Preview 2009 - Fashion

Doc Martens

Doc Martens

In fashion

Kirstin Innes hops in her time machine and goes back to school for the spring and summer trends

For years now, predicting the upcoming season’s trends has been a matter of guessing which decade of the 20th century we’ll be nicking our looks from. Mini dresses and go-go boots? Flares? Flares again? Flares on men?

All this rifling through the dressing up box of the past might seem arbitrary, but with hindsight, there’s some logic to it. Just after the millennium, facing the uncertainties of a new century and various international crises – 9/11, Iraq – fashion retreated to the surety of the 1950s, with demure prom dresses and old school glamour. As we got into the swagger of the decade, with our unregulated market, our iPhones and disposable incomes, it’s no coincidence that the razzle dazzle of the worst of 1980s fashion – pixie boots and aggressive mullets, shoulder pads and blazers – began to resurface, mirroring the greed-is-good ethos that has, eventually, landed us all in this mess again.

So, what now? That noise you hear, that sort of whomp whomp, is the fashion TARDIS battling the mists of time to take us back to (dum dum DUM) … the 1990s.

Yeah, I know. It’s not filling you with joy for the fashion year ahead, is it? Us either, to be honest but it’s not as ropey as you may think. We’re not talking about the end of the decade, with its khakis, combat pants and bloated, corporate music. As ever with this retro-future stuff, it’s about recreating an idea of a time, through small trends. Much of the early to mid-1990s was spent trying to escape from a recession. The spring/summer 2009 catwalks (seen in autumn 2008) took two distinct approaches to the impending economic crisis. The first was pared-down, sober and neutral, as exemplified at Dries Van Noten at Paris Fashion Week: simple layers, tucked-in t-shirts with long cardigans, low V-necks, monochrome, sporting a lone, striking accessory. No fuss. It’s essentially what the people too rich or too old for grunge were wearing at the time.

The second happened all over London Fashion Week: the clothes stayed pared down, but the colours got bright. To be ahead of the trends this year think of how exciting it felt when grunge gave way to the joyousness of Britpop – you’re 15 again, and hey, Blur just got back together! – and dress accordingly. The It girls of the season, however irritating you might find them, are Londoners: Pixie Geldof for her footwear and attitude, Agyness Deyn for her striking reds and blacks, and her boldness.

As far as trends go: sorry the pashmina and ballet pump crowd, but delicate footwear is out. Solid black, chunky, stomping. The sort of shoe that could weather a night sitting on park benches drinking cider, a snogging session behind a tree and still give Mandy Mitchell a dirty look because she totally said something about your mum. Chunky oxford brogues, massive platform heels and, of course, Doc Martens – which all popped up at the end of last season. Look out for another run on Converse baseball boots too when/if the weather clears up. Enjoy.

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