2010 preview: Fashion
Kirstin Innes sees some bad omens for the coming decade in fashion
Fashion, with its strictly observed seasons marked by the various equinoxes of London/New York/Paris/Milan Fashion Weeks, is a cyclical beast. It likes to understand a decade as a fixed unit of time with a distinctive identity, defined sharply against its predecessor. Therefore, the 1960s were all about sharp, miniskirted, swinging London mods; a more relaxed style of flicky frizzy hair and floppy flares took over in the 1970s, to be immediately superseded by the sharp (again) colours, aggressive shoulders and extensive mulleting of the 1980s. By the 1990s, everything had relaxed again, into a baggy sludge of boxy shirts and combat trousers.
Of course, these are the broadest of generalisations, with very little relevance to anyone’s actual experience of those decades, but these are the stories fashion likes to tell itself.
The decade just past (are we calling it the Noughts? The Noughties?) is already being carved up and restructured by fashion historians, in the form of the endless reviews of the decade every glossy fashion magazine worth its perfume ads has just done. The likes of Vogue and Elle will tell you we all spent the last ten years sporting an aggressive, leathery rock’n’roll look inspired by The Strokes and their skinny jeans (conveniently ignoring the proliferation of Trinny and Susannah-inspired bootcut flares that dominated 2000–2004). They’ll also say that between the leggings, high-tops and shoulder pads, we were mostly in thrall to the boom’n’bust ballsiness of the 1980s.
But there’s a recession on now, just as there was almost exactly 20 years ago, and all the signs seem to point to (quake with me) a 1990s revival.
‘No! The 90s were a terrible, joyless, spiritually and sartorially bankrupt decade!’ you yowl, and I hear you. But the portents have been right there, visible on the persons of our fashion prophets for the last year. Lady Gaga and Sienna Miller’s escapades in knickers worn as outerwear, and the explosion of sheer fabric on everyone from Roberto Cavalli to Christopher Kane’s 09 catwalks, are nothing more than a tribute to that most impractical, popper-studded part of early-90s undergarmentage, the body suit. The ripped tights and biker boots currently seen on Gossip Girl are a nod and a wink to the post-Interview With a Vampire gothy stylings of 1994; it’ll be velvet chokers next. And gentlemen? Yes, you there, in the checks. When did you last see such a proliferation of lumberjack shirts? That’s right: Seattle, 1991.
There’s nothing earth-shaking in saying that grungier styles resurge in times of recession, but the gilt-edged fashion industry has always regarded these temporary aberrations as a little indulgence on the part of the common folk. However, they can’t ignore it this time. Christian Lacroix, the most expensive of Paris’ haute couture houses (the one enshrined forever in the public consciousness thanks to Absolutely Fabulous) has just gone into administration and the industry is losing its sheen. We’re quite happy to enjoy a spot of a Cobain/Love nostalgia, and indeed grunge is set to make a full return by the end of the year, but we’d prefer to cherrypick our 1990s trends, and unfortunately spring/summer 2010 catwalk shows were a washout of sandy, khaki colours with the odd bit of outdoorsy, pull-toggle styling. You know, I have a worrying feeling they’re just softening us up for a return to the combat pant.
News from the shop front
January means SALE time. Before you blow your Christmas tenner from Auntie Lynda on a load of high street tat, have a look at the seriously excellent bargains Edinburgh and Glasgow’s independent shops have going. We’ve already rounded up some of our favourites for you (below), and look out for regular updates on Twitter (@thelistmagazine) throughout January as we hear of more bargains a-coming.
Edinburgh’s stiletto princesses, take a collective sigh of relief. Brilliant Bruntsfield high heelers Ooh! Ruby Shoes (still our favourite ever shop name) has a 60% sale running throughout January, before the arrival of its new summer stock and the launch of its new website (www. oohrubyshoes.co.uk). Budding BBWs should check out the Extra Inch sale, as it has got particularly lovely special occasion clothes on sale throughout January.
Even more excitingly, Edinburgh’s excellent DesignshopUK is offering up to 85% off on selected furniture, lighting and accessories, so you might finally be able to afford that classic piece of contemporary design you’ve been lusting after. Hurrah! www.designshopuk.com
Byres Road girlie haunt Pink Poodle is running a sale with up to 50% off its fancy frocks, and it has managed to get its new website (shared with local lovely gift shop Elements) up and running so you can check out its stock before you make the trip, too: www.lovelaboutique.com
Finally, Edinburgh coiffeurs Emma Hall Hair Design, Scotland’s first ‘clean air’ salon (using only organic, toxin free products and colours) is offering a special 20% off January discount to any readers of The List deciding to get the decade off to a start with a brand new look: just mention The List when booking. www.emmahallhair.co.uk