The Future of Women's Fashion

Y Panelists Given the economic volatility of the last 18 months it's a nebulous topic indeed, but on Wednesday night panelists at the 92nd Street Y attempted to predict the direction of women's fashion. "Exciting," "democratic" and "fetishistic" were the respective responses of Ashley Olsen (former actress and current designer of the Row and Elizabeth & James), Robin Givhan (Washington Post fashion columnist) and Isaac Mizrahi (fashion veteran, creative director for Liz Claiborne and co-host of Bravo's "The Fashion Show").

Hosted by Glamour editor in chief, Cindi Leive, the night was full of revelations, mostly from Mizrahi, who told about the time he cast a stripper in one of his runway shows and who also divulged that soon he'll be hawking his wares (from clothes and accessories to cheesecakes!) on QVC.

The group discussed everything from undernourished models (hateful and wrong but ultimately effective)  to "The Michelle Obama Effect" (replete with jokes about glimpsing "First Thighs" and "First Cleavage") to trends they wish would disappear (some said the 80's, others wouldn't deign to comment) .

The biggest crowd pleaser came when Robin Givhan defended fashionable women everywhere by stating that "People condescend to fashion because it's a women's industry.  No one would ever say that spending thousands of dollars for football season tickets is a waste of time and shallow and ridiculous, but a woman willing to spend $25,000 or $5,000 on a dress is just being pretty."  A justification it may be but one that will surely have a life beyond Wednesday night's event.