"Fierce" is out, "Prune" is in

9.11.2008

By Noah Michelson

Photo: Getty Images

It's one thing to have to conceptualize, fabricate, and market all of the pieces that are paraded down the catwalks, but it's quite another to have to describe them without sounding outdated, cliche, or just plain stupid. This is exactly the tricky dilemma faced by journalists, stylists, and designers every day, especially during Fashion Week when they're practically drowning in new looks. Leave it to fashion guru Tim Gunn to, as always, have the perfect word for everything:

"'Cool' to me is dated, whereas 'chic' is not," Gunn told Reuters. Gunn believes shows like Project Runway have not only made fashion accessible to the previously less clued-in masses, but have also given people a vocabulary with which to discuss it. Kathryn Finney, author of The Budget Fashionista blog, agrees. "Fashion is undergoing major changes right now, in terms of
who the gatekeepers are," she said. "The new 'new media' is
having an impact. Granted, (Vogue editor) Anna Wintour is still
Anna Wintour, but she's not the be all and end all any more."

Among some of the new phrases poised to capture the hearts and tongues of the fashion forward, designer Ashleigh Verrier is betting on "diaphonous," and Marc Bouwer suggested "Glamit," saying "It is so gorgeous and
glamorous. You don't want to use cliched words." Thuy Diep likes to use "prune" to describe a garment that is poorly sewn. "We say 'What a prune' when we see a garment that looks like a shriveled-up prune because the fabric's
all wrinkly and ripply," she said.

Of course, there will always be those adjectives that probably never should have been allowed to strut the runway in the first place. Take for example "fierce." Of the most popular catchphrase to be exploited on Project Runway, other than his own "Make it work," Gunn says, "When it comes
to the more popular culture
aspects of it, people saying 'fierce' and whatever, I figure that comes
and goes." As it should. "Fierce" was fun for a millisecond back in 1992, but Christian Siriano should have known better than to trot it out again when Tyra Banks had already clubbed the term to death several years earlier.

-- NOAH MICHELSON

Tags: Truman Says
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