Joie de vivre

Fash­ion has en­tered a stage of wil­ful, re­bel­lious op­ti­mism, says Kenya Hunt, where any­thing goes as long as you feel good in it

ELLE (UK) - - Contents - Pho­tog­ra­phy Ben Parks Styling Michelle Duguid

We’ve en­tered a mo­ment of re­bel­lious op­ti­mism. Throw away the rule book, wear what makes you happy – and dance, girl!

When was the last time you danced so hard you got light-headed, or laughed so hard your cheeks hurt? Fash­ion wants you to do more of this, my friends. Case in point: the SS17 run­way sea­son, where the clothes were a riot of print, colour, fizz, vi­vac­ity, sparkle and joie de vivre. A cel­e­bra­tion of life, honey! With gor­geous girls danc­ing. And danc­ing. And danc­ing. Fash­ion has en­tered a stage of wil­ful, re­bel­lious op­ti­mism, chal­leng­ing you to be happy and giving you per­mis­sion to wear any colour or print you de­sire, prefer­ably all at once. Ideas that were once con­sid­ered too friv­o­lous, un­cool or down­right tacky are now highly en­cour­aged. As I write this, for ex­am­ple, I’m strongly con­sid­er­ing a graphic Prada skirt, trimmed in lemony ostrich feath­ers… for work. It’s the kind of piece I might have balked at in

2015, but in 2017, it just feels right. When anx­i­ety lev­els have risen among women, and em­ploy­ment rates are high but the number of peo­ple feel­ing their life is worth­while isn’t, the jolt of sar­to­rial sero­tonin is much ap­pre­ci­ated*.

The party be­gan at the shows. At Molly God­dard, a small rave hap­pened at the foot of the run­way dur­ing Lon­don Fash­ion Week, mod­els sway­ing and bob­bing in neon-coloured smocked tulle, like they were high on, well, molly. The fol­low­ing week in Mi­lan, mod­els per­formed a chore­ographed lindy hop in cheery ging­ham at An­to­nio Mar­ras, then a flash mob, com­plete with blink­ing lights and blingy se­quins, broke out at Dolce & Gab­bana, while jazz hands clad in white gloves bounced around pri­ma­ry­coloured leather hand­bags at Tod’s.

Later that month in Paris, in­ter­pre­tive dance was the back­drop for Mai­son Rabih Kay­rouz’s vo­lu­mi­nous lilac and yel­low dresses – all this just days be­fore Stella McCart­ney’s mod­els sur­prised the au­di­ence with a dance bat­tle, her ‘sol­diers’ dressed in vi­brant slo­gan tees and graphic body­suits. When the mod­els weren’t danc­ing on the SS17 run­way, the clothes were: those feath­ers shak­ing to and fro at not only Prada, but Mar­ques’ Almeida and Proenza Schouler too, or full skirts swing­ing side to side at J.W. Anderson.

Mean­while, pop cul­ture has ex­pe­ri­enced its own jol­li­fi­ca­tion. Who could re­sist the im­age of Los An­ge­les rush-hour com­muters, singing and twirling on top of their stalled cars in the awards-sea­son hit film La La Land?

But back to the fash­ion: you could read all this rev­elry in one of two ways. A) It’s a gim­mick. A grab for head­lines and so­cial me­dia likes be­cause the in­dus­try has be­come so over­sat­u­rated that peo­ple lit­er­ally have to stage a party and whip up an In­sta­grammable kalei­do­scope of print and trim­mings to grab and hold your at­ten­tion. Or B) It’s an at­tempt to put a sense of fun and buoy­ancy back into our wardrobes and seize our hap­pi­ness back from world events. And while there are ex­am­ples of op­tion A, I think this brighter new mood is a re­sult of the lat­ter. Dance is fun! Colour is en­joy­able! And print can make you feel good. There’s no time like the present to cheer up.

‘Ideas that were once con­sid­ered too friv­o­lous, un­cool or down­right tacky are now highly en­cour­aged’

JACQUARD COAT, £1,140, PAUL SMITH. WOOL JUMP­SUIT, £1,290, NATASHA ZINKO. LEATHER SHOES, £75, DUNE

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