Style Police: Hip replacement: just say No! to granny dressing

Frumpy, dumpy and lumpy. Spring's orthopaedic chic may be comfortable but, by God, it's ugly. Now fashion editors are coming out of the closet and admitting it, says James Sherwood

In a FIT of social consciousness, designers are turning to OAPs for inspiration this spring. Mrs Merton's fashion moment has finally arrived. On supervamp Shalom Harlow, big black knickers worn under a flesh-coloured chiffon shift were Dolce e Gabbana's homage to the Forties Betty Grable bathing beauty. (Never mind if they make mere mortals look like Beryl Reid in Entertaining Mr Sloane or, more precisely, mutton dressed as lamb.)

Once you are trussed up in your big knickers, why not slip into a sensible, below-the-knee skirt from Prada, a cardigan-coat with a ratty piece of fur tacked on the collar and cuffs from Anna Sui, and Patrick Cox's beige, block-heel, sensible brogues? Follow the fashion rules for this season and you'll be all the rage at the whist drive, darling.

Madonna, no spring chicken herself, was spotted lunching with Goldie Hawn at London restaurant Nobu wearing the aforementioned cardi-coat and a nice pair of clumpy shoes with a T-bar to show-off her flesh-coloured tights. Madonna is, in short, a model of Orthopaedic Chic. As Lily Savage says, "You know you're getting old when you find yourself in Marks & Spencer saying, 'Look at those beautiful slacks!'" We can't blame Madonna for eschewing conical bras and bondage heels in her new role as single mother. But does she have to dress like Coronation Street's Emily Bishop to display her maternal instincts?

"When I challenged the Prada Granny style," says Vogue fashion features director Lisa Armstrong, "I had more response from readers, colleagues and designers than for any other report I had written."

On a working trip to Russia, Armstrong photographed the archaic swirly carpets and garish wallpaper in her hotel, because they looked exactly like Miuccia Prada's offensive Seventies-print collection two seasons ago. It is Vogue's duty, as undisputed fashion-industry bible, to present the most important themes each season. "But most people have an instinct for their own style," says Armstrong. "If you think something is ugly, then don't buy it - even if it is photographed in Vogue."

Brenda Polan, style director at the Daily Mail, has also blown the whistle on Miuccia's "ironic" granny prints. "So powerful is the lure of the Prada label," she wrote, "(and in particular its discreet little black and silver triangular logo) that those under its sway were not leaving without buying something, anything - however ill-fitting, unflattering, tacky-looking and overpriced."

Prada may have gone minimal for Autumn/Winter, but that still means a Spring/Summer of what has been billed the New Femininity. Frilly blouses and floral prints? We're getting dangerously close to Mrs Merton country again. The good news is, as Armstrong says, women have so many choices in fashion now that Orthopaedic Chic can be almost universally ignored. Communications analyst Wendy Abrams says, "Designers don't take young women's figures into account with below-the-knee skirts. They aren't flattering for your calves. And women under 40 just won't buy big knickers."

"You only wear big knickers if they are the last thing in your underwear drawer," says interior designer Columbine Strickland. "A friend of mine did veer towards the Granny-style. She had a below-the knee, tweed skirt that looked as though she was wrapped in a blanket whenever she sat down. When I told her to accessorise it with a hot-water bottle and half-moon glasses, she got the hint."

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Life and Style
ebookNow available in paperback
ebooks
ebookA delicious collection of 50 meaty main courses
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs General

    Recruitment Genius: Sales Administrator - Spanish Speaking

    £17000 - £21000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a fantastic opportunity...

    Recruitment Genius: Sales Administrator - German Speaking

    £17000 - £23000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a fantastic opportunity...

    Recruitment Genius: Sales Administrator - Japanese Speaking

    £17000 - £23000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: If you are fluent in Japanese a...

    Recruitment Genius: Graphic Designer - Immediate Start

    £16000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a fantastic opportunity...

    Day In a Page

    Is this the future of flying: battery-powered planes made of plastic, and without flight decks?

    Is this the future of flying?

    Battery-powered planes made of plastic, and without flight decks
    Isis are barbarians – but the Caliphate is a dream at the heart of all Muslim traditions

    Isis are barbarians

    but the Caliphate is an ancient Muslim ideal
    The Brink's-Mat curse strikes again: three tons of stolen gold that brought only grief

    Curse of Brink's Mat strikes again

    Death of John 'Goldfinger' Palmer the latest killing related to 1983 heist
    Greece debt crisis: 'The ministers talk to us about miracles' – why Greeks are cynical ahead of the bailout referendum

    'The ministers talk to us about miracles'

    Why Greeks are cynical ahead of the bailout referendum
    Call of the wild: How science is learning to decode the way animals communicate

    Call of the wild

    How science is learning to decode the way animals communicate
    Greece debt crisis: What happened to democracy when it’s a case of 'Vote Yes or else'?

    'The economic collapse has happened. What is at risk now is democracy...'

    If it doesn’t work in Europe, how is it supposed to work in India or the Middle East, asks Robert Fisk
    The science of swearing: What lies behind the use of four-letter words?

    The science of swearing

    What lies behind the use of four-letter words?
    The Real Stories of Migrant Britain: Clive fled from Zimbabwe - now it won't have him back

    The Real Stories of Migrant Britain

    Clive fled from Zimbabwe - now it won’t have him back
    Africa on the menu: Three foodie friends want to popularise dishes from the continent

    Africa on the menu

    Three foodie friends want to popularise dishes from the hot new continent
    Donna Karan is stepping down after 30 years - so who will fill the DKNY creator's boots?

    Who will fill Donna Karan's boots?

    The designer is stepping down as Chief Designer of DKNY after 30 years. Alexander Fury looks back at the career of 'America's Chanel'
    10 best statement lightbulbs

    10 best statement lightbulbs

    Dare to bare with some out-of-the-ordinary illumination
    Wimbledon 2015: Heather Watson - 'I had Serena's poster on my wall – now I'm playing her'

    Heather Watson: 'I had Serena's poster on my wall – now I'm playing her'

    Briton pumped up for dream meeting with world No 1
    Wimbledon 2015: Nick Bollettieri - It's time for big John Isner to produce the goods to go with his thumping serve

    Nick Bollettieri's Wimbledon Files

    It's time for big John Isner to produce the goods to go with his thumping serve
    Dustin Brown: Who is the tennis player who knocked Rafael Nadal out of Wimbeldon 2015?

    Dustin Brown

    Who is the German player that knocked Nadal out of Wimbeldon 2015?
    Ashes 2015: Damien Martyn - 'England are fired up again, just like in 2005...'

    Damien Martyn: 'England are fired up again, just like in 2005...'

    Australian veteran of that Ashes series, believes the hosts' may become unstoppable if they win the first Test