The eurotrash overflow pouring out of the front door of Prada's SoHo store at midnight on a Tuesday while the store's display windows shivered with the thump-thump of whatever the DJs Mac Book was "spinning," can only mean one thing: It's fashion week in New York! And thankfully, since it's Friday, the whole thing is drawing to a close. But though the shows are over, the fashion industry has left an indelible glitter stain on the most unlikely of places: The English language.
Industry observers say the language of fashion is changing thanks to fashion blogs and reality television, where shows like "Project Runway" have popularized fashion terms. Now, competition is high to attain originality and avoid cliches.
Tim Gunn [of Project Runway] said "on trend" was more in vogue now than "trendy" and that he dislikes "modern" to describe a new look. He said the TV show helped make the fashion vernacular accessible to a larger audience who now have "a vocabulary to talk about fashion."
But some slang adjectives were likely flash-in-the-pans, he said, such as 'fierce' — popularized by a previous winner of the show, Christian Siriano, after being used by former model and television host Tyra Banks.
Thank God someone at Reuters officially attributed "fierce" to Tyra Banks instead of to Christian Siriano and his dying Flock Of Seagulls hairstyle. I'm sure Tyra's staff is hard at work right now making that long-overdue attribution into wallpaper for the next ANTM contestants' loft.
Still, "fierce" is tired. So not on trend. Apparently, fashion insiders have appropriated new, different words to describe clothes now. And the good news is, the definitions of these words are completely irrelevant to the people using them!
Designer Ashleigh Verrier said her favorite fashion word was "diaphanous" — an adjective characterizing fineness of texture. "As in, 'That dress is so diaphanous!'" she said.
"I like 'Glamit'," said fashion designer Marc Bouwer, who uses the term for a fashion line. "It is so gorgeous and glamorous. You don't want to use cliched words."
Designer Thuy Diep said "prune" was popular within her fashion crew to express disapproval."We say 'What a prune' when we see a garment that is sewn poorly and looks like a shriveled-up prune because the fabric's all wrinkly and ripply," she said.
"Prune" is at least evocative. But "diaphanous" actually means something other than "amazing" when you're talking about clothes. As for "Glamit," that sounds like dishwasher detergent.
Still, if designers and stylists can just re-appropriate words or make up terms to (unsuccessfully) describe clothes, so can I. Here are a few of the best (read: most unwearable) designs show at Fashion Week, along with some new fashion buzzwords I just made up.
"Clothes don't get more emulsifabulous than this Calvin Klein number! It's all, 'Studebaker?' and the world is like, 'Um, rash!'"
"What a hutch! This Galliano ensemble is all mushknees, but in the best possible way."
"OMG! Soooo, soooo cereal."
"Phillip Lim's jacket is tres loquacious, while the shorts are oh so glampossible."
"There's only one word to describe this Michael Kors dress: SUGARAPE!"