New Trends? Why Not Go Into 2019 Just The Way You Are...
There is a growing attitude, to quote the words of fictional romcom cutie Mark Darcy, to accept oneself “just as you are”
In an extraordinary turn of events, my husband and I went out for dinner on New Year’s Eve (we have a 19-month-old daughter, which generally excuses us from having to be sociable).
I wore a favourite top by Isa Arfen: bright blue, off the shoulder, crinkled taffeta in a sort of layered smock shape. Quite Fergie circa 1986, which I am all for. Sometimes, I reasoned to myself, it’s a good thing to actually try to look like a fashion editor is supposed to. Ergo: fashionable. My husband smiled at me in that way that I know I’ll need to wait for the punchline before he can let it go.
Anyhoo, having spent the Christmas period in what I like to think of as lounge casuals I decided to spruce up a bit. The thing is, though, often — husbands not necessarily included — an outfit can backfire on you when you least expect it. I thought of this as I caught my reflection the other day on a trip to my local low-cost supermarket. In the window staring pale-faced at me, was my messy hair backed up on top of my head, swaddling puffer coat, black leggings off-set by chunky trainers.
In an affluent suburb, I could try to pass this off as the height of fashion (should my leggings be new season Chanel, my puffer Moncler and my trainers Balenciaga). But in this grey concrete retail park, any style irony was lost. Here, I was just a tired woman schlepping a couple of super-sized bags of nappies home, squinting through a shop window to see if there were any good shoes in (there were, Gucci! But in a size 36, which I am not).
At this time of year, these pages tend to be full of predictions and ideas, which you might like to implement to try to make yourself into a better person. Given the annual drubbing that is the “new year, new you” movement, I’m perhaps not the only one who has noted that none of these positive affirmations of fitness, health and veganism seem to have stuck past any other January... There is a growing attitude, to quote the words of fictional romcom cutie Mark Darcy, to accept oneself “just as you are”.
Which admittedly doesn’t leave a fashion writer with much in the way of new trends to talk about, but it is perhaps a decent underlying base with which to take flighty new ideas into account. Will any of the below assist you to stay just as you are? The thing is, as with my leggings, sometimes a change of location is as good as a change of outfit.
Kate Moss’s Turban
When it comes to turning unlikely items into style stalwarts, the woman has form. See Ugg boots, skinny jeans and the colour yellow, which has stayed on mood boards since she wore a flighty vintage dress in the hue in 2003. Over the festive period she was spotted keeping her model head warm with a black turban, worn with a below-the-knee teddy-ish coat with outsize pockets (another au courant thing) and knee-high green wellies. Context is so often key.
A turban worn while skirting around a riad is one thing but popped on during an English countryside jaunt is a signal of intent. Forget beanies, forget giant straw hats or hairbands, the turban will be the more nuanced offering for considered headwear this year. I’m personally conflicted as I wasn’t planning on entering my Grey Gardens period for another decade, but sometimes you just can’t stop progress. I’ll also let you in on a high street source of interest: H&M are doing them for small children. Tempting.
I’ve long harboured a dream that one day, I shall step foot on to the Smoky Mountains and enter what for me may just be the true promised land: Dollywood. You may not feel strongly about the singer, and that’s fine, but this year she will be ever present. Beyond a rumoured sequel to her 1980 movie 9 to 5 (average film, excellent song) she celebrates her 50th year in the Grand Ole Opry — the standard for country music. In October there will be a week-long tribute. Before that, there will be build up. If I have another, newer, life dream, it is to own this Gucci tracksuit honouring her likeness.
Last year the app reached a billion users, yet perhaps you have still managed in your wisdom to avoid it. Smart. I have latterly installed a function on my phone which only allows me one hour on social media a day. Sad, I know. But like all popular movements — culottes, Tamagotchis and Cheryl Cole — once interest has peaked, it often starts to wane. The app itself is unlikely to go anywhere just yet (can Kim Kardashian’s 124 million followers all be wrong?) but attitudes towards it are changing. The grubby business of “influencer”, whereby popular folk position themselves as a sort of human billboard, salivating over whichever handbag, sanitary, toothpaste or crisp brand has paid them to, is moving into tricky territory. Users have stopped buying into their cheesy captions and brands are questioning how many real followers these people actually have (fake news permeates all).
The murky world of declaring whether something is an #Ad or not is becoming no less opaque. There is one British fashion editor who is said to be coining in £15,000 a post without framing them as sponsored projections. But alongside this, there is a feeling that the “instagrammability” of a place or thing is becoming, in that most damning of modern parlance, basic. To pose in front of a jaunty brand-made backdrop, to share an image of your breakfast, to offer nothing more than your own narcissistic bent is swiftly becoming passé.
Coral or Black?
My grandmother (96 years young) is always very keen to know what colour is “in” this year. But like most things, it’s often subjective. The Pantone Institute is pushing for the rather specific “Living Coral” to seduce us. See Jennifer Lopez in a slightly sudden head-to-toe embodiment and decide if you’re convinced. Whilst fashion watchers, including my friend Lucie Greene, who heads up JWT’s future division (a sort of trend soothsayer, if you will) is backing black. There was much more evidence of this on the spring/summer catwalks than coral and I’ve noted a shift among women of my acquaintance reaching for it more and more. I suppose it lands at how you see the world. Does uncertainty call for the sombre or the sunny?
The Kitsch Cover Up
No, it’s not a back catalogue look from Laura Ashley, but a fervently It girl appreciated label du jour called Batsheva. The designs are indeed inspired by Mrs Ashley in her heyday, a look that took off last summer and is set to continue this year. The demure dress, high of neck, low of calf, and worn with a wink is thriving.
I think that tie-dye has come back around now so many times that we mustn’t cloud it in dodgy Seventies references or poor humour. I like it, you may shudder at the thought, but it falls into the “authentic” movement, whereby people are looking for homespun, original, one-of-a-kind designs. That most of these T-shirts will inevitably be mass-produced by the high street “interpreting” designer versions is an irony that may get lost along the way. Still, great for those who spill.
— The Daily Telegraph