Wednesday, January 11, 2006

Fashion Predictions 2006

This time last year, I made my usual rash fashion predictions. Now it's time to evaluate them and come up with more.

1. Fluoro colours.
Just today I saw a chick walking down Rathdowne Street wearing a hot-red jumper. You know: that very bright red. I liked it so much that I remarked to Amanda how nice it was. But other than people who like to wear retro clothes, my prediction of fluorescent pink and red as the colours to watch didn't exactly come true, although Supre is bringing in those kind of bright colours for summer. Instead, the hot colours of 2005 were aqua, mint green, rusty pinks and reds, and metallic shades of gold, bronze and pewter.

In general, my colour predictions stemmed from a larger prediction of a kind of 60s and 70s modernist aesthetic. This turned out to be horribly wrong, as boho ruled the racks for yet another year. Personally, I find 'boho' an overly busy and reprehensible style, but its persistence in fashion cycles is fascinating as a cultural phenomenon. There is another post in this...

2. Neckerchiefs.
Well, obviously I was spearheading this trend myself with my Jaunty Pussy look. For a large part of the year, I took to wearing a silk scarf or ribbon around my neck, tied in a pussy-bow. More recently, I've modified the look to include the wearing of men's ties in pussy-bows. I have also experimented with pinning brooches and button badges across the knot, which I have found provides a satisfyingly jaunty effect.

By May, scarves were declared to be back, vindicating me. I still see the occasional young rock scenester with a neckerchief on. Curiously enough, waistcoats and braces came back in 2005, for both men and women, and there is a certain category of Melbourne hipster who gets about looking like something from the Ecky Thump episode of The Goodies:

"Eee bah gum!"

There was a cute episode in December where I was chatting to one of these creatures and described his outfit as "ultraviolent". He mustn't have heard me properly because he replied, "Um, no, it doesn't glow in the dark."

3. Backwards stuff.
I tried wearing Jaunty Pussy bows backwards, especially if the ribbon ends were very long and dangled down the back, but it never looked right on me. That said, I did notice women wearing scarves tied in their hair with the ends dangling down the back. But really, there wasn't much conviction behind this prediction. And it didn't really happen.

4. Long dangly single-stranded necklaces.
I'm pleased to say that I was totally on the money on this front. I had been envisaging necklaces with jewelled pendants, or perhaps the ones consisting of lengths of chain interspersed with pearls and faceted glass beads. These were indeed in fashion, especially Victorian-looking faux jet beads, and necklaces with ribbon bows attached. Long strings of different-coloured and shaped beads were also in fashion: the sort I used to call 'ethnic'. I had one of those in my early teens, until it broke one day on Swanston Street and the beads went everywhere, unable to be retrieved. If it had remained intact I'd have worn it this year.

But a welcome addition, and one I didn't predict, was the popularity of large, chunky necklaces made of brightly coloured plastic or wooden beads. Ranging in size from small beads at the nape to enormous ones dangling between the breasts, these were available in all sorts of shops, and I loved them but couldn't afford them. However, I have got lots of mileage out of some plastic necklaces that I already had: a long strand of white beads, and a short necklace of red beads that I call my "Marge Simpson".

And now to my 2006 Fashion Predictions!

1. Back to School
Blazers covered in button badges have been around for years on the indie scene, and they were popular in the mainstream (Jeans West was pushing them particularly hard) earlier in 2005. I predict that more nostalgic, preppy images of school are going to make a comeback in 2006. White shirts with t-shirts underneath and stripey ties askew. Ribbons worn around ponytails. Ankle and knee socks. Button-down print minidresses. Mary-Jane shoes and T-bar sandals. Oversized jumpers with holes in the wristbands to stick your thumbs through. In fact, because nothing at school ever fits properly, I predict that outfits will be put together with one deliberately too-small or too-large item.

Pencil cases carried as clutch purses or, with straps added, as little handbags. I already use an aqua-blue vinyl pencilcase as a carry-all in my bag to ensure I never have to scrabble around for pens, tampons, lipsticks, USB disks and the like. It's the sort that has clear windows and letters you can cut out and insert to spell out your name. My mother would never let me have one in primary school - she thought they were tacky. Well, I had my revenge!

2. Slinky stencil-print dresses
70s wrap dresses in the Diane von Furstenberg style are one of the key Jaunty Pussy looks, and I was most satisfied to see them become fashionable this spring and summer. It seems every second chick is wearing that wrap dress with a vaguely tropical stencilled print like a vintage aloha shirt - it comes in red and white, green and white and navy and beige, and costs anything from $40 to $90, depending on the poshness of the shop - I've seen it in Studio Girl ("cheapest price in town") and other Asian import stores, as well as in more upmarket boutiques. In September I pulled out my old 60s-style red and white print sundress and got plenty of compliments on it. And I just bought a slinky dress from Supre in a safari-esque black and white print.

This year I think bold prints are going to come back in - think Hawaiian meets William Morris. The prints will look like woodcuts or stencils. The fabrics won't be crisp cottons, but slinky silks and jerseys. Check out some stuff from Furstenberg's Spring 2006 collection, as shown at the recent New York Fashion Week:

After summer the tropical stuff won't be as popular, but I predict lush Art Nouveau designs like something out of a Klimt painting. We may even see a return to the Orientalist kimono top trend of 2003.

3. Alice in Wonderland
At the end of 2004 Gwen Stefani's "What You Waiting For" video was all over the television, and she was appearing on TV and in magazines wearing this nutty Alice in Wonderland garb. It's wonderfully excessive: part dandy; part bling; part Marie Antoinette. It's a combination of prissiness and sluttiness with a faintly surreal sense of the absurd.

I wouldn't have thought anyone in their right mind would wear this stuff. But considering the moderate success of Jaunty Pussy in 2005, I think people will be open to wearing more formal, old-fashioned-looking stuff in 2006, but giving it a casual twist. Also, given what I've observed recently with the Clockwork Orange hipsters, doesn't this chick look capable of a bit of the old ultraviolence?

I found this picture at New York magazine, where they were espousing an Andy Warhol-esque Pop Art aesthetic as an 'autumn look'. Let's bear in mind that Factory Girl, the Edie Sedgewick biopic starring odiously bland 'style icon' Sienna Miller, is slated for release this year. And look at the high-necked blouse with the graffiti t-shirt underneath - that sort of layering is a look I pointed to almost a year ago.

Obviously I don't expect the average person to wear such ridiculous clothes. I think it will diffuse into a slightly dandyish, layered look that combines decadent tailoring with streetwear.

Happy new fashion year! Let's hope my rash predictions have some basis in reality this year.