From Vetements velour to Dior Saddle bags – six moments that heralded its inevitable return
The noughties: Gen Z are too young to truly remember them and millennials are just far away enough from them to have got over them. Following the received wisdom of trend forecasters, whose rule of thumb states that fashion trends follow 20 year cycles (give or take a couple of years), it’s only right that 00s references are ripe for the picking.
Today, the bare bones of the 90s lie gleaming white, fashion and culture vultures having picked them clean of every last scrap of cultural relevance. We’ve all collectively screeched over the Spice Girls, gone to 90s R’n’B nights, and started wearing Champion sweaters again. We’ve had platform trainers, minimalist styling, contrasting lip liner, crop tops and Clueless. The only bit left on the decade’s carcass is the genre of ska-punk, and we all must pray that remains a distant memory.
But just as in 2010, 90s fashion was the perfect balance of nostalgia and rejection of the prevailing aspirational ideal (i.e. Rachel Zoe’s tanned and bony grip on celebrity style), now as we approach 2020, 00s fashion hits the same saccharine high. 2000s style is two decades of nostalgia mixed with the rejection of our current prevailing aspirational ideal following the last decade of austerity policies: our fashion mindset is somewhat subdued, values ‘inconspicuous’ good taste, and is relatable.
Early 00s fashion, however, is obnoxious: it’s Mean Girls squeals turned up to 11, and brash like a diamanté knuckle duster. It is the casual, spoiled kid who’s allowed a McDonalds to eat in the car on the way home. It is conspicuous consumption for the new Millennium, the flashy logos of a bratty teenager combined with the insolence of loungewear. The increasing rehabilitation of 2000s fashion tropes has been creeping under the radar, sneaking into catwalks and collections for the last few years. I, for one, hail our diamanté fashion overlord, Ed Hardy.
As 14-year-old girls scour Depop for used Von Dutch, we look back at six moments that signalled the 00s fashion renaissance was on an inevitable collision course with earth.
JUICY COUTURE X VETEMENTS
Vetements: the masters of mining fashion items you thought you hated then persuading you that actually, they’re deeply cool and definitely worth spending £900 on. We should have known fashion’s 00s redux was right around the corner when the brand collaborated with Juicy Couture – the godmothers of 00s paparazzi style – for SS17. The much-hyped French design house was invited to show as a guest at Paris Couture Week in July 2016, and presented a suite of 18 brand collaborations, none more buzzy than the Juicy Couture velour tracksuit. The ‘Juicy’ branding on the bum was switched to a gothic font instead of the 00s’ originals’ faux-fancy calligraphy. In the 00s, Juicy’s tracksuits were worn by the tabloids’ most wanted, Paris Hilton and Nicole Richie, and so too today, as Vetements’ versions popped up on Rihanna and Kylie Jenner.
CHAINMAIL MAKES A COMEBACK
2001 was a momentous year, not least because Mariah Carey released her universally-panned movie Glitter. And indeed, glitter was key to 00s fashions; diamantés were sprinkled liberally on anything that could carry them, not least denim (see Lorelai’s wardrobe in Season 1 of Gilmore Girls for proof). Chainmail mesh too was instrumental to the 00s club outfit sensibility of ‘jeans and a nice top’ – the stylistic hallmark of UK girl band trios such as Atomic Kitten and the Sugababes. Of course, Paris Hilton canonised the metal party look at her 21st birthday party in 2002, in a chainmail halter dress and diamanté choker, an outfit that new-gen reality star Kendall Jenner reprised at her 21st birthday party 15 years later in 2017. Poster Girl, founded 2016 by CSM grads Natasha Somerville and Frankie Capper, is keeping the chainmail flame alive through the brand’s slinky and uber-revealing partywear.
MONOGRAM-MANIA TAKES OVER
The early 00s was a logo lover’s paradise, with designer monograms splattered all over everything from bags to shoes to head-to-toe ensembles. The thinking? If it’s expensive, it better be obvious. Galliano’s collections for Dior epitomise this ostentatious attitude (just take a look Nick Knight’s campaign image of Gisèle in an intimidating ‘bikini & snowboard’ all-over monogrammed look for Dior AW04). 2018’s shaping up to look totally logo, given the big names splashing their throwback monogram prints over anything and everything: Gucci, Dior, Chanel and Louis Vuitton’s logos are everywhere on your Instagram explore page. The 2003 Louis Vuitton monogram collabs with Takashi Murakami have recently returned to hype fashion prominence.
Some hard evidence for a 00s-2018 time warp: in a peculiar déjà-vu moment, Kylie Jenner appeared head-to-toe in a Fendi Zucca print dress, pushing a Fendi Zucca print pram. The image is a contemporary reflection of Danniella Westbrook’s much-derided tabloid picture in 2002, where the British soap star had dressed herself and her infant daughter in Burberry’s check, while pushing a Burberry check print pram. And you don’t need us to remind you that the check is back too...
UGG BOOTS ARRIVE AT PARIS FASHION WEEK
It’s certainly a strange turn of events when the must-have footwear of the decade are boots perfect for slouching across a petrol station forecourt, but that was the 00s, what can you say? Kate Moss and Sienna Miller popularised the Aussie sheepskin boots in the first half of the decade, resulting in Uggs (and Ugg knock-offs) becoming ubiquitous for women, and foreshadowing the loungewear explosion of the early 2010s. Fast-forward nearly two decades to the AW18 menswear shows and Y/Project, led by Belgian designer Glenn Martens, presents thigh-high Uggs alongside an oversized casual collection. Uggs have not returned in the same guise they once were; now their ungainly proportions have blown up to their logical extremes and have crossed over for men as well as women. Take this as a prophecy: the 00s revival will be bigger, bolder, and even more in your face than the first time around.
THE DIOR SADDLE BAG
In the midst of the monogram furore emerged the Dior Saddle bag, like a kidney-shaped Venus from the logo-strewn waves. Launched during Galliano’s tenure at Dior in 1999, the Saddle bag fast became the bag perched in the crook of everybody who was anybody’s arm in the 2000s – both real (Paris Hilton, Beyoncé) and fictional (Sex and the City’s Carrie Bradshaw). Having bubbled up in street style images since 2016 – Vogue cites K-pop star CL as one of the first influencers to brandish it on Instagram, with Bella Hadid et al following swiftly behind – the much-loved noughties it-bag made its official return to the catwalk at Dior on the AW18 runway. Current creative director Maria Grazia Chiuri reworked it for the new season in patchwork and beading, and Dior made sure it was globally recognised, going all-out on its influencer gifting strategy for the bag’s relaunch via major social names from China to Italy to Brazil.
POP CULTURE DIED IN 2009
An article about the early 00s would not be complete without paying homage to the anonymous blogger behind Pop Culture Died in 2009. The mordant social commentator and celebrity gossip aficionado tirelessly raked the coals of turn of the century tabloids for their online followers, keeping the messy antics and socialite politics of Paris Hilton, Lindsay Lohan, Nicole Richie and Mischa Barton in our hearts and minds over a decade later, curating an art exhibition of paparazzi-pic themed art in New York in 2017. If anything, the early 00s allow us the opportunity to see how we’ve ended up here. The early 00s was the formation of reality TV stars as money-making and culture-defining powerhouses, which has led to the Kardashian-Jenner empire and, in many ways, to the Trump presidency. PCD2009 couldn’t have known their tabloid obsession would have been so prescient, but their treasure trove has meant the early 00s can live on online forever.