Sunday 17 January 2010

Chic Cheat

What a curious age we live in.  I fondly remember, as a young child, when the sartorial ideals of grunge were upon us.  In theory it might have been a musical ode to the disillusioned and ostensibly disenfranchised, in practice, for me, it entailed something resembling a heated political debate in the middle of a shop, when appealing for parental funds for all things stonewashed and skimpy.  When my mum shouted something along the lines of “honestly, you look like Orphan Annie in that dress, and to pay that much for an old rag, it’s madness!” I knew I had made the right choice.  The bitter irony was, I was dependent on parental subsidies to afford said garments, and the necessary cash was, all too often, refused, so I went without.  Thus, if there had been any true romance of poverty or genuine empathy to be felt with grunge’s original deprived protagonists, it was most definitely experienced then, in a way no Marc Jacobs original or heroin chic artwork could possibly emulate (sorry, Kate)

Sweet memories, indeed, but, nostalgic sentimentality aside, how times have changed.  It’s all about the glamour now, and while cynics may be quick to link it to the harmful zeitgeist of celebrity, it’s surely less about wanting to be adored than wanting to be adorned, with a kaleidoscope of colour, pattern and shine gracing our forms.  And why not?  How could you possibly not be worth it?  How could it not quite simply be all about the look-at-me factor?  Catwalk looks across the board are distilled to high street level and available to all… right?  Or are they, in the light of prices being hiked up because of, well, the R-word?

Harry S Truman famously said “it’s a recession when your neighbour loses his job. It’s a depression when you lose yours” Were you to transpire such logic to your wardrobe, it’d be easy to think “It’s a recession when I’m forgoing Prada for Principles.  It’s a depression when I’m forgoing Prada for Primark; or Miu Miu for Matalan; or Fendi for the flea market!”(cue Hitchcock-esque scream: think Psycho, darling!)  Not so far as I’m concerned.  A shadow of our former financial selves we may be, but all is not lost.  Certainly now, with so many cuts and styles of garment available at the lowest-end retail level, and with the myriad of techniques, materials and customising paraphernalia available you can accurately copy so many types of embellishment seen on the catwalk.

This blog is a step-by-step style guide to the latest trends and how to afford them –including by customising copies, and paying a fraction of the price both in money and even in man-hours. It also estimates the time involved, rates the level of difficulty and specifies where to get the exact materials for that all-important, near-plagiarism authenticity - so one surely wouldn’t guess you weren’t gracing New Bond Street, my dear.  Fabulousness need not take forever, or burn a hole in your wallet, and can even be therapeutic and fun.  More to the point, it entails you going beyond “smart shopping” to the very role of the ingenious, if impoverished, artiste yourself.  Nothing depressing about that, is there?

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