas and concepts.

Opposites Attract
An adverse reaction is often the birth of a new trend. This trend could be termed the “baglash” – a movement against the now de rigeur It bags and conspicuous consumption – and in it’s place, a humbler design approach to luxury that’s all about understated perfection and unconscious simplicity. For the modern consumer, the placement of a perfect seam or an immaculately sculpted collar is more awe-inspiring and authentic than any logo. That’s not to say we’ve forsaken glamour entirely. But rather than OTT branding, the flip-side of this modest trend is about bold, dramatic gestures that tell a story. Look to bygone fashion icons such as Iris Apfel and Diana Vreeland: eccentric and headline-grabbing in their styling, yes, but always true to themselves.

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