Shock news... Clubbing is really cool

Yes, American designers have discovered club styles. Club styles of five years ago, that is...
Click to follow
Indy Lifestyle Online
WE'VE ALWAYS known that Chanel's Karl Lagerfeld sends minions onto the London club scene as inspiration ambassadors. Where else would the forgettable Chanel double-C trainer or gilt chain Evian-holder have come from? The designers who actually do shake a tail feather in clubland - such as Galliano, Gaultier and Berardi - are wise enough to leave the hooded tops, sleeveless puffas and combat pants on the street where they belong.

So it was with some dismay that Style Police read "Rave Review" and Steven Meisel's "Techno Colour" fashion spread, in January's US Vogue. Designer Marc Jacobs explains his $800 fleece hooded tops and pounds 3500 mink puffa jackets as "not holding a mirror up to the street ... just taking a look at those proportions and colours and trying to interpret them in a very sophisticated way".

Jacobs is not alone in his mission to play Pygmalion with London street style. Cerruti, Ferregamo and Laurel have all featured de luxe hooded tops for Spring/Summer 98. Isaac Mizrahi, Donna Karan and Calvin Klein have always been influenced by sportswear shapes. American design is built on the cornerstone of sports couture. But we're talking about the London clubber's take on sports style and we're essentially talking about an anti-fashion statement that gave birth to grunge in the early Nineties. Combat pants are the jeans of the Nineties. They have been for at least five years. But clubbers have moved on.

US Vogue declaring "Rock-star style is dead. Is America ready for the techno revolution?" is like Boris Yeltsin saying "The Tsar is dead. Are we ready for Communism?" Techno and urban warriors are not where it's at in the clubs. "Any kind of sub-culture is so quickly sanitised by the media," says Steve Beale, editor of London club mag, Sleaze Nation. "Club culture is so fragmented now. I hate the urban warrior uniform. Club style is fickle and individual. We're going back to more dressy, wild, rock 'n' roll style. You can't dip into one club, water down individual style and flog it as a high fashion uniform. If you want to know what's happening at street level, you have to be in clubs every night."

But for fashion to try to peddle club wear smacks of desperation. The very thought of a Park Avenue matron donning her hooded top and Ferregamo silver puffa is tantamount to The Prodigy in Armani.

Donatella Versace admits that she hired four hip kitties from St Martins as consultants for mainline Versace; another example of fashion's quest for eternal youth. It shows. Berardi-style viscose mohair straps, McQueen trousers slashed at the buttocks and Julien MacDonald knits scream St Martins MA student copying his idols. US Vogue praised Donatella's decision to use The Crystal Method to do the music for the Versus show - only complaining that Posh Spice was in the audience. The trouble with street style is that it moves too quickly for even fashion to keep up, as anyone who has seen Spiceworld will tell you. Posh Spice is our Evita for the Nineties: common as muck, delusions of grandeur and dreams come true. What could be more Nineties than that?

Maybe London should be flattered that high fashion is taking high street style onto the catwalk. Steve Beale thinks that "high fashion misses the tongue-in-cheek aspect of club style". Style Police thinks the fashion industry should stick to the Met Bar.

Comments