Fashion: Written on the body
Your T-shirt says more about you than mere personality ever can.
Wednesday 05 August 1998
In the past few years we've had the kiddies' T-shirt trend, thanks to Paula Yates and Yasmin Le Bon plundering their daughters' wardrobes for Little Miss Trouble, Minnie Mouse and their ilk; and the Trainspotting trend when everyone wanted one like Ewan McGregor's, which was an original Seventies number that should have stayed in the 5p bin at Oxfam.
More recently the unisex street label YMC have taken a graph paper print and put it on T-shirts, Vivienne Westwood cuts them on the bias and charges pounds 105 for the privilege, and high street stores Warehouse and French Connection cover them with beads and sequins. A sign of the times, certainly, but there are some obsessives who go to greater lengths for the ultimate T- shirt.
Fashion designer John Rocha, for example, has 12 identical white T-shirts made for him twice a year because the design (his own from three years ago) flatters his shape. He is not alone. Kenneth Mackenzie, the designer of men's label 6876, has a thing about Agnes B and Comme des Garcons long- sleeved T-shirts and always makes sure he's stocked up.
Mackenzie and Rocha represent the purist approach. Anyone with more than a passing interest in looking well turned out - ie anyone who works in fashion, arts or design-related fields - will have a bit of this purist streak in their blood. The shape, style, fabric and colour -black, white or grey - must be just so (mine's a Gap slim-fit V-neck that, annoyingly, has been discontinued). Stylist Holly Wood favours an early Eighties Vivienne Westwood Seditionaries T-shirt). Once the right T-shirt is found it is difficult to change, and everyone has their own favourite.
Aside from black, white and grey classics, however, there is another world of T-shirts out there. The big and baggy, that can be bought from any market; the sporty, such as Adidas, Nike and Tommy Hilfiger, and the tiny, from kid's shops. The trendy, the arty and the cool are a different matter and are subject to personal tastes, but this lot are a pretty good example. We spent all weekend putting them on customers at a McDonald's drive-thru in East London.
One of the favourites of the day was from Antoni & Alison, the duo who changed the face of T-shirt fashion in the early Nineties by plastering "Love It" across the front of a classic tee. They began a fad for slogan T-shirts that proclaimed everything about their wearer from "Babe" to "Whore".
"The lipstick one is about all the things you can find in your make-up case," says Antoni, whose passion for the T-shirt has not waned after 10 years in the business. "When we first started to work with them it was because the T-shirt was taken for granted and overlooked. Then it became something we could play with." And play with it they do. Their latest bestseller is printed simply with "1974".
"We had a guy drive up to the shop on Saturday in his big car who walked in, bought 1974, and walked out wearing it."
According to Antoni "1974" can mean anything. Alison says: "It reminds me of the year I played the little lamb in a nativity play." Antoni reveals: "I was experimenting with my Ziggy Stardust-inspired hair and make-up."
Unfortunately 1974 was out of stock at the time of the shoot, but we are reliably informed that there will be more by the end of the week. Tamsin Blanchard is on holiday
Oeuf, enquiries 0171-379 4660
Born Free mail order and enquiries 0171-837 4757
Generic Costume and Union
from Browns Focus, enquiries
French Connection, nationwide enquiries 0171-399 7200
YMC available nationwide, enquiries 0171-251 8861
Antoni and Alison, available from Selfridges, Oxford Street, London W1, and the Antoni & Alison
shop, stockist enquiries
Watch the new House of Cards series three trailerTV
Oscars 2015It was the first time Barney has compered the Academy Awards
Oscars 2015 From Meryl Streep whooping Patricia Arquette's equality speech to Chris Pine in tears
Oscars 2015 Mexican filmmaker uses speech to urge 'respect' for immigrants
TV ReviewThe intrigue deepens as we delve further but don't expect any answers just yet
Razzies 2015 Golden Raspberry Awards 'honours' Cameron Diaz and Kirk Cameron
Arts & Ents blogs
- 1 Home Office says Nigerian asylum-seeker can’t be a lesbian as she’s got children
- 2 What happens to your body when you give up sugar?
- 3 Japanese island overrun with cats after population explodes
- 4 Apple and Google users being spied on for a decade because of 'Freak' security flaw
- 5 Have sex with your iPad thanks to the new sex toy no-one asked for
Kurt Cobain's life and death: Montage of Heck film uses unseen footage to tell Nirvana frontman's story
Fifty Shades of Grey movie shows first sex scene 'after 40 minutes'
Drugs Live: Twitter responds to Jon Snow and Jennie Bond smoking cannabis
Jimmy McGovern's new TV series 'Banished': Why Australia's past has such resonance today
The Walking Dead, Remember, review: The discovery of a new community leads Rick to a dark decision
'Jihadi John': CAGE representative storms off Sky News accusing Kay Burley of Islamophobia
Durham Free School: 'Creationism taught at' free school facing closure
Nearly 100,000 of Britain's poorest children go hungry after parents' benefits are cut
Ukip would cut billions from Scottish budget to fund English tax cuts
End of the licence fee: BBC to back radical overhaul of how it is funded
Ukraine crisis: Top Chinese diplomat backs Putin and says West should 'abandon zero-sum mentality'