It all started with Miuccia Prada. In spring 2003, Ms Prada revived the fashion mood of the 1953 hit film Roman Holiday, starring Audrey Hepburn and Gregory Peck.
Then Dolce & Gabbana took up the baton at their menswear show, which was built around the 1960 film
La Dolce Vita, set in Rome – they even re-created Anita Ekberg’s famous scene in the Trevi fountain. Suddenly, the 1950s were back, and Hepburn, in particular, was everywhere.
And not before time. It was a marvellous decade for fashion, marking the departure of haute couture as the benchmark for all fashion and the arrival of young, pretty, accessible clothes of the sort worn by Brigitte Bardot on the wittily sexy pages of French
Elle – in itself a totally new approach to fashion journalism, which had been dominated for far too long by the hauteur of Vogue.
There was a lot happening, and the clothes reflected the new spirit. Nylon petticoats had made bouncy, full skirts available to all. The extremes of Dior’s 1947 New Look had been toned down a few notches to make a graceful and feminine silhouette of slightly sloping shoulders, tightly cinched waists and skirts, full or pencil slim, down to mid-calf. Best of all, the growing mass-production of fashion meant that the clothes were as cheap in Pontypridd as in Paris.
It was a time of hope, with youth finally coming into its own and fashion moving centre stage, where it has remained. More than 50 years on, we are ready for a revival, not only of the clothes, but also of the attitude. Already, nudity has gone from the catwalks – if anything pops out, it’s because of nothing more than bad cutting.
And the mini is on its last legs. Look forward to a crisper, more tailored fashion mood and a lot less exposed flesh in the next few seasons. We call it growing up.
(First published March 2004)