Thursday, July 28, 2005

Trash Fash

I know I'm terribly late when I blog about this but I'll do it anyway.

From the Evening Standard (written in January):

In Hollywood, there is a certain look that carries on regardless of what's happening on the catwalk. Catwalk trends, as we know, change every six months. The Hollywood look - a cheerful combination of pastel vest tops, sawn-off shorts, velour trackie bottoms and Uggs - has been in stasis for at least five years and counting. It's worn by Paris Hilton, Jessica Simpson, Britney Spears and every other lithe, long-limbed LA girl whose life is fodder for the tabloids. You don't have to be blonde to get away with it, but it helps.

High fashion has always ignored the Britney aesthetic, because it is trashy, casual and the antithesis of the dressed-up, well-cut garments paraded on the catwalk.

So when Italian Vogue devotes an entire issue to "Hollywood", you have to sit up and take notice.

It's a brilliant pastiche, and the best thing I've seen in a fashion mag for ages. Shot by Steven Meisel and styled by Edward Enninful, the London-based stylist who started his career on i:D, the 72-page shoot is a hilarious homage to some of Britney's favourite things - wifebeater vests, baggy tracksuits, corkheeled mules, minidresses and baseball caps, all finished off with lashings of gold jewellery. What, no Lanvin? Darling, not a stitch.

You see, while designers have been selling us Maggie Thatcher, Mitford and Bloomsbury, the Hollywood set have been breezing through life in the same comfy clothing as they always have. Like any uniform, theirs involves labels - just not by Marc Jacobs and Marni. Juicy Couture, C&C California, Von Dutch, Seven, For All Mankind and Jet NY are some of their favourites: anything tight, sexy and flesh-tastic.

To designers, it's a lost market - although one they are keen to tap into, since these Hollywood princesses are the most influential dressers on the planet. No wonder Galliano's latest Dior collection is a tribute to Paris Hilton: the purists might hate it, but it will sell in spades.

Pop stars and It girls don't want high fashion. They want sex appeal, and the two don't always go together. But in an age where designers seem confused about what to give us next (witness the amount of retromania on the catwalk), the Britney look suddenly seems to have a kind of integrity. Just like Paris, Britney knows her style, and sticks to it - which is more than I can say for myself.

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Entire spread has been scanned here. Skanky!!