A global cry was heard loud and clear, give us back our air, our sky, our oceans.
This has indeed been “the winter of our discontent”. Locked up, locked down, isolated and quarantined, the world has had enough.
With so many references to the impending apocalypse, let it be a year for the history books. So many are still sad and mourning but life is for living and living we must.
The coronavirus has radically altered our lives, but are we to pursue the irrevocable past or look forward, albeit to the misty unknown.
Nature has its say. Seasons change and summer is around the corner. We are forced to dump our dark winter garb, for a lighter, more appropriate style of dressing.
With restriction rules easing up, once again we can find beauty in the enduring pleasure of Fashion. Clothes elicit joy and we need to look at some beautiful creations to inspire us after a long depressing winter.
Paris is not only the city of light and love, but also the capital of the fashion industry.
Although designers had completed their work before the virus invasion, the have instinctively and collectively predicted the need to comfort us and uplift our sagging spirits.
Throughout the couture Paris shows, the settings were as bright and vivacious as the clothes themselves.
Dior planted 162 trees at the Longchamps race track, while Yves Saint Laurent displayed an electric laser show against the fully-lit Eiffel Tower. The mood was contagious and the clothes inspired a youthful breeze of liberty.
Miu Miu’s nostalgic nod to the past was shared by all. The Victorian-inspired puffed sleeve that was big in the 80s was the “tour de force” of every fashion show, not only in Paris but other fashion capitals like Milan, London, New York, etc. This item creates the illusion of a slimmer waist and adds a fine, feminine touch. You just might have one tucked away in the back of your closet — if not, make it the one “must have” item for the season. It is a style that keeps coming back.
On to colour, which is the first question asked by everyone, and for good reason. It does define the “here and now” regardless of style.
The famous Pantone Colour Institute, which defines the colours of the seasons has decided on the deep classic blue, which is elegant, timeless and vibrant. However, a splash of bright orange is its main competition; green in all its shades and intense purple are the big favourites.
Many enjoy strong colours. Winston Churchill, also a painter said: “I rejoice with the brilliant colours and I am genuinely sorry for the poor browns.” For those who shy away from flashy colours, can go to muted yellow, soft lavender and sky blue. Pastels and summer go well together. But there is no escape from the extra glow this summer dictates.
Remember the 1980s metallics? They are back again at Dior’s and dare we say it — neon is slashed all over again in pink, yellow, green and blue.
You would not be caught dead in neon, so freshen up your wardrobe with a few stripes or polka dots — always a pleasure to see all-year round. Maybe a little neon on accessories would be more acceptable, whether fancy or casual.
If neon disturbs you, you maybe the monochromatic type. The look is dramatic and you may even find stockings to match.
Ruffles and multiple layers add volume and luxury, from evening gowns to beachwear. Yes, there is hope we shall fid our way to the beach by June or July.
While scientists are still hunting for a cure or a vaccine for that unwelcome virus, we shall go hunting for fashionable accessories. After all, we do dress for ourselves, do we not?
Shoes, we never have enough of them. With dozens in the closet, we still need more. To step in style find those square toes of the 1980s, they are the shoes to wear in heels, boots or sandals.
If you can find a bucket purse you are in luck. First designed by Louis Vuitton in 1932 to keep champagne fresh, they are now the hottest trend in handbags. With a long body and round shape they offer a lot of room, and they come in a variety of shades. You can match them to your outfit or make a statement by wearing a completely different colour.
Every woman has a gold chain but never that big or chunky or bold. This over-sized necklace is to die for, but you can rock it with several layers for a similar effect.
Do we ever think of skirts anymore? We should. A versatile black pencil-skirt can take you from office to party, dressed up or down with heels, or boots, you will find it indispensable.
Headbands are back too; cute in velvet, padded or covered with pearls or crystals, more glitter from head to toe.
While hats are not too common in this part of the world, a wide brimmed summer hat is a must. It serves many functions, covering a bad hair day, protects you from the blazing sun and is flattering and flirty. Oversized glasses will complete the look.
Make your eyes glitter and glow as the rest of you, but do avoid that green lipstick.
Whatever you do just enjoy the freedom to be who you really are.
“Fashions, after all, are only induced epidemics.”
George Bernard Shaw (1856-1950)
*A version of this article appears in print in the 7 May, 2020 edition of Al-Ahram Weekly