Wednesday 31 August 2011


I read a recent interview with an actress in which a portion of it made me laugh out loud. Mind you, this happens frequently when I read celebrity interviews, and it’s not because the actresses or actors are intentionally funny.

In short, this actress was talking about her stylist, as you do (my stylist is about 11 kg and he claims that half eaten food wiped down your trousers is totally en vogue right now), and she was explaining how one discerns that an item has gone ‘vintage.’ Yes, apparently there is a mathematical equation for this earth shattering process. I’ll go slow cause it can get pretty mind bending. So according to this stylist an item moves from being passé or so last season to the world of vintage in seven years. Yep, that’s it, seven whole years. I’m wondering if she consulted a MIT think tank to come up with this number or if it just fell out of the fashion ether? What's more alarming is that according to this theory, those wickedly hot acid wash jeans from the 80s your husband always tries to pull out of the back of the closet and throw on, means that he has a justification to wear them, 'babe, they're vintage.' 

I’m not sure what exactly happens in these seven years to move an item of clothing from the junk box to the trendy thrift store where Kate Moss may get her hands on it. Perhaps hemlines have gone up and down just enough times to make the earth sit differently on its axis; or maybe it follows some sort of boot cut, skinny jean, flare-leg rotation? Fashion is just so complex it’s hard to figure out (that’s sarcasm people). In truly simple terms - and yes, Anna Wintour would have my head for this - as far as I can ascertain, there is a must-have color a season (sometimes they even combine two together to really mix it up – 'oh my god, purple and gray, you MUST wear purple and gray!'), it’s either fashionable to show your knee or not (or these days the top of your thighs!), and out of nowhere, some strange fabric will make a comeback and suddenly be everywhere, even on items it has no place being. ‘Oh my god, have you seen my boots made out of lasagna noodles? They are so hot!!” And then of course all this hotness the media and fashionistas roll out to the world becomes passé by next Monday. But don’t despair, in seven years, lasagna noodle boots will be totally hot again.

I suppose the other real question is how did ‘vintage’ end up to be the pinnacle of coolness? In fact, this might be the only area of things where 'old' is considered 'en vogue' and not ready to be put out to pasture; and hence why I have plenty of time for this area of things. [The rest of the world is ageist, thank god for the rebellious fashion world]. I used to troll thrift stores for hours for those once in a lifetime finds; you know the items that are somewhere between something your grandma would wear, a motel curtain and something that everyone will ask you where you bought. I'm not saying it will always be something people will love, but they will certainly know you did not find it at the Gap (and no honey, I will not give away that green knit dress I found in Scotland). So I suppose what I'm saying is that these 'vintage' items have earned their title; they've sat for twenty-five years in a dusty store collecting reverence, not some pithy seven year stretch that allows any old item into the vintage fold. Please people, let's set the bar a little higher especially if you fashion pundits out there want your industry to be taken seriously. So hear me now tunic tops and jeggings (this is apparently the marriage of the legging and the jean), if you want to be considered vintage, you've got to earn that title, sweat a little! Otherwise, you're just retro.

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