2008 ended on a blistering note. As the year came to a close, pangs of uncertainty underscored every conversation. Retail was reeling from deep discounts (Saks, Bergdorf and everywhere else), runway shows were being shuttered (Vera Wang, Marc Bouwer), and companies began closing their doors (Tracey Ross, Kira Plastinina). There’s no denying that we’re living in an unprecedented period. The economy is not as flushed as it has been in recent times and the carefree living we’ve come to accept is no longer so carefree. But I must say among my network, the general forecast is optimistic. They are optimistic not because they have the magic formula to weather the storm, but because they accept the challenge to get creative in these times. They anticipate working differently (harder, smarter mostly), spending free time productively (staying at home working on creative projects is one effort I’m hearing about a lot) and switching up the shopping (let’s say accessories will be replenished but no big shopping sprees planned). And let’s face it; sometimes things can be a lot more fun when times are not so easy. For my part, I’m attacking the year with a vengeance. I will continue to travel like a maniac to bring you the first hand word of pulsing global style. I will shop, though more prudently than in recent seasons. And I will remain excited about the newness of in fashion. Are you with me?