So welcome back, then, to glimmering shellac fabrics, to snug jackets that curve and cling to the body and trousers that flare from wall to wall.
Welcome back to strappy, patent shoes as they move from being a jarring accessory on the catwalk into the mainstream. And welcome to a different slip dress, metamorphosed in trashy, sweetie-wrapper satin and now far less wholesome than those milk-and-honey, floaty muslin slips worn with bare feet or flip-flops.
At least, that's the image. It's slick, it's strong, it's reminiscent of those kooky, slightly kinky photographs Helmut Newton used to snap for French Vogue. It's reminiscent, too, of the super-slick high-colour photographs of the late Guy Bourdin, in whose universe everything was artificial.
Sure it's a revival. It's DISCO In fashion terms, you might chart its return from the sighting of an orange spangled boob-tube at an Yves Saint Laurent couture show over a year ago. But perhaps that was an accident, a re-issue of a classic rather than a revival? With Saint Laurent, who these days looks backward more than forward, it is hard to tell. But the hint of the Seventies was certainly deliberate a year later at Christian Lacroix's couture show. Of course now, as in the Seventies, the bulk of trashy pieces come with much lower price-tags.
Ah, but you thought the Seventies had been and gone in the comeback stakes? You thought last year was the Seventies revival? And so it was. But that was Abba and ric-rac braid and John Travolta in Saturday Night Fever trousers; it was the excitement of the decade-that-style-forgot for those too young to have seen it rear up and embarrass them. This time round, it's coming direct from planet Cosmopolitan (where Punk never happened), somewhere around 1977, when Charlie's Glide On lip gloss promised 'the wettest, juciest new look for lips', foundations were shiny and eyeshadows were iridescent.
Faces are again being made-up to look like cover girls Janice Dickinson and Kim Basinger (when the latter was still a big-haired model before being tweaked into a tousle-haired Hollywood star).
Now, in place of the waif's no make-up requirement, comes the return of the make-up bag and the queue for the mirror in the loos at Ladies nites - also back - as are glittering disco orbs, now available in inflatable versions.
Dancing, rather than posing, has returned as an after-dark activity. Handbags to dance around must be on the cusp of a comeback, too; a few have already been spotted. The Brighton Festival recently premired a new play called Handbag, and Vague, the best club in Leeds, has taken one as its motif. For music, it's Pulp and St Etienne, who delight in their trash aesthetic, or remixes and reruns of Van McCoy and Sheila B Devotion.
At Vogue, which the fashion world still views as its paper of record, an old Seventies trick is being recycled right now. It is one that Janice Dickinson, Kim Basinger, Jerry Hall, et al would remember. It is called ring-flash, casts a sharp bolt of light and tends to give models red-eye (funny that, when camera manufacturers are forever coming up with gizmos to avoid it).
What we're seeing in clothing, music and images is a modern synthesis rather than a carbon copy of what went before. We are used to fashion making Post-Modern, ironic reissues of trends past. Glamour is just one of many. But there is a vigour to this one that gives it an appealing verve after the victim-like waifs that have dominated fashion imagery for the last five minutes. This look is for the glossy girl in high heels, hand on hips and a man at her feet. Or at least, that's the image.
(Photographs omitted)Reuse content