Get shorty

The mini-skirt is making another comeback on the catwalk, so it's okay to flash those pins. Hurrah for chic and short, cries James Sherwood

James Sherwood
Saturday 31 May 1997 23:02
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As the Stock Market rises, so does the skirt length, or so goes one of the most enduring fashion myths - though one can hardly imagine Eddie George in the front row at Versace eagerly awaiting Gianni's fiscal forecast. As a fashion issue, skirt length is as predictable as an elevator: first it goes up, then it goes down. And, according to US Vogue, this month the mini skirt is having yet another renaissance.

Plum Sykes, fashion features editor of American Vogue, says, "Everything has been knee length for the past two years. You just didn't see women wearing minis because the designers weren't making them. Every woman in New York is wearing minis now." US designer Michael Kors showed the "Slice Skirt" this season, a 10in mini which heralded the return of short short. "The difference now is that the mini is more tailored, slightly A-line and smarter," says Sykes. "New Yorkers wouldn't dream of wearing the tight, Eighties, stretch mini."

It doesn't take a genius to work out who is the prime suspect behind US Vogue's mini moment. Anna Wintour, the 48-year-old editor and epitome of taut and tight-lipped glamour, clung to her minis even when her magazine told us all to wear long. When she edited British Vogue, there were tales of Wintour hacking at hemlines with a pair of pinking shears when a collection came into the office. Some say she was the power behind the dressing of that decade. ("She didn't want to follow fashion," explains Sykes. "She wanted to make it." And she did.)

Unlike the boxy power-jacket, the mini is a style many women felt relatively comfortable with and were sad to see the back of. Minis were infinitely preferable to the difficult lengths designers have tried to foist on us in the early Nineties. Remember the A-line on the knee? The ankle-length shroud skirt? The micro-mini pussy pelmet?

The tight, straight, short skirt is practical, comfortable and flattering. The trick is to wear it well in the Nineties. Opaque tights may be a fashion mistake now, but the fashion editor's friend - the brown, crochet-knit stocking - hasn't compensated for the loss. Elle senior fashion editor, Claudia Navone, has already styled minis her way for the August issue. Elle gave me a sneak preview. "Claudia has put the new mini with heels; particularly spike-heel thigh-boots." The thigh-boot is for women who want leg coverage or to look like Honor Blackman in The Avengers. "Claudia does wear spike-heel shoes and ankle socks with her minis," they add, "but that's more aspirational. Sheer tights are right for the new mini."

As US Vogue acknowledges, skirt length is no longer an issue as long as it is worn well. Nobody takes much notice of skirt-length predictions from the catwalk any more. If you bought a good quality Joseph mini a couple of seasons ago, you aren't going to ditch it and go into designer purdah just because Karl Lagerfeld tells you to cover your legs.

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