VSCO girls have ‘a look’. (Posed by models) Composite: Guardian Design; Carol Yepes/akiyoko/Getty Images/iStockphotoThis week, the New York Times published an article advising on what to do when your tween wants to be part of the “VSCO girl” trend – a sure sign that parents have cottoned on, and the trend will be “ovah” by Christmas. Until then, here is what you need to know: What is a “VSCO girl”? The name is derived from the photo-editing app VSCO (say “visco”), a kind of Instagram 2.0 in which everyday images are given added poignancy with filters. In the last year, it has become shorthand for a particular type of teen: typically white, wealthy and eco-conscious – the Cut succinctly described it as “manic pixie ecowarrior”. Being a VSCO girl is often embraced and mocked by those who subscribe to the trend. Add the teen popularity of shortform video-sharing app TikTok, where VSCO girl impersonations are rife, and you have a meme. Is it a fashion thing? Partly. VSCO girls certainly have “a look”: laid-back, beach-ready, youthful. Parodies and “starter pack” memes tend to reference oversized T-shirts, pukka shell chokers, Hydro Flasks, scrunchies (usually several), “ugly” shoes and Carmex lip balm. Brands such as Brandy Melville, Urban Outfitters and the backpack favourite Fjällräven also get a mention. VSCO girls look as if they are always on holiday, but their aesthetic is the opposite of the Fashion Nova-heavy, super-contoured look associated with Instagram influencers. Buzzfeed likened VSCO girl style to that of The OC’s Marissa Cooper, “except the girls wearing the look are too young to have heard of The OC”. Are there any famous VSCO girls? YouTuber Emma Chamberlain, off-duty Ariana Grande and even Princess Diana have all been said to subscribe to the trend. Any other traits VSCO girls share? Like all the best subcultures, VSCO girls have their own language. Commonly used phrases such as “and I – oop” – a reference to the drag queen Jasmine Masters – as well as “sksksk” (a phrase often attributed to black/stan Twitter, which represents a sort of typed shock) are often amplified within parodies. VSCO girl “transformation videos” – another trope of the trend – also tend to feature girls putting their hair in messy buns and eating avocado toast, before admitting that, actually, perhaps they were a little bit VSCO to begin with.
‘I view my hair like a canvas’ … Amina Mucciolo. Photograph: Image provided by Amina MuccioloWe are facing the prospect of a few gloomy grey months ahead, with a general election on the horizon, and no end to the Brexit impasse in sight. But one trend has emerged to brighten up these damp winter days.Not long ago you would see rainbow hair only on celebrities such as Katy Perry or Nicki Minaj, or people in the cosplay community. Not any more. What was once a wacky trend is now beloved of ordinary women. Look around your local coffee shop, or observe mothers on the school run, and you may see the rainbow hair trend for yourself. It’s certainly hard to miss.Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce’s rainbow hair streamed behind her as the Jamaican sprinter took gold in the 100m final of the World Championships this year. The Hate U Give actor Amandla Stenberg sported rainbow box braids at the BET awards in July 2018, while members of the K-pop supergroup BTS rock pastel rainbow hair, to the delight of their teenage fans.Although brightly coloured hair is becoming more socially acceptable, not all employers are on board. Kerry Lawrence-Sutton, 32, from Cambridgeshire, recently had the offer of a teaching assistant job rescinded, after the headteacher objected to her hair. “I was gutted,” Lawrence-Sutton tells me. “I’m really good at my job.”So to rainbow or not to rainbow? We asked five women who have taken the leap. Fiona Sharpe, 53, a communities consultant from BrightonFiona Sharpe: ‘At work, everything is grey, so I think it’s nice to bring a bit of colour into it.’ Photograph: Linda Nylind/The GuardianMy hair is how people identify me: Fiona with the crazy hair. I have to sit in meetings with council representatives and statutory agencies for work, where everything is terribly grey, so I think it’s nice to bring a bit of colour into it. I have had negative feedback: a man once asked me in a meeting when I was going to grow up. I just shrugged and said: “You mean, when am I going to be boring? I hope, never.” He didn’t have a comeback.Apart from my hair, I would describe myself as a not-particularly-adventurous grownup. People can be surprised when they find out I have a serious job – a customs officer in Gatwick Airport once insisted I had to be an artist because of my hair.I have no idea what colour my natural hair is. I have been dyeing it since I was 20. If I had to guess, I’d say it was brown. I have a fabulous hairdresser, who happens to be my nephew. He messages me and says: “Aunty Fi, I have new colours in. Want to play?” Jan St John-Knight, 48, a learning and development professional from the Isle of SheppeyJan St John-Knight: ‘My sense of being different comes out in my hair.’ Photograph: Sarah Lee/The GuardianAbout six years ago, I dyed my hair blue. I was the only mum in the playground with blue hair for a while – until one day, when everyone had blue hair, I went to the salon and had nine colours put in. When I came back I thought: no one will have hair like this.I don’t see myself as a looker. I’m not one of those women who could go around with crap hair and still look nice. I never have been. So getting my hair done has always made me feel good about myself.Five years ago, I was diagnosed with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). When you have ADHD, you are different anyway. Growing up, people would always say how unconventional I was. I’m happy with that. I guess my sense of being different comes out in my hair.I’ve had a mostly positive response. Last week, I was in Morrisons getting breakfast and this toddler came up to me with his mum. She said: “My son loves your hair! He wants to give you a kiss.” People tell me a lot that I’m brave, which I find odd. You would wear brightly coloured eyeshadow – why not colour your hair? Amina Mucciolo, 36, an artist and designer from Los AngelesAmina Mucciolo: ‘I have one life, so I’m going to live it colourfully.’ Photograph: Image provided by Amina MuccioloI have always loved colour, but it’s only recently that I have embraced it fully. Being colourful makes me feel the most like myself.Growing up black in America in the 80s and 90s, there was a lot of pressure to meet people’s expectations of how you should dress and look. It was only when I got older that I realised that stuff didn’t matter. I have one life, so I’m going to live it colourfully.I think I have around 27 colours in my hair. I used to do box braids with coloured yarn, but now I use synthetic hair. I do it all myself – it takes four or five days to complete, and I do it once a month. I find the process very meditative.Colourful hair is definitely a big trend. I never saw anyone with hair like mine five years ago, but now I see people my grandma’s age with pink hair! It’s becoming more acceptable, which is awesome.I view my hair like a canvas. I plan it in the way I plan my artistic projects. It’s a living piece of art. Amy Witham, 24, a social media influencer from MiddlesbroughAmy Witham: ‘My hair has actually become my career.’ Photograph: Image provided by Amy WithamMy mum is always getting angry at me for staining the bathtub with my hair dye! The purple dye is the worst. It really makes a mess.I have dyed my hair since I was 12, but went rainbow about six years ago. I do it all myself; I always have. I find it really easy because I’ve been doing it for so long – I can even bleach my roots now without looking in the mirror. I bleach my roots every two weeks, and then top up my colour by mixing some dye into my conditioner every time I wash my hair. Originally, I started out with rainbow highlights, but I found an ombré was easier to maintain. Conditioner is definitely my biggest expense – I spend at least £50 a month.My hair has actually become my career, which I never expected. I used to work at Superdrug! Now, I work with hair and beauty brands, and post sponsored content on my Instagram. It’s funny because when I was younger people used to make fun of me for sitting in my bedroom and taking pictures of myself. But now that’s the norm.Sometimes, people send me photographs of Chinese brands claiming they have done my hair, or my pictures in the window of salons in America. It happens all the time. It’s annoying, because no one else has done my hair. It’s all me.Ayofemi Holloway: ‘This wig is like colour therapy.’ Photograph: Gareth Phillips/The Guardian Ayofemi Holloway, 32, a salon manager from SwanseaWhen I was younger, I would never have worn my hair like this. I was painfully shy back then. My mum used to plait my hair into one braid, and people would call me Rhino Head. I think when you’re a black woman, society wants you to make other people feel comfortable. You have to wear a black wig or a black weave to fit in. But since having my children, I’m so much more confident. If I want rainbow hair, I’m having rainbow hair.I was browsing Pinterest in August when I came across Amina’s [Mucciolo] pictures. I thought she looked incredible. At first, I got rainbow box braids: my mum did them for me, at her salon. They looked brilliant, but I had to take them out in September, and my mum hasn’t had time to put them back in again – it takes eight hours, and she’s a very busy lady.I still love the rainbow-hair look, so since then I have been wearing a rainbow wig every day. For me, this wig is like colour therapy. It just cheers me up. When I have rainbow hair, I feel young and bouncy. I feel fun: like the day’s going to be great.Rainbow hair: how to get started
Millie Bobby Brown, 15, responds to critics who claim her red carpet outfits are "inappropriate."
From off-duty models to Instagram yogis, and Rihanna on the red carpet, the messy ’do is a celebrity and influencer staple. Of course you can blame the internet. How did a hairstyle that once signified “off to the garage for some milk” become a fashion phenomenon? Because that’s where we are at with the high bun – or topknot – a hairstyle that is popping up everywhere. The ’do is fast becoming a red-carpet staple, seen on stars from Jennifer Lopez to Katy Perry to Rihanna. At the People’s Choice awards on Sunday, Zendaya wore an unstructured version, while her 16-year-old Euphoria co-star Storm Reid wore a towering bun topped with a star-shaped pin. Last month, when the British women’s team competed at the World Artistic Gymnastics championships in Stuttgart, all six wore the hairstyle. Like its embarrassing cousin, the man bun, it has developed vague wellnessy connotations. It’s the style of choice for Hollywood types doing yoga or posting sweaty but flattering post-gym pictures. For such an easy style, there are countless online tutorials on how to achieve it, such as the one on motherandbaby.co.uk, which promises a “no-wash topknot for busy mornings”. On the catwalk, the style projects an effortless vibe. Last year, 77 of the 81 Chanel models at one show wore a bun, which the hairstylist Sam McKnight said was “inspired by the models themselves – when they grab their hair after a show and shove it up in a messy topknot tied with elastic”. In September, at London fashion week, Victoria Beckham took her bow in hard-working designer mode, wearing a messy topknot; the tonsorial equivalent of rolling her sleeves up. Ursula Stephen – Zendaya’s hairdresser and the mastermind of many red-carpet topknots – described it as “one of those Coachella kind of things. Kind of like no-makeup makeup.” Some of the topknot’s biggest proponents are those who live their private moments in public. On Instagram, it is perfect for casually hanging out in the bath while telling your followers how great your new shampoo is with the tagline: #ad #sponcontent. The Kardashians are big fans, obviously. And, really, it is internet hair. Unlike the ballerina bun, or the chignon at the nape of the neck, it is fully visible from the front. Marni Senofonte – a one-woman social-media trend machine who is best known as “Beyoncé’s Instagram stylist” – wears a 3in-high topknot. Her hair is instantly recognisable, the smartphone era equivalent of Anna Wintour’s bob. The topknot also, of course, has a deep significance in many religions, including Sikhism and Buddhism. Indeed, when you delve into the history of the topknot, it is difficult to interpret its western rise as anything but a borrowing – subconsciously or otherwise – from eastern cultures. This is most clearly demonstrated by the version seen on celebrities, such as Miley Cyrus, or off-duty models doing chakrasanas on Instagram. In kundalini yoga, wearing a knot on top of the head, for energetic effect, is part of the practice. Photographs of celebrity fans, including Russell Brand, wearing topknots while meditating, may well have seeped into the western zeitgeist. Like the man bun, which tends to be worn a little lower down the crown, this version of the topknot seems to bring with it a hazy sense of enlightenment and urban creativity. It’s popular in Hollywood. For Susie Lau, a fashion writer and street-style star who has been wearing her topknot for about a decade, adopting the style did not feel hugely groundbreaking because in Japan and Hong Kong, where she has family and frequently travels, “it feels less of a style statement and more like an everyday hairstyle”. Lau points out that the hairstyle looks similar to that worn by men in China during the Ming dynasty. Yet in the UK, it was not really fashionable until fairly recently, according to Rachael Gibson who runs an Instagram account dedicated to the history of hair. Historically, western up-dos, such as the apollo knot of the 1800s, were intricate and extravagant, a straight-up sign of “conspicuous consumption”, indicating their wearer as “lady of leisure”. On the contrary, she says, the modern topknot ties into a different modern aspiration – the “dread of the salon blow-dry – people wanting to move away from looking ‘done’”. Topknots are particularly popular among teenage girls and women in their early 20s. The hairdresser Charlotte Mensah agrees that the buns are getting higher. “It’s such a thing. My daughter, who is 18, loves wearing her hair like that. All her friends at uni do.” For young fans the inspiration might be Zoella, the YouTube star who has very long, very thick hair, and whose “ How to: Messy Bun” tutorial has been viewed more than 12m times. Or it could be the Love Island star Molly-Mae Hague, whose bun is “a celeb in its own right” according to Cosmopolitan. A tutorial posted by Hague in the summer underlined the class issues inherent in the topknot. Without expensive extensions to twist into a luxuriant bun, some fans claimed that the slick-sided ’do made them “ look like Miss Trunchbull”. Gibson warns against classifying the style as democratic. “It is always clean, thick hair, artfully done on Instagram. You wonder if people would have a different opinion if they saw a normal working-class woman wearing a topknot. If I put my hair up like that with no makeup on to take the bins out, people are not going to say: ‘She looks incredible.’” For some hair types, though, it is genuinely easy – and cheap – to achieve. Lau, for one, advocates it for difficult weather. “I remember the first time I did it. I was in Stockholm in the winter and it was snowing really hard and super windy – it was more a practical thing.” Mensah says it can save women a lot of time. It works well on hair that is “lived in”, perhaps because it hasn’t been washed for a couple of days. “The knottier and more mussed the hair the better.” For afro hair, it is “a great look for second- or third-day twist out”. Stephen even believes it gives “an instant facelift”. No wonder it is popular. It is likely to stay that way, too, because its silhouette so perfectly suits the lens of a front-facing camera. Because, in 2019, if you can’t see your bun on social media, did it even happen?
From left: a model on the runway at the Gabriela Hearst show SS20, a Sheep Inc wool jumper, and a Ganni lurex top. Composite: PixelFormula/Sipa/Rex/ShutterstockTiny clutch bags, conceptual knitwear and carbon neutrality – the ideas that fashion chooses to embrace each season aren’t always those you might expect. But thanks to a recent shift, no doubt spurred on by the “Greta Thunberg effect”, carbon – as well as the practice of offsetting it – has become a hot topic for many of the biggest names in the fashion industry.At New York fashion week in September, luxury fashion designer Gabriela Hearst staged fashion’s first carbon-neutral catwalk show. Hot on its heels, Gucci announced it would go carbon neutral with chief executive, Marco Bizzarri, stating that “the planet has gone too far”. Next up, luxury fashion conglomerate Kering, owner of big-name brands such as Saint Laurent, Balenciaga and Bottega Veneta, announced that its entire group would offset 2.4m tonnes of carbon dioxide in a bid to “become carbon-neutral within its own operations and across the entire supply chain.”It’s not just high-fashion that is looking to cut the size of its carbon footprint. In April, footwear brand Allbirds announced it would impose a carbon tax on itself. Not long after, San Francisco-based fashion company Everlane reported it had come up with a pair of carbon-neutral trainers.Sheep Inc. Photograph: Publicity ImageA small section of the industry is going one step further. October saw the launch of a brand called Sheep Inc, which is hoping to be the “world’s first carbon negative brand”, offsetting tenfold its emissions via investment in biodiversity projects. Another recent innovation has seen the creation of clothes made from what have been gorily called “carbon-sucking organisms”.Defined as “calculating your total climate-damaging carbon emissions, reducing them where possible, and then balancing your remaining emissions, often by purchasing a carbon offset: paying to plant new trees or investing in “green” technologies such as solar and wind power,” carbon neutrality is something some labels have been talking about for years. US brand Reformation has been describing itself as carbon neutral since 2015 and Ganni, a mid-range Scandinavian brand popular with millennial floaty frock lovers, introduced “climate compensated” clothing in 2016. Its website explained: “In order to do business, we can’t completely eradicate our emissions but we monitor our impact, reduce what we can and climate compensate the rest.”Reformation AW19. Photograph: Publicity ImageCarbon neutrality as fashion must-have hasn’t happened in a vacuum. The industry, which is responsible for “around 10% of all global greenhouse gas emissions,” according to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, has come under increasing scrutiny. If it were to continue to grow at current rates, it could use more than a quarter of the world’s annual carbon budget by 2050.But is carbon neutrality and offsetting, with which brands are hoping to repent for decades of wrongs, the silver bullet many will be hoping for?“Carbon footprint” – an oft-repeated phrase that attempts to simplify the idea of how much carbon any given activity emits into the atmosphere – is far from simple to calculate. Flights are an easier prospect – as Maxine Bédat, founder of the New Standard Institute, recently told Vogue: “You can calculate the carbon footprint of a flight, but in terms of [the carbon footprint of] a fashion show, that data doesn’t exist.” Gabriela Hearst, for instance, factored in production, design, catering, power, waste and more.Ganni. Photograph: GanniIt can also prove tricky to calculate carbon emissions when it comes to clothes themselves. “Historically, brands have not had very good oversight or control of their supply chains,” says Alice Wilby, a sustainable fashion consultant. “How are you going to start implementing environmental audits like this? You’ve got to consider absolutely everything, from where your material is grown or sewn through to how it is turned into fabric, how it’s manufactured and how it’s transported.”Gucci acknowledges these difficulties, but is keen to push past them. “If we wait to be perfect, in terms of the calculation of impact or methodology, to me it’s just an excuse for not doing it,” said Bizzarri at the time of the brand’s carbon-neutral announcement. “More and more, we just need to act.”There have been problems with the offsetting schemes too. Companies carrying them out on behalf of the brands have come under fire – for reasons including claims of fraudulent activity, to causing damage to the communities living around their projects. With a lot of offsetting happening in developing countries, “there’s a track record of environmental and human rights abuses occurring,” says Wilby, “because of offsetting projects being set up in areas where indigenous rights are not respected and lands are used without approval.” Since the WWF and others set up Gold Standard, an organisation designed to ensure the integrity of these projects, the hope is that these schemes are improving.For its critics, offsetting can distract from the task of reducing carbon output in the first place, even when done responsibly.“It is important to note that offsetting isn’t actually tackling the reduction of a company’s footprint,” says Ilishio Lovejoy, project manager for policy and research at Fashion Revolution. “It is making the overall global situation ‘less bad’ by ‘doing good’ somewhere else.”Many of its naysayers also note the fact that offsetting prioritises lessening guilt over reducing actual harm. There is a privilege involved in being able to pay away your carbon, whether as a consumer or a company. Writing on the broad subject of carbon offsets as far back as 2006, Guardian writer George Monbiot compared it with the ancient Catholic church’s practice of selling indulgences.The Gabriela Hearst show SS20 at New York fashion week. Photograph: Pixelformula/Sipa/Rex/Shutterstock“It can send the message that, if you have enough money to buy your way out of the damage you are causing, you don’t need to take action or act as quickly to change your own practices,” says Lovejoy. Sara Arnold, a member of Extinction Rebellion’s fashion wing, says that “it’s better for companies to do it rather than to not do it, but let’s call it what it is: CSR [corporate social responsibility]. And that CSR shouldn’t be used to make people feel like their purchases don’t have an environmental impact.”For Sheep Inc’s founder Edzard van der Wyck, one problem is that carbon neutrality falls short. With the fashion industry growing more rapidly than the efforts to improve its environmental impact can keep up with, “the idea that we’re talking about carbon neutrality as this alpha and omega of sustainability is troubling”. Steps will need to be bold if fashion is going to clean up its act. Van der Wyck is sceptical of companies’ altruism. “If you look at how Gucci recently said it had invested $8.4m in a carbon-offsetting project … that’s 0.2% of their earnings … then Notre Dame catches fire and the next day [they donate] €200m.” He also thinks that companies need to be making sure their manufacturing is running on renewable energy, using the right, recyclable, materials.Carbon neutrality might, says Wilby, sound sexy – and she believes “it can work as part of a larger programme” – but without reducing carbon output “it cannot be the final goal. It just can’t.”
The actor on sharing clothes with Donatella Versace and whether re-wearing outfits is acceptable. This dress was created for [the 1986 TV mini-series] Crossings, which was based on a Danielle Steel novel, but I also wore it to the People’s Choice awards in 1996. In those days, it was part of my contract that I was given all the costumes, so I had an amazing collection. Crossings was costumed by Nolan Miller, who was famous for designing the clothes for Dynasty. I was playing a very glamorous character and was going for that Rita Hayworth look. Around that time, actresses, instead of models, started showing off the fashion of the era. Unless you are a model, it’s not something you’re really equipped to do but, when you put a gown like that on, you become a character, even on the red carpet. You can’t come in like a church mouse. Nolan became a personal friend of mine – he knew that I used to design and make all my own clothes, so we collaborated on my costumes. When I was younger I didn’t have any money so I’d buy good fabric from Liberty – the offcuts that nobody wanted – or I’d go to vintage stores, bring-and-buy sales or church sales, and turn them into outfits for myself. I was never paid by a designer to wear anything, although nowadays not every designer will dress someone my age. I don’t care whether re-wearing clothes is acceptable or not – if I’m feeling the dress and the occasion, and if it fits, then I’ll wear it again. In the 80s, Escada loaned me a lot of gowns – I was the unofficial muse of Brian Rennie, the designer. Gianni Versace used to lend me gowns that were made for Donatella because we were the same size. One was a beaded, all-in-one that you thought you could see through, but really you couldn’t. Although, if you looked carefully, maybe you could! My boyfriend at the time, who was a famous rock’n’roller, had just broken up with me. We went to an event together and I thought: ‘Dammit, I’m going to wear it’ – and it worked. Everyone was trying to give me their phone number and I was like: ‘OK, bye-bye!’ But I have to admit that, looking back, I can’t believe I wore it.
Twinning of mascara, lipstick and eyeshadow is moving into the mainstream, spawning new ranges to meet demand. Over Halloween plenty of couples stepped out in matching makeup, from skeleton twins and pop-art pairs to Donald and Melania Trump. But for some, coordinating cosmetics is no longer just for dressing up. In September the Game of Thrones actress Maisie Williams and her boyfriend Reuben Selby attended designer Thom Browne’s show in Paris wearing not only matching socks and coordinated check suiting but also identical pink eyeshadow. It’s a look favoured by the K-pop couple HyunA and E’Dawn, who often match their eyeshadow. Arguably, Brooklyn Beckham and his then girlfriend Chloë Grace Moretz were ahead of the trend when both sported black eyeliner while celebrating her 21st in 2018, in what Vogue dubbed “the ultimate couples move”. And, after both dyeing their hair blond, Dua Lipa and Anwar Hadid opted to get matching manicures last month. The trend for makeup twinning relies on both halves of a couple being makeup wearers – and so, for some same-sex pairs, this is nothing new. But as gender stereotypes fade, heterosexual couples are also getting involved. Meanwhile, makeup brands are expanding their offerings: Mister from Givenchy “comprises unisex products for the eyes and complexion that bring instant and natural makeup results” while the Jecca Blac range is dedicated entirely to genderless products. Asos now lists its cosmetics under a gender-neutral Face + Body section. “We have certainly seen a recent increase in couples shopping for cosmetics together. And, as a business, [we] take a gender-neutral approach when it comes to makeup,” says Gemma Mason, head of customer experience at Superdrug. The men’s makeup industry has been growing for some time. As far back as 2013 big names such as Tom Ford and Marc Jacobs launched male cosmetics ranges. But the more recent shift, which has been coined the “beauty boy movement”, involves men and boys not only defining eyebrows and highlighting their cheeks but also becoming the faces of makeup brands and lines. The YouTube star James Charles, who has more than 16 million subscribers, became the first ever CoverGirl coverboy in 2016. The beauty vlogger Lewys Ball became a face of Rimmel’s London campaign in 2017 and Jake Jamie, who hoped to catalyse the blurring with his #makeupisgenderless campaign, was signed to L’Oreal in the same year. These shifts in expected gender roles have had a real-life effect – and Jessica Blackler, founder of Jecca Blac cosmetics, agrees that it is a rising trend. “When we exhibit and host events, I have noticed a lot of couples shopping together and making sure shade and colours suit them both before purchasing items,” she says. “The gender-neutral approach to beauty is definitely becoming more mainstream. [Couples] sharing and coordinating with each other is a way of enjoying it together.” And it is not just for couples on the red carpet either. “Tom started wearing makeup about a year ago, but I have always loved transforming my face,” says Chelsei, a hair salon manager in Melbourne, Australia, who posts pictures of her and her boyfriend in matching makeup on Instagram (via @_zaftig__). “He decided he wanted some black eyeliner, then that turned into eyeshadow, which turned into us doing matching looks when we go out.” She says the reaction from friends has been “super-encouraging” and that the pair now share makeup products; their favourite brands include Jeffree Star, Kat Von D and Morphe. For Daniel Osei, a student in Virginia, in the US, wearing matching makeup is a more recent venture. “It was her idea,” he says of his girlfriend, JaLynn Evans, also a student. “She’d always told me that I would look good with makeup on.” The pair wore a matching look created by Evans for recent photos, also posted on Instagram. “All of our friends online loved it because they support the art form of makeup and are very open to new ideas,” he says. “In real life, I got mixed responses initially but after a while people started to admit they really liked the shoot.” The rise in couples coordinating their makeup is a win for “gender-expansive identities”, says Laura Kraber, chief executive and co-founder of the inclusive makeup brand Fluide. She says they are “inspiring all of us to be more connected to our loved ones and more playful in both our relationships and our style”.
‘Look for something one or two shades darker than your real lip tone.’ Photograph: Alex Lake/The GuardianFor decades, the marketing definition of “nude” was, like most things from American tan tights to Sloaney patent heels, based on some mythical caucasian ideal – an evenly dipped honeyed blonde. A nude lipstick, for example, was invariably a brown-based pale pink that looked far from natural on most women on either side of the archetype (much as it still may look fabulous, of course). In reality, a nude in a beauty context is any shade that naturally appears in skin, from palest cream to deepest espresso, and the industry has been forced to rethink. Essentially, what we’re looking for in a basic, always flattering, wear-anywhere-and-with-anything nude lipstick is something the same, but one or two shades darker, than our real lip tone.For me, that’s Mac Lustre Lipstick in Hug Me (£17.50), a neutral inner-flesh tone with a sheer finish that can be worn alone, or slicked over a bolder shade to bring it down to earth. Your mileage will obviously vary, so it’s worth whiling away a few minutes on one of the clever nude lip finders available on-counter and online.Clinique’s ingenious Shade Match Science tool uses models of all colours and offers three appropriate nude shades, from the barely noticeable to the dramatic, in Even Better Pop Lip Foundation (£17.50. A satin, like this, will look most natural; try a matte if you prefer a more “done” look). Counter staff are also trained to match your Clinique foundation shade with a spectrum of nudes.My makeup artist friend Sam Chapman recently raved to me about Avon’s bargainous nude lipsticks ( only £4), and she wasn’t wrong. The website features real women of all tones, and offers up two appropriate nudes – one pinky, one brown – in a creamy, comfy, lasting matte formula that behaves like something much dearer. There’s a popular school of thought that believes the most natural and flattering lipstick is one that matches your bare nipples. It sounds nifty and funny in a headline, but in practice is mostly nonsense. Many very pale-faced women have dark brown areolae, just as many dark-skinned women have rosy ones. What works under the bra isn’t automatically what flatters the mouth – and that’s before we even consider how the skintone on one’s face can differ from that of one’s torso. I’ve never topless sunbathed in my life, and my chest shares a Dulux paint chart with blue.
Lizzo also criticised the use of body positivity as a marketing tool. Photograph: Matthew Baker/Getty ImagesThe singer and rapper Lizzo has spoken of how she was affected by seeing negative and stereotypical images of plus-size bodies as a child.“I would watch things on television and look at magazines and I would not see myself,” she said. “When you don’t see yourself, you think something is wrong with you.”Lizzo, whose real name is Melissa Jefferson, said this lack of representation affected her mental health. “You want to look like those things and when you realise it’s a physical impossibility you start to think, ‘What the fuck is wrong with me?’,” she said. “I think that took a bigger toll on me, psychologically, growing up than what anyone could have said to me.”The singer, who has been acclaimed for being a plus-size celebrity, also talked about the dangers of using body positivity as a marketing tool.“Anybody that uses body positivity to sell something is using it for their personal gain,” she said. “We weren’t selling anything in the beginning. We were just selling ourselves and selling ourselves on the idea – selling ourselves on ourselves.”Interviewed in the latest edition of British Vogue, the classically trained singer also reveals the anxiety that fuels her turbo-charged performances. “When I get really, really anxious before a show, I just go harder and harder and harder when I’m performing and I just go crazy,” she said.“I don’t know why, but my anxiety sometimes fuels who I am as a performer and who I am as an artist. I don’t know if my body just, like, out of a desperate need to find a place for my anxiety or find a use for it, takes it and puts it there.”The December issue of Vogue, which features Lizzo wearing a black bustier dress by Versace, an Adrienne Landau feather boa and Chopard earrings on the cover, marks the two-year anniversary of Edward Enninful’s editorship.It has two cover stars, the other being the actor Emma Watson, but the choice of Lizzo underlines Enninful’s commitment to championing diversity: His first cover featured the Ghanaian-British model Adwoa Aboah, while later cover stars have included Jourdan Dunn, Naomi Campbell and Zoë Kravitz.“Seeing such a positive force for good on our cover in all her glory makes me realise how far we have come. I’m so pleased that inclusivity remains at the core of British Vogue,” Enninful wrote on Instagram. He added: “Seeing someone as amazing as Lizzo on a magazine cover has at last begun to feel normal. How incredible is that?”Earlier this year, Lizzo’s song Truth Hurts went to number one on the US Billboard charts, making her the first solo black female singer to achieve the feat since Rihanna in 2012.
If there is a fashion item that is catnip to women of all ages, it’s a one-stop dress. People say that modern femininity is really complex and I mean, yes, in some ways it is – but in others it is actually really simple. For instance, there is one fashion item that is catnip to women of all ages: a one-stop, go-anywhere dress. We straight up love that dress. We go crazy for it, almost all of us. We don’t even care if everyone else is wearing the same one. Remember that Zara dress, the viral hit of the summer? Explainer theories ranged from the #MeToo-friendly hemline to the Julia-Roberts-in-Pretty-Woman polka dots, but the secret of its success was pretty basic. That dress made life easy. You could wear it day or night, with trainers or strappy sandals. It had elbow-length sleeves and a calf-length hem and mid-weight fabric which, in the mid-table calibrations of a British summer, meant you were rarely too hot or too cold. Like white trainers or tuxedos or gold hoop earrings, a dress that you can wear all day is a style classic. The one I am wearing here is a winter version of summer’s spotty dress. It is a bit cosier, without being knitted: the alpine vibe, so appealing in theory, makes for a hot commute and gets itchy in the office. The one-stop dress is bright and upbeat, but sturdy enough to look at home with a winter coat and tights. It can be layered should you wish to, but works perfectly well without. It can take the addition of gold jewellery or a velvet headband if the mood takes you, but it has enough detail not to demand accessorising when you don’t feel like it. I’m wearing the dress with my Mulberry boots, which have languished in the neglected knee-high boot bit of my shoe cupboard for so long that they have graduated from being “old” boots to “vintage” boots. Not being a fan of tights, I am thrilled about being back in knee-high boots. The ideal hemline for a cold-weather one-stop dress will depend on your hosiery preferences – if you want to wear it with ankle boots or trainers and bare legs, it needs to be fairly long, while if you are happy in opaques, a miniskirt is easier. To wear tights or not to wear tights: now, there is a topic on which women have a wide range of strongly held beliefs. But the glory of the one-stop dress is something on which we can all agree. . Jess wears dress, £365, essentiel-antwerp.com. Boots, Jess’s own. Styling: Melanie Wilkinson. Hair and makeup: Lucy Ridley using Maria Nila and Nars
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Baga Chipz: what’s in a name? Photograph: BBC Going upHelena Bonham Carter Having a moment. See: The Crown, about to drop on Netflix, and her expert draping of Brora’s Phenomenal Woman scarf, with 10% of sales to Save The Children.Extreme layering Because Steve Lacy in the video for Playground. Yes, those are denim shorts over trackies.Stand tall. Photograph: Getty ImagesThe high life Platform shoes are ideal for rising above inevitable snow sludge this winter. Take your cue from Stella McCartney.Vetements circa 2016 Frank Ocean’s newest track is called DHL. Time to dig out that logo T-shirt, then.Baga Chipz Best Drag Race contestant name ever? Going down Statement earrings Usurped by the statement necklace, according to Vogue. See big shells at Prada and thick chokers at Lanvin.< Eight million followers The number Jennifer Aniston gained in one day on Instagram. What are you waiting for?Jennifer Aniston: Insta-hit. Photograph: Getty ImagesMicro bags The very opposite of what you’ll find @thebigbagclub, the Instagram account where bigger is better.Balayage The not-so-subtle chunky highlights of the 90s are making a return. Think retro Cindy Crawford. Power walking Take a cue from Rihanna and slow down your Insta videos. The leisurely saunter is the new way forward.
Kendall Jenner walks the catwalk during the Giambattista Valli Loves H&M show in Rome last month. Photograph: Vittorio Zunino Celotto/Getty ImagesThe Italian couturier Giambattista Valli isn’t a household name in the same way as H&M’s previous designer collaborators – which range from Balmain to Moschino and Versace – were, but it didn’t stop some people camping out all night in parky weather.Amal Clooney wearing a Valli creation. Photograph: Olycom SPA/RexThe number attending seemed to be lower than for previous collaborations – one regular queue-goer estimated that it was about half that of previous years – but there was still a small snake of people outside H&M Oxford Circus in London before the collection’s 8am launch.Alexandra Lindblad, 26, had been waiting since 4am, while others had been there since midnight. “They have only 100 pieces of each, so if you’re not here early, you don’t get anything – and the website always crashes,” she said.The haute couture-inspired collection, which also launched at other big stores across London, Dublin, Manchester and Birmingham (as well as online) is perhaps the fanciest of H&M’s designer collaborations so far. As Valli told Vogue earlier this year: “I was very surprised and flattered [by H&M’s interest]. The idea is to bring the Valli DNA of extraordinary, of one-of-a-kind, of uniqueness, of couture.”Shoppers described how they felt about having the chance to get their hand on his designs – popular with celebrities such as Rihanna, Amal Clooney and Ariana Grande, they usually go for thousands of pounds. “It’s not really in my price range,” said Lindblad, “so any couturier, especially from Paris, is exciting.”Embroidered coats and knee-high socks … items from the collaboration. Photograph: H&MThe collection’s 41 pieces for women and 31 for men – the first time Valli has branched out into menswear – include embroidered coats for £299.99, a leopard print hoodie (£59.99), logo tights, pearly jewellery and floaty floral dresses. There are jumpers decorated with rose prints and historical figures in ruffs (£79.99), and knee-high socks adorned with pink hearts (£14.99).This is a collaboration perhaps geared more towards the fashion-heads than previous H&M offerings, as evidenced by those in the queue. Fashion student Nadia Roberts, 21, loves Valli’s work: “It’s just very beautiful, well-made couture.” She had been queueing since 6.30am for a faux fur-trimmed aviator coat from the collection.Lindblad, who works for Christian Dior, thinks his work is interesting for being “a little bit different shape-wise compared with what you normally find”. While Anne-Marie Buckley, who has worked in fashion and has been familiar with his work for a long time, thinks “it’s very elegant and very feminine. I think at the moment things are very unstructured and hard-wearing, and I think he’s delicate and fluid.” It is, she said, a savvy pre-party season collaboration.A dress from the new collection. Photograph: H&MAnnounced in May at the amfAR Gala in Cannes, the collection was unleashed at a show at Rome’s grand palazzo in late October, where the model Kendall Jenner took over the runway in the collection’s most hyped dress – large, red, frilly and available for £299.99.In recent years, Valli’s couture collections have doubled down on the froufrou tulle frocks that found mainstream fans when a similarly voluminous Molly Goddard dress was worn by Jodie Comer in Killing Eve. Often compared to millefeuille, these colossi don’t shout high street – and many in the queue admitted they were there for the more understated pieces. Lindblad knows she wouldn’t be able to wear the Jenner dress: “I’m not fancy enough to go anywhere where that would work.” On the other hand, Roberts thinks it’s amazing, “but it doesn’t appeal to everyone; you have to be going to somewhere very special. I wouldn’t buy it because I’m short.”Other people were feeling bolder. A 21-year-old student Tara Genovese was at least hoping to try on the big red dress. But “I’m not sure I’m going to have the occasion to wear that, so I’m more looking at the red shirt or the little dress with flowers”.Elina Sharifi’s boyfriend told her the pink tulle dress she was planning to buy would “make her look like a bonbonniere, but I think for a special occasion it will be very beautiful.” While Pam Oushal, 51, planned to wear the dress to a big wedding she is attending soon. Of its impracticality, she said: “Darling, fashion is impractical. If it’s day clothes, sure, but things like that are occasion-wear.”
For a long time beauty routines only seemed to get more elaborate. But thanks to environmental concerns – as well as questions about the effectiveness of layering products - some corners of the industry are finally arguing that less is more. The #shelfie is so passé. The trend for posting Instagram snaps of beauty cabinets stuffed with myriad, millennial-pink products looks set to take a downturn as customers spurn multi-step routines in favour of a more streamlined, sustainable approach to skincare. In the UK, 28% of women have reduced the amount of products in their skincare routine over the past year, according to the research group Mintel, with the women’s facial skincare market expected to fall to an estimated £1.16bn from £1.17 bn in 2018. As we move away from the K-beauty trends – such as the now infamous 10-step routine, that led consumers to invest in a full roster of cleansers and multiple serums – we’re now using less and spending less as a result. In a world ever more conscious of the ecological impact of the products we buy, an elaborate skincare regime no longer feels luxurious; it just feels wasteful. “I used to travel with bags full of beauty products, but now I take three or four things. As you become aware of your impact on the environment in all areas of your life, more feels unnecessary,” says Zahra Broadfield a former Harvey Nichols beauty buyer who launched the beauty e-retailer SUSTBeauty earlier this month, rounding up products that adhere to strict sustainability and environmental responsibility guidelines. She believes that our increasingly minimal beauty routines are down to a combination of “product fatigue” and our growing awareness of over-consumption. Previously the world of skincare was all about encouraging people to add “boosters” to their serums, or to use a separate moisturiser on their neck, an increasing number of brands now offer multipurpose products – a cleanser that also removes makeup, or a night cream that gently exfoliates as you sleep. Broadfield recommends multipurpose oils, such as Malako Skin To Soul Saviour Oil, which can be used on skin, hair and in the bath, and cleansers that double up as face masks. “If you have fewer things, you think a lot more carefully about why you’re using them,” she says. Even in Korea, birthplace of the multi-step skincare routine, millennials are said to be turning to “skip care” – skipping steps and products perceived to be superfluous. US Vogue described the movement as “a reaction to the idea of an overly complicated multi-step routine”. The idea of buying fewer products has even become part of some brands’ business model. The new skincare line ADC Beauty comprises just one product: the High Performance Moisturiser. A plant-based face cream, its ingredients include chamomile to soothe, arnica to repair and mangosteen to purify. Its founder, Adam de Cruz, advocates a simple, two-step routine. “Cleanse and moisturise are essential, and then an SPF if you are going to go out in the sun all day,” he says. Where there has been an emphasis on skincare in the form of separate serums, each based on a different ingredient, some companies are putting the focus on formulas that combine several in synergy. Tandem, a skincare line that launched in September with the slogan “time to free up some shelf space”, sells formulas including the More Than Moisturiser. It combines big-name skincare ingredients such as hyaluronic acid and squalane that are often sold as separate serums. “More than one of the formulators we met with asked us why we were combining these ingredients when we could have got four separate products out of them,” says co-founder Sophie Hinchliffe. Customers have asked for an eye cream, but “since our moisturisers can already be used on the eye area, it’s not something we’d do … Once you start using fewer products, you realise how little you need all those extra serums and creams,” she says. But can fewer products lead to the same effect? “Layering multiple products doesn’t mean you’ll increase the benefits to the skin,” says Brian Oh, founder of the K-beauty skincare brand Venn, whose products include an Age-Reversing All-In-One Concentrate designed to replace your toner, essence, serum, moisturiser and oil. “Chances are, you’re increasing the likelihood of the different active ingredients inactivating each other,” he says. Stefanie Williams, a dermatologist and the director of the Harley Street clinic Eudelo, agrees, describing the layering of single-ingredient serums as a “professional pet hate”. “My advice is not to be your own beauty ‘chemist’ but to rely on evidence-based combination products,” she says. “Also, the more layers, the higher the risk of clogged pores, with the possibly consequence of breakouts.” For those serious about cutting waste, shunning single-use products such as cleansing wipes and sheet masks is key. A year after Water UK revealed that 93% of the material blocking our sewers is, in fact, wet wipes, Mintel’s research reported that 11% less of us are using them to cleanse, while sheet masks have been dubbed “the new plastic straws” in terms of their detrimental environmental impact. Non-sustainable packaging just won’t cut it with the newly clued-up consumer. The ADC Beauty moisturiser is packaged in glass, with boxes made from recycled coffee cups, while Lush has started selling many of its cleansers in bar form to remove the need for packaging entirely. Tandem has Cosmos organic certification and products are packaged in recycled and recyclable materials, including a bioplastic derived from sugar cane. For the products remaining in our routines, sustainable packaging and non-toxic formulas are the most eco-friendly way to go.
Kat von D received comments such as ‘when you put art out there, you risk getting negative comments’ Photograph: Theo Wargo/WireImageKate von D, the tattoo artist and businesswoman, made an appearance on the TLC show LA Ink this week, got a new tattoo and posted a photo of it online. Sounds pretty on brand, right? But the art – which blacks out most of her left arm and covers up previous tattoos – is invoking a vociferous reaction.The backlash could be summed up with the headline “People Give Unsolicited Advice To Woman Who Changes Her Appearance”. In 2019, there is a special brand of hatred reserved for women who push boundaries with their appearance.Von D received comments such as: “Why would you do that your skin is so pretty why would you cover it up with black ink like that?” and “When you put art out there, you risk getting negative comments” (this is akin to another kind of advice which I like to call “Why You Are Asking For It Even Though You Never Asked”).Von D responded to the hate-mail – which included insightful comments such as “it’s ugly” and “you’re stupid” – on Tuesday. She expressed her confusion over why her tattoo inspired such a strong reaction, considering that tattoos are personal and vary widely in their meaning and execution. She further clarified that a lot of the ink she had covered up in black had been badly done at a time when when she was young and drunk – she has now been 12 years sober.> “Even though tattoos are an outward expression, they really aren’t for anyone else other than the person wearing it … Yes, I did decide to black out a large portion of old, crappy tattoos on my arm … Regardless of what people might think about it, I absolutely LOVE how simple and clean it looks now.”Von D before she covered in arm with black ink. Photograph: Theo Wargo/WireImageI can see why some might have find Von D’s tattoo shocking. At first it scared me – which says a lot more about my pain threshold than her taste in body art. But it would be remiss to forget that body modification has always incited intense reaction – from flesh-tunnels to bad tattoos – perhaps because it makes us think about our own fears of not fitting in.When I was younger, I used to have this very conversation with my dad all the time. He is socially conservative, religious and was born in Asia. He has a general fear of “westerners” and their “traditions’” – particularly piercings. He called it self-mutilation and used to spend hours berating those who chose to have them. But it confused me: I had my ears pierced when I was a baby, and I had a nose ring by the time I was 12. Both of those things were normal to my Dad, since they were commonly done in his home country. He didn’t put them in the same camp as septum piercings and stretched ears – but weren’t they all the same thing? Why are we fine with tattoos, unless it’s a blackout one? Is it really different from having a sleeve tattoo?Because surely the best example of someone feeling completely free and happy in their body is them using it whichever way they want to. Any woman hoping to cut her hair short, wear no makeup, or start lifting weights may as well go all the way and grow a third hand to give the finger to the Men With Opinions while she gets on with her day.
Timothée Chalamet in The King. Photograph: APLast month, in her standup special on Netflix, Jenny Slate said that women in Hollywood were pressured to have “the physique of Timothée Chalamet”. It was a hilarious, ever-so-brutal line about body politics that also gave a nod to Chalamet’s pop-culture dominance.A large part of this is due to his own personal style. He regularly reinvents the menswear wheel by pulling off outre high-fashion looks on the red carpet (think of his Louis Vuitton harness, the all-white Berluti Oscars suit and his recent shiny and spacey Haider Ackermann number, featuring an external cummerbund) with adorable effortlessness.Of course, he has his own tribe of fans (the “Chalamanaics”) who were divided when the trailer for the historical drama The King dropped in June, along with Chalamet’s big hair reveal: a bowl cut.Those behind the Twitter account Timothée Chalamet’s Hair were enamoured (“I. Am. Dead”) while others mourned the death of his wavy do (very much in the “it might be OK once we get home and run it under the cold tap” mould, unfavourably comparing it with Claire in series two of Fleabag). Indeed, for those of us who associate the “do” with a bedroom, a blunt pair of scissors and a reluctant sibling cutting around a Pyrex dish placed on your head, it may be surprising to hear that some labelled the bowl “the hottest haircut of the summer”.Chalamet’s was a bit messier than some pop-culture “bowls” of yore (think Spock from Star Trek or Jim Carrey in Dumb and Dumber) but it has started a celebrity trend. Harry Styles, Charlize Theron and Stranger Things’ Joe Keery all got one (Esquire lovingly labelled this “the Rob” after the Smooth hit-maker Rob Thomas). The key to the cut, as the hairstylist Ryo Murakawa told GQ: “Target the hair line above the ears and go as short as you can for the under-cut to get a severe bowl-cut shape, and then texturise the top section with a razor.” So far, so manageable. Less so is the trimming of the do, which needs to be done once or twice a week. Chalamaniacs, it may be time to get the Pyrex dish out.
Perfect for this season … from left: 80s-style dress, £34, and sequinned top, £28, both at Beyond Retro. Tiger print blouse, £30, and argyle sweater, £28, both Rokit. Dress, £29, Beyond Retro. Composite: Guardian DesignI don’t want to look retro. I think victory rolls are twee and I would not be seen dead in a nylon petticoat. I will go for a bare leg over a seamed stocking every time. Right now I want a cardigan that I can tuck into a midi skirt, but I want it sleek and neutral like the ones on the Chanel autumn/winter catwalk, not in a fuzzy pastel with embroidered flowers. So today, Mel Wilkinson, the Guardian’s stylist – a vision of contemporary chic in understated neutrals – and I have set ourselves a challenge. We are going secondhand shopping, but for this season’s looks. Can we find now clothes, without buying new clothes?Buying clothes secondhand is, after all, very fashionable. This is sustainable retail therapy, a feelgood fashion fix that doesn’t add to the environmental problem of clothing overproduction. In the US, the resale market has grown 21 times faster than the retail market in the past three years, with a ThredUp report this year predicting that the secondhand market could overtake fast fashion within a decade. In the UK, the younger generation of shoppers are returning to a taste for secondhand that their parents’ generation, raised on a ready-made diet of fast fashion, never cultivated. Eighty per cent of 16-21 year olds are happy to buy secondhand clothes – second only in their enthusiasm to the over-60s, of whom 90% are comfortable buying used garments – while less than a third of shoppers in their 30s and 40s are on board, according to a survey by Business Waste, a waste management agency.> If you want to find clothes that look current, don’t look at the labels – zoom in on coloursThe new higher profile of secondhand shopping is beginning to be felt on the high street. In Covent Garden in London, a new branch of Picknweight, a vintage kilo store that is already a cult destination in Berlin, had customers queueing down the street when it opened. Mel and I start our hunt for now-clothes-not-new-clothes next door, in the Shelton Street branch of Rokit, a vintage institution which has resold more than a million tonnes of preworn clothing since the first branch opened in Camden market in 1986. The shopfloor is vast, but Mel is dauntless. “Most vintage shops curate their pieces in a way that reflects current trends,” she says.In minutes she has unearthed a tan leather shirt – very Loewe, but a fraction of the price at £25.Secondhand hunting requires you to up your game as a shopper. Walk into a high street store and you will see ready-made looks, glossily presented on mannequins and helpfully merchandised with stock in different sizes and coordinating items. In a secondhand store, you have to move slower and look harder. You have to rewire your brain a little bit. It helps to remind yourself that while new clothes look the best they will ever look fluffed and spotlit on the shopfloor, secondhand is the opposite – these pieces undersell themselves on the shopfloor and come into their own once you get them home.Jess Cartner-Morley, left, and Mel Wilkinson go through the racks at Rokit in Covent Garden. Photograph: Jill Mead/The GuardianClare Lewis, founder of an online vintage boutique Retold, has a robustly non-retro aesthetic, having spent a decade designing for Topshop. “I started Retold to encourage people to see how vintage could be incorporated into a modern wardrobe and look contemporary, in the hope they would be inspired to shop vintage as an alternative to buying new,” she says. This is a great season to source vintage because “so many trends lean towards the 70s, 80s and 90s”.She tips hunting for trenchcoats, blazers, midi skirts and blouses to channel the bourgeois-lady look, as seen at Chloé and Burberry. Leather, as seen at Bottega Veneta and Isabel Marant this season, should be on your contemporary-vintage hit list, too. Leather is abundant in secondhand stores, but Lewis suggests narrowing down your shortlist by concentrating on tailored pieces in neutral, tonal shades of brown or grey.If you want to find clothes that look current, rather than designer bargains, don’t look at labels. Instead, zoom in on colours – anything beige, tan or gold is great for now. Or look for the skirt length of the moment – somewhere between midi and maxi. Rokit has lots of great silk blouses. We find a particularly good leopard print – very next-season Celine, down to the gold lurex thread running through it. Argyle-knit sweaters, as seen on the Gucci catwalk, are here too – there is a nice, snug burgundy one, in perfect condition, for £12. A tweed blazer with an embellished jewel collar is really quite Prada, and only £45. If 90s sportswear is your thing, you are spoilt for choice – lots of Reebok and Adidas hoodies, for about a tenner each.Holly Watkins is another fashion industry veteran and the founder of the online vintage boutique One Scoop Store. “The preconception with vintage is that it’s all brown 1970s polyester dresses, massive leather jackets or badly fitting tweed skirt suits, but that’s just not the case these days.”Her online edit features Molly Goddard-esque ruffles, brightly coloured tailoring and 70s-style chiffon and lace. “I recently had in an incredible geometric print kaftan dress cut in a circle, which was very similar in shape to a Margiela one I own. Another of my favourites lately was an emerald green metallic 1970s maxi which the customer styled with white leather ankle boots – the result was so modern,” she says.Jess and Melanie with their secondhand finds. Photograph: Jill Mead/The GuardianFrom Rokit, Mel and I move on to Beyond Retro, a warehouse-sized Aladdin’s cave of a shop near Brick Lane in east London. A flick through the rails soon turns up treasures: a tailored long-sleeved brown dress with a white, pearl-studded wing collar – very this-season Victoria Beckham for £29 – and a 1980s party dress with draped neckline and shoulder pads in glittery black velvet, which is pure Anthony Vaccarello-era Saint Laurent, for £25. To go with it, a beaded evening bag is just £9.There are racks of trenchcoats, piles of corduroys and acres of high-waisted denim, as well as a treasure trove of non-trend pieces, from ski wear to weekend bags. The circular economy is perfectly suited to fashion’s self-referential trend system. “Fashion is cyclical, after all,” says Lewis. “You can pretty much guarantee that the original of what you are looking for will be out there.”
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In the new series of The Crown, Olivia Colman sports one of the Queen’s most eye-catching headpieces. But royal hats have often turned heads over the years. As reviews for the third season of The Crown begin to trickle in, audiences watch the trailer on repeat, looking for hidden clues to what the latest instalment might entail. But in that trailer, there’s something that almost steals the show: the hat worn by the Queen for her Silver Jubilee celebrations in June 1977, controversial in its whimsy and ridiculed for its daring. Designed by the royal milliner Frederick Fox, it wrapped round the Queen’s head and matched the Hardy Amies ensemble she wore on the day. Hanging from the back were 25 pink bell flowers with green silken stems, symbolising her 25-year reign. Commentators were not kind about the hat. In a 1977 Guardian article, the Labour MP Neil Kinnock described the Jubilee as “an action replay with a lady in a pink hat that looks like a disconnected switchboard”. In the Washington Post, Sally Quinn described the colour of the Queen’s ensemble as “garish and inelegant”. Prone to interpretation as either a silent protest or fashion faux-pas, royal hats regularly prove controversial. “They are very often symbolic, and [royal designer Sir Norman] Hartnell was the one who brought the old practice of using symbolism with embroidery into modern dress,” says Michael Pick, whose Hartnell biography has just been published. “The hat is a substitute for a crown,” he adds. “People probably read far more into it than is intended.” Here are some other examples of royal hats that have raised eyebrows. The helmet hat Shaped like a helmet and embroidered with pearls, the Queen’s Tudor-inspired hat for the 1969 investiture of the Prince of Wales was designed by Hartnell and milliner Simone Mirman. It was quite a look. “Hartnell was very keen on adapting historical dress to suit modern times, particularly for the royal family,” says Pick. “The dresses they all wore for that were quite short for the time, and he had to have something which balanced with the outfit. He wanted something that reflected the history of Caernarfon castle, so that’s where the Tudor motif came from.” Despite the historical influence, some members of the public were reportedly unimpressed with the queen’s choice of headwear, having expected her to wear a crown for the occasion. The pretzel hat Perfectly symmetrical, beige and glittering slightly, the infamous Philip Treacy creation was perched on Princess Beatrice of York’s head at the 2011 wedding of Prince William and Catherine Middleton. Chaos ensued: her headwear was called everything from a toilet seat to a Turkey Twizzler to a pair of antlers, and a Facebook group dedicated to the hat accrued tens of thousands of likes in a matter of days. “There was a moment where I thought I would find myself with my head on a spike outside the Tower of London,” Treacy said of the backlash on BBC Radio 4. “But it was a very modern hat and modernity is always unusual things.” Princess Diana, not wearing a hat The Princess of Wales was known to ditch royal fashion rules when she saw no sense in them. Royals are supposed to wear hats and gloves at every formal occasion, but Diana was often seen without them when visiting towns or hospitals. Eschewing hats and gloves meant appearing more approachable, as she once reasoned: “You can’t cuddle a child in a hat.” The hat of the union In June 2017, while the Queen delivered her speech to parliament, detailing how the government was going to complete Brexit, all eyes were on Her Majesty’s head: her hat, by Stella McLaren, was a bright blue, five blue flowers with yellow cores stitched to the front. Could the Queen be a remainer? Apparently not: “It never occurred to Stella and me that people might think we were copying the European Union flag,” the Queen’s dresser Angela Kelly writes in her new memoir, The Other Side of the Coin. “It was a coincidence but, boy, did it attract a lot of attention, and it certainly made us smile.” The Queen wore the same hat to tea with President Trump in 2018, but the flowers had been replaced by a ribbon ... The beanie Angry Twitter users expressed their disgust when the Duchess of Cambridge was photographed wearing a beanie by designer Eugenia Kim with what looked like a fur pom-pom during the 2018 Scandinavian tour. Things quietened down quickly, though, when Kensington Palace explained that the fur was faux. “Today’s luxurious faux furs are fit for a queen – or a duchess,” said Elisa Allen, director of the animal charity Peta. A hat in Fiji Hats can be synonymous with tradition – or the breaking of it. On a 2018 royal tour, Meghan and Prince Harry were welcomed to Fiji with a traditional ceremony known as Veiqaravi Vakavanua. “No one is allowed to wear anything on their heads or have anything above their head, like an umbrella,” the journalist Rebecca English had tweeted before the ceremony. The Duchess of Sussex attended wearing a Stephen Jones hat, setting off a Twitter storm of disapproval and multiple articles. Jeans and a hat The Duchess of Sussex was also frowned upon for wearing jeans and a straw hat at Wimbledon to watch a Serena Williams match in July 2019. She wasn’t allowed to watch from the Royal Box (though it’s not clear if she wanted to) because jeans are not permitted there. The same goes for hats: the dress code dictates that spectators shouldn’t wear them out of respect for the people sitting behind.
Activists welcome Her Majesty’s move, in line with Prada and Gucci’s abandonment of fur – although she will still wear her existing fur items. A crown, diamond necklace and fur stole were once the bedrocks of the Queen’s going-out-out style, but in yet another revelation from the recent memoir by her senior dresser, Angela Kelly, it has been disclosed that, from this year, Elizabeth II has gone fur-free with her new outfits. “If Her Majesty is due to attend an engagement in particularly cold weather, from 2019 onwards fake fur will be used to make sure she stays warm,” writes Kelly, who has been dressing the Queen for 25 years, in The Other Side of the Coin: The Queen, the Dresser and the Wardrobe. “As new outfits are designed for the Queen, any fur used will be fake,” a palace representative confirmed to the Daily Telegraph – although she will continue to wear her existing fur items, including ceremonial robes. The news comes after similar announcements from a glut of big names in fashion. Italian fashion house Gucci announced it would go fur-free in 2017 and auction off all its remaining animal fur items. In 2018, London fashion week became the first of the big fashion events to commit to banning fur. When Prada announced it would stop using fur in its collections in May, activists hoped the move would reignite a campaign that had taken its foot off the pedal. Most recently, Macy’s announced it would stop selling fur items by February 2021, making it the biggest US retailer to do so, and last month California became the first US state to ban animal fur products. News that the Queen is following suit has been welcomed by animal rights activists. “Peta [People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals] staff are raising a glass of gin and Dubonnet to the Queen’s compassionate decision to go fur-free,” said the organisation’s director of international programmes, Mimi Bekhechi, who called the new policy “a sign of the times, as 95% of the British public also refuses to wear real fur”. Claire Bass, executive director of the Humane Society International, called the Queen’s decision to “go faux” from now on “the perfect reflection of the mood of the British public, the vast majority of whom detest cruel fur, and want nothing to do with it”. Her Majesty is no stranger to fur – she wore leopard-skin stoles in the 1950s and attended the opera draped in fur in the 40s. Peta used the news to call on the Queen to rethink the fur worn by members of the Queen’s Guard and “complete the policy by ordering that the fur be replaced by the humane, luxurious faux bearskin that Peta has helped develop alongside faux-furrier Ecopel and designer Stella McCartney”. The Humane Society International called on the government to make the UK the first country in the world to ban the sale of fur. Kelly’s book has also brought to light claims that the royal dresser wears in the Queen’s shoes before engagements, “to ensure they are comfortable and that she is always good to go”; that the Queen requested to say the line “ Good evening, Mr Bond” when she appeared alongside Daniel Craig during the Olympics opening ceremony in 2012, and that she was very happy to share a hug with Michelle Obama.
My friend Monty Passes, who has died aged 98, was a successful businessman, art collector and academic. Through the business investments he made in the 1950s and 60s, in women’s clothing and hairstyling, and promoting jeans as a fashion item, he played a part in shaping the “look” of mid-20th-century Britain. Monty was born in Highgate, north London, to Rebecca (nee Schwalbe) and Albert Passes, both from immigrant Jewish families. He and his brother, Norman, attended University College school, Hampstead. Monty left at 14, joining his father’s handbag manufacturing business. He enlisted for military service in June 1940 and his first night in the army was spent in Hammersmith library. During artillery training later that year, at Wormwood Scrubs, he received an ear injury that meant he was invalided out. After the second world war, in partnership with Charles and Monty Burkeman, Monty established a women’s garment manufacturing company with the label Charmont. This company became a nationwide operation and was ultimately listed on the stock exchange as Helene of London. The two Montys also backed the young hair stylist Vidal Sassoon, investing in his first two salons. A fellow businessman, Willi Gertler, advised them to import blue jeans – then viewed as workers’ clothing – and they became the first and exclusive European traders for Levi’s, with enormous success. Monty’s keen eye extended to art, and he and his second wife, the American actor Barbara Cooper, amassed a largely European and British post-impressionist collection. He retired in the 70s and returned to education. After a BA in English literature at what is now Middlesex University, he took a master’s in political philosophy at the London School of Economics in 1985, then started PhD studies at the LSE in 1991. According to Professor Rodney Barker, Monty’s PhD supervisor, he was constantly inspired by the experimental and the unexpected – in art, literature and politics. If you mentioned a review of a new book, Monty would already have read it. He achieved his PhD aged 73 with a thesis on the Christian socialist RH Tawney. Monty was a founder member of the leftwing discussion group the Anjou Club, which met monthly at the Gay Hussar restaurant in Soho. In the 50s, he supported and befriended various blacklisted American actors and directors, such as Sam Wanamaker, who found refuge in Britain from Joseph McCarthy’s communist witch-hunts. Monty was a lifelong member of the Labour party. His long, active and socially engaged life was marred by dementia in his final years. Barbara, whom he married in 1955, died in 2011. Monty is survived by their daughter, Patricia, and by three children, Alan, Judith, Barbara, from his first marriage, to Betty Glicksmann, which ended in divorce; and by seven grandchildren and eight great-grandchildren.