The New Yorker is like that person at a party who's simultaneously the most plugged-in and the least plugged-in. They know everything about the ultra-obscure, ultra-interesting topics that you find yourself repeating during the next three dinner parties you attend. And yet, they might have never heard of Rihanna ("Like Rhiannon? The Celtish goddess?"). The literary magazine moves at its own pace and sets its own agenda, but always spotlights those subjects most worthy of examination.
Or, re-examination, as was the case with the epic profile of Eileen Fisher in the magazine's latest fashion issue. Titled "Nobody's Looking At You," the Janet Malcolm-penned feature made us stop and consider the contemporary brand for the first time in a long, long time. Examining the clothes that "look as if they were flung on rather than anxiously selected," the piece talked about the brand as a mainstay among the older, don't-notice-me set whose favorite colors are commonly found in breakfast foods (oatmeal, wheat, cream). That is, Eileen Fisher has the reputation of skewing a little matronly, if not downright dowdy. At best, it's a line of uncomplicated clothing that helps its wearer blend in; at worst, it's a wardrobe suited for Sister Mary if she got a job working admin at a middle school.
However, getting caught beneath the glare of that aforementioned spotlight might have brought on a little self-examination. Without abandoning its nonchalant, effortless M.O., the brand has updated its offerings, which it now presents with a moody, dramatic lookbook showcasing leather jackets, sheer sweaters, and silken jumpsuits. It's much more your speed than your grade school Principal's. And, Eileen's in good company. When it comes to brands reinventing to stay with the times, it's among names like Ann Taylor, Abercrombie, and Kenzo, to name a few. Click through to see the new collection, and actually see Eileen Fisher — possibly for the first time.