Fashion-Off the peg: Wear it's at
Stand by to ditch those long skirts and black accessories. Melanie Rickey has seen the future, and it's on screen
Saturday 02 January 1999
These are the dead-cert fashion trends. Long hair; the poncho - peasant or utility style (not Mexican); jeans with embroidery and bits and bobs stuck on them (Gucci); denim dresses (Gucci, Hussein Chalayan); not wearing black; moccasin boots (Gucci again); colour in everything (clothes, hair, make-up); grooming, ie, looking effortless with great effort.
Prada Sport, and its imitators, will be massive this year. The spin-offs perhaps more so as they reach the high street. What we'll be wearing is a fashion version of function and utility clothing, and this has been building up steadily throughout the latter half of this decade. It started with combat pants, trainers and sweats, and it's ended up repackaged with a red line on it. The Prada Sport moulded shoes, for example, are already as collectible as vintage trainers.
It won't stop there. The utility trend will boom, with a new-look bag/rucksack which is worn anywhere but the back. Mandarina Duck is at the forefront of this with its Task-Bag - which it is calling "an extension of the body" - and the catchline for the product is "aren't you tired of that shoulder bag yet?". See them, use them, and fall in love. You'll never be scrabbling for your keys or mobile again. See also: Miu Miu, Louis Vuitton, Celine, Helmut Lang, Vexed Generation and, before too long, Top Shop for utility bags. In a league of its own (but hardly utility) is the Chanel 2005.
But the biggest trend of the year is not a shoe or a bag. It's a TV show. The sexiest, funniest, most fabulous programme ever is screened in the UK for the first time on Channel 4 at 10pm on 3 February. It's called Sex and the City and is based on the real-life, must-read column, and then book of the same name written by Candace Bushnell. The star of the show is Sarah Jessica Parker, who plays early thirtysomething Carrie Bradshaw, a self-proclaimed "sexual anthropologist" who writes a weekly newspaper column about how to have a sex life in New York. She and her three friends, Charlotte York (rich art dealer), Samantha Jones (rich PR supremo) and Miranda Hobbs (corporate lawyer), hang out, shop, groom, do parties, fashion shows, nightclubs, yoga, and sex, and look fabulous doing it. Within two weeks you'll know who your favourite is. Before long you'll start wishing there was a nail-bar downstairs, and wondering where Carrie gets her clothes, and who does her hair. That's a promise
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