Everything Old Is New Again

Anyone searching for credence to the maxim “everything old is new again” needn’t look further than September’s Vanity Fair. Cover star Lady Gag, channels a luminescent, late ’60s earth mother look that’s equal parts mod (makeup) and hippie (hair). Even if she’s arrived a little tardy to the gray hair party, which reached its zenith in February, Gaga’s retro look is timely. Beyond silver streaks, the recent proliferation of maxi skirts, socks with heels, bloomers, beehives and buns—on and off the runway—as well as Prada and Louis Vuitton’s fall odes to Eisenhower and Kennedy-era “housewife chic,” seem to suggest that fashion has, literally, gotten old.

Fall 2010 was the season in which “supes of a certain age” experienced a renaissance of sorts. While Marc Jacobs cast 47 year-old Elle Macpherson at Louis Vuitton, Francisco Costa featured ’90s mannequins Stella Tennant, 39, and Kirsty Hume, 33. Like Viktor & Rolf, Costa also cast Kristen McMenamy, 45, whose silvery mane seamlessly matched her fluid, minimalist dress. Beating Gaga to the punch for August, McMenamy landed both a Vogue editorial and the cover of Dazed & Confused in all her gray glory. Back in September, muse and sometime model Daphne Guinness, 42, appeared on Giles Deacon’s runway with silver streaks, while Guinness’ upcoming Nars campaign features her ordinarily platinum and black coiffure dyed solidly dark.

Likewise, Kate Moss, Pixie Geldof, Agyness Deyn and, perhaps gray hair’s youngest adherent, 14 year-old blogger Tavi Gevinson, have all experimented with silver tresses. Gevinson, who already rocks haute duds by designers  most of her junior high school peers haven’t heard of, has long been regarded as precocious. Add the fashion rag bylines and regular show attendance to her granny chic stylings, and you’d think Gevinson was at least twice her age.

As if to temper the ubiquitous romper’s sartorial infantilizing, teens and 20-somethings in fashionable enclaves of New York, London and Paris have begun donning bloomers, grandmother-ly florals and pairing sandals with socks. Once relegated to old ladies shuffling to the market, the latter trend was glimpsed on spring runways for Burberry, Prada and Christian Dior  before appearing on celebs like Chloë Sevigny and Alexa Chung. And regardless of the perceived correlation between hemlines and Dow fluctuations, this fall will be all about adopting a more mature (read: covered-up) aesthetic. To wit, designers like Ann Demeulemeester, Missoni and Haider Ackermann all included maxi-skirts in their cold weather lineups.

Meanwhile, Louis Vuitton and Prada, two of fall’s most buzzworthy shows, were notable for more than just their unorthodox casting choices. Both collections had a decidedly retro vibe about them, replete with wide-skirted coats and dresses, dirndled skirts and beehive hairdos. Silhouettes also favored the kind of curvier proportions that seemingly went out of vogue before the Summer of Love. Should the more demure aesthetic fail to gain immediate traction amongst the masses, something tells us Prada’s pointy-bra formationed dresses would still find a ready fan in Lady Gaga.

There is one comment on Everything Old Is New Again:

  1. You may imagine 40-something and 50-something “old,” but it is quite simply adult! It is also the age of every single one of the creators of fashion you mention, as well as most of its consumers, who are the parents of every young Fashionista. It’s no accident that Silver has become the hair color of choice for so many of us who have it, we are now about 30% of the country, and on most it looks fabulous, I only wish I had enough to flaunt it, instead I must remain a natural blonde 50-something ; (

    In France, and the rest of Europe, where all of the designers you mention work, adult women are considered sexy and interesting. I do sense this just starting to happen here — in my hippest of all LA neighborhoods at least — perhaps it’s because this current generation appreciates their Moms in a different way. Bravo and Brava all around!

  2. Pingback: » Blog Archive » Trends in Style and Cradle-to-Cradle

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