“History always repeats itself”, a common trope and a popular one. Most people use it to moan about politics or ponder it when a friend forgives a cheating boyfriend. But not many realise its force in the fashion industry, a place where it has never been more suited.
We all know that politics repeats itself. That mistakes are made and not learnt from. Regardless of personal feelings, it’s clear that Brexit is just another case of Parliament not keeping up with the public’s needs. ’70s fashion may be back but its politics aren’t – well not yet. Or maybe it can be said that Corbyn is the heir to Michael Foot with matching suits to boot. But enough of Westminster what about Vogue?
Remember those times you laughed at your parents’ 80s leg warmers, that photo of your Dad with a mullet, and maybe acid wash jeans? What about those chokers your mum used to wear. Do they now seem familiar? The truth is, as much as we laugh at the horrors of fashion from days gone by, we continue to incorporate it into our modern life and this year is no different.
This season it’s all about boho chic on the runway and 90s grunge in the streets. The likes of Gucci and Yves St Laurent have taken their inspiration from the free and flowy spirit of the ’70s, making peasant popular. But don’t worry there’s no fear of the black death, just ’70s Cali blouses for a relaxed and perfectly hygienic vibe. Or in the blogger world the flares and hair of the decade have been advertised as a more safe and classic take on the not-so-fresh trend.
But in the streets the ’90s are back. Rachel Green has once again become a girls’ style icon. The biggest comeback is, no not the Spice Girls, but the choker. Whether it’s the classic velvet ribbon once sported by the likes of Drew Barrymore or the heavy gold collars seen on Rihanna, there is a style for everybody. And if you want to be truly iconic there is the famous 90s jackets. Who knew then that denim and biker jackets would be as timeless as Audrey Hepburn’s LBD. Of course you can always modernise them if you don’t want to look like a throwback. Topshop is currently filled with denim jackets embroidered with pretty floral patterns for modern femininity and even the bomber jacket has made a comeback. That’s right the retro has become retro once more. From fighter pilots to Cara Delevingne everyone is wearing them, and it’s fair to say they’ve come back fighting.
To compliment your retro wardrobe, vintage makeup is back as well. Taking it back to last year, do you remember those berry red lipsticks? Those that either made you look fabulous or reminded you that you needed to go to the dentist? Well they’re not going anywhere for A/W16. The vampy lip is another 90s revival that swept across along with Nirvana and the grunge movement. But this year with even more matte textures and produced by almost every brand there is a tone and price for everyone and their makeup bags.
The current obsession with the ’70s and ’90s is not the first retro revival. Way back in 2012 and 2013 the ’60s were back in full swinging force. The bold geometric prints and block colours were smeared across all the shops, high-end to high street. It even made it to the makeup world, where spidery lashes and pastel pink lipsticks were on the Rimmel campaigns, complete with the gorgeous Twiggy lookalikes.
Fortunately, we don’t take everything from the past. Some things really were only acceptable in the ’80s. I think we’re all glad to see the back of neon leg-warmers and speedos on the beach, but in our pursuit to be cutting edge, we always draw our inspiration from the past. The politics, the ideas, and the fashion are all repeated, and are all thought to be new. From Parliament to Primark, history is repeated. It’s not wrong. It’s not right. It’s just that some things never change.
Written by Lara Scott