While looking at the spring 08 shows, it really hit me hard that contemporary fashion designers are taught to recycle. Sometimes they simply recycle their own label, as this years Calvin Klein designers reworked the minimalism of the '97 collection (I heard from a little bird in the archive) and Nicolas Ghesquière's of Balenciaga drew heavily from their own textile archive as well as the design principles of Cristobal Balenciaga (albeit very successfully and in a non derivative way). Many designers however pull heavily from fashion and art history. Although this does show that at least formally many contemporary designers know their elders it has begun to feel a little heavy and uninspired (as in the case of CK) than it does refreshing and inspired (something Ghesquière's achieves by updating Balenciaga's design philosophy to contemporary shapes and structures.)
The world of fashion has a short memory, but fashion critics shouldn't.