Identity Crisis: From Party Paupers to Vagabond Princesses, Designers Play Around with Mixed Messages

Fashion's idea of relaxed glamour has been a funny theme that continues to evolve and change from season to season. But it seems that this latest crop of shows revealed perhaps the most interesting display of contradictions. Perhaps it's the crappy economy making everyone feel a little sheepish about being too flashy, or maybe it's just the latest development in luxury's more understated demeanor.
No matter, we're totally intrigued by the series of extreme mixed messages: camp/couture (Ralph Lauren), country/cotillion (Marc Jacobs), or urban/boho (Yigal Azrouël). Sometimes it worked, and sometimes it didn't. Perhaps the best mixed messages were a little quieter, as with Christopher Bailey's collection for Burberry where barn coats topped sequined dresses and laid-back knits and leggings were finished off with a drape of sexy satin. So what if some designers can't make up their mind. Half the time, neither can we.