FUN DE S I EC L E

It's New Year's Eve, 1999, and fashion's great and good are out on the town. But where are they heading?
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The Independent Culture
ONE FRONT page too many of sunkissed ubermodel Claudia Schiffer snuggling up to bronzed ubermagician David Copperfield sparked off The Great Fashion Purge of 1999. Outraged to find that daily news had now been relegated to a footnote under the cartoons to accommodate the phenomenal volume of model trivia, readers finally snapped. Joined by other anti- fashion movements sporting "Never Air-Kissed and Proud of It" badges, the mob ran amok, brandishing torches made from rolled-up posters of Eva Herzegova's bust and remaindered copies of Naomi Campbell's latest novel.

Chanting crowds converged on Knightsbridge, where there were ugly clashes with hardcore shopaholics. In Mayfair, scuffles broke out when trend-busting vigilantes out scouting for fashion editors in Prada spotted a coachload of nurses and chased them up a blind alley by mistake. Meanwhile, at a bus stop in Kensington, John Galliano, overheard telling a Panorama film crew that it took 18 hours to weave his dreadlocks, was set upon by little old ladies with sensible perms.

With riots nationwide in the face of another bitter winter of Sixties revivals, hipster trousers and padded bottoms by Vivienne Westwood, the government held out a conciliatory offer, limiting the wearing in public of all Gianni Versace clothing to two hours on a Friday night in dimly- lit areas of Essex - but without the dangly bits; an idea challenged by Versace, who insisted that dangly medallions were his raison d'etre. "Like your own dear Queen, I too am having the anus horrible," he said, as the government fell.

The ensuing victory for the Had-It-Up-To-Here-With-Trends Party ushered in the current period of radical reform: a ban on artfully arranged taupe jumpers and wildly disinterested sales assistants in designer boutiques; therapy sessions for fashion PRs unable to write press releases without cruelly abusing the word "fresh"; and high security detention centres for stylists who advocate lime green and nylon for summer. Says an official: "It's pitiful to watch them shuffling about in their trainspotter anoraks, crying out: 'Free champagne, free champagne' - but somehow you get used to it." !

Clockwise, from top left : four Prada fashion victims; Roxanne Lowitt, photographer; Joe McKenna, stylist; Manolo Blahnik; Gianfranco Ferre; Donatella Versace; Calvin Klein; Steven Meisel; Bruce Weber; Giorgio Armani; Joseph; Gianni Versace; Naomi Campbell; Madonna; Rifat Ozbek; Anna Sui; Anna Piaggi; Azzedine Alaia; Andre Leon Talley; Christian Lacroix; John Galliano; Vivienne Westwood; Jean Paul Gaultier; Valentino; Ralph Lauren; Stefano Gabbana and Domenico Dolce; Kate Moss; Anna Wintour; Karl Lagerfeld; Suzy Menkes; and a tricoteuse

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