Will denim ever go away?

Lubna Abdel-Aziz
Tuesday 25 Apr 2023


Now that we are done with fasting and feasting as well as eggs-travaganza, our thoughts invariably turn to fashion.

The world is young again and we are renewed and wish to look it. What better way than new looks, new wardrobe, new faces, new fashion?

Regardless of the political outlook, dim as it is, wars, corruption, intrigues, etc, fashion marches on and so must we.

Designers appear to come to a collective conclusion: if it is spring it must be bright. Vivid colours are back, gaudy metallics, bold 3D florals, and 50 shades of black and white.

Denim however rules this season more than ever. Since it was introduced in the early 1860s by a tailor named Levi Strauss, who specialised in making sturdy, durable trousers for gold-miners, it became a staple for hard working labourers, cowboys, builders, and the like.

Look what it is up to now — the epitome of chic.

It was not always blue. The blue dye was discovered by Strauss in Nimes, France, known as serge de Nimes. In the US it was pronounced “denim” — and the rest is history.

While fashion is cyclical, as we say, denim hovers above like a cloud. It has kept in step with the trends and this season it has become de riguer.

It is a must, with a difference.

Skinny jeans are finally over. The biggest trend is loose, high-waisted, slouch-fitting with wide legs and grazing floor lengths. Ask Asaki, master of jeans, he will not mind if you clean the kitchen floor with the new length.

As with maxis, a big favourite, match them with other over-sized denim tops or better still, with a sheer top for extra pizzazz.

If grunge denim is not for you a world of playful, sweet candy-coloured world awaits you. Gucci has been playing with the doll theme for a while now, but this season there was a stark boost in the number of the 1960s style of baby doll dtresses. Other such starry-eyed, syrupy designs were the diaphanous skirts from Gianbattista Valli; ribbons, ruffles and childlike joie de vivre petticoats, beneath doll-like dresses, that is if you are skinny, petite, and very young.

Can you crochet? You are in luck. Fashion’s fascination with knitwear will not disappear in summer. It generates itself come spring with crochet tops to catch the summer breezes. So, get those crochet needles out; work your craft with gold metallic threads into mini-skirts, halter tops and flared trousers, if you can. Otherwise, get them at Proenza Schouler or Gabriela Hearst.

If you have tasted “key lime pie”, you know how irresistible it is. You cannot get enough of it. So is the season’s colour which covers the spectrum of zesty shades of lime and lemon, from green grass to the palest yellow, fresh and delicious as a tall, cool lemonade by the beach.

Miss your big, big bag? It’s back at Saint Laurent, a favourite among celebrities. Similar and more affordable styles can be purchased at Khaite’s and Mango. They will last you a lifetime.

What can be more comfortable for your feet than the classic ballet flats? They too are back in a big way and can lend elegance to any outfit, from jeans to maxis.

It may not be our thing, but nudity has dominated the fashion scene for the last few years. It is more understated this season, subtle and elegant, around the midriff, shoulders and legs, plus other unmentionables. Saint Laurent owns the trend with 10 revealing dresses on the runway. Valentino paired bodysuits with bright pop colours.

Sheer tops have increased in sales by 600 per cent in one month. Some like it hot.

Heels have adopted the transparent look, even over jeans. They too are in demand, up by 400 per cent.

Transparent wear can be romantic especially with feathered cuffs which have become designer Molly Goddard’s signature ruffle details.

Make-up faces are preferably neutral with shades like taupe, beige, mocha, and grey. While the underpainting trend is less fuss, black smokey eyes are making a huge comeback, with the ultra glossy cheekbones, that “tried and true” disco look. Metallic eye-shadow in gold, silver, or copper is perfect for adding a bit of glam.

Jewellery is the most impactful way to update your look. Opt for long earrings taking us back in time and remember pearl jewellery never goes out of style.

If all of the above is irrelevant to you stick to exquisite tailoring, even for the simplest and most casual outing — a double breasted jacket, a maxi skirt — as fresh and new as the queen of seasons.

Have fun with fashion. Keep it simple. Less is more.


“And all the loveliest things there be / Come simply, so it seems to me.”

Edna St Vincent Millay (1892-1950)

* A version of this article appears in print in the 27 April, 2023 edition of Al-Ahram Weekly

Search Keywords:
Short link: