Fashion changes every season, but the concept of "trendy" always remains. Comfortable knitwear was the preferred trend for women in the 1920s, just as black-and-white contrast pieces flew off the shelves last season. And changes in fashion's whims can be quite dramatic: in Europe, for example, the color yellow used to be associated with heretics—no one would be caught dead wearing it. Then, in the 18th century, growing interest in Chinese culture suddenly made yellow—a color associated with the Emperor—en vogue.
But what makes something popular, and how do trends emerge? Visitors to the Fashion Institute of Technology in New York can ponder these questions while examining the evolution of trends through 250 years in a new exhibit, "Trend-ology." The show features over 100 objects, including glamorous ensembles by Oscar de la Renta, Chanel, Rodarte, Versace, Louis Vuitton and Christian Dior.
"You can think of trends like physics," Emma McClendon, one of the exhibit curators told the New York Daily News. "For every action there is an equal and opposite reaction." The bold colors, jewelry and exaggerated shapes of the 1980s evolved into the minimalist silhouettes and color palettes of the '90s. The straightforward dresses of the early 1940s were succeeded by the overtly feminine shapes of Dior's post-war "New Look." The exhibit, organized in reverse chronology, guides visitors through these shifts, asking fashionistas to contemplate how the trends of today were influenced by fashions from decades before.