The last time Justin Bieber performed at the MTV Video Music awards back in 2010 he had yet to throw eggs at a neighbour’s house, urinate in a bucket in the kitchen of a restaurant while shouting, “Fuck Bill Clinton!” or get arrested for a DUI. These were more innocent times. A year after that performance his world famous and much copied Lego-esque brown fringe was shorn off, the tattoos were drawn on and, like Samson, his power had gone. Flash forward five years to last night’s VMAs and guess what? The fringe is back, only this time blonder, longer and more unruly.
With the same hue as Donald Trump’s carefree tresses, Justin’s “swoop” was the highlight of last night’s red carpet, a fancy alleyway that also included Miley Cyrus replicating Jodie Marsh’s misuse of a couple of old belts and a woman who showed up as a human pencil. As is the way these days, it didn’t take long for Justin’s “swoop” to, er, sweep through Tumblr, with side by side comparisons made with Victoria Beckham circa 2007; Brad Pitt: The Gwyneth Paltrow Years; Gwyneth Paltrow: The Brad Pitt Years; the extra sister in Tegan & Sara; Ellen Degeneres and, finally, a stylish alpaca.
The fact he then went and performed with a cap on, therefore denying the TV viewers a chance to see the “swoop” in motion is an award show travesty up there with Bad Blood winning Video of the Year over 7/11.
Bieber wasn’t the only hair experimentalist on display of course. There was the aforementioned woman (Z LaLa apparently) whose black hair was slicked up in to a point like a quill. The Weeknd’s head covering is basically an ever-expanding feat of engineering, like one of Edward Scissorhands’ hedge creations.
Miley, meanwhile, sported what can only be described as the Faye Tozer from Steps, ie, some bleached blonde dreadlocks clamped onto her scalp that also brought to mind this particular X Factor casualty. Elsewhere Nicki “Miley, what’s good?” Minaj and Kylie Jenner seemed to arrive sporting the same weave, while the night’s big winner Taylor Swift opted for a side parting mullet. No matter how hard anyone tried, however, no one could rival The Swoop. Whatever you do, Biebs, just don’t cut it all off again.
If you’ve seen any of the following in Zara or Topshop – shaggy faux-fur coats, pussybow blouses or floral dresses that look like 1970s upholstery – then you’ve already spotted the beginnings of the Guccification of the high street. This is all thanks to the brand’s new creative director, Alessandro Michele, who hastransformed Gucci from a purveyor of bling-tastic yacht chic to a haven for glamorous geeks, and has won the hearts of the fashion industry in the process. High-street homages are everywhere; spectacles and a bobble hat are the finishing touches.
2. The muse
The fashion industry has decreed that Wes Anderson’s most stylish character,Margot Tenenbaum, is this season’s muse; her shabby fur coats and grubby eyeliner exactly what the industry wants to achieve right now. We don’t disagree, but we think the much-missed Deirdre Barlow is an even more apt inspiration: she did oversized glasses and prim blouses on a 1970s north-of-England budget while Anderson was still in short trousers.
3. The fantasy ride
This Ford Fairlane 66, seen with Lara Stone in the current H&M advert, encapsulates all you need to know about the bleached-out vibes fashion is feeling for autumn/winter, in motor form.
4. But are we doing the 70s or the 80s this season?
Forget the Labour leadership – this is the crucial debate of the moment. Actually, we’re doing both. Most of fashion has been mining the 70s in a big way, but Jonathan Anderson has gone to the 80s. Think multicoloured oversized jackets, baggy knee-high boots and huge mismatched plastic earrings at his eponymous label, JW Anderson, and neon zigzag belts, big-shouldered coats and lurex dresses at Loewe, where he is also creative director. This is entirely wearable if you don’t go too OTT: Zara’s matching lurex pleated skirt and top is a good place to start.
5. Clever knitwear
Fashion and culture seem bizarrely convinced that the thicker your knit, the sharper your brain, with Aran jumpers and cable knits used as shorthand for authenticity and intelligence. See: Max Mara’s autumn/winter collection, which was inspired by Marilyn Monroe’s Ulysses-reading bookish side and the black-and-cream chunky cardigan she wore in her final windswept photoshoot, and Ben Whishaw’s stripy woollen jumper, worn as brainiac Q in upcoming James Bond film Spectre. This is an easy one to recreate on the high street, particularly from October, when lovely knits take centre stage in the much-anticipated collaboration between former Hermès creative director Christophe Lemaire and Uniqlo.
6. School-bully hair
So-called “meh” hair has recently been huge in fashion. Figuratively, not literally – this kind of ’do is flat and messy; exactly the opposite of that big, bouncy, blow-dried, X Factor judge look. Trust Mrs Prada to be first to rebel, presenting models with severely scraped-back ponytails. We’re calling this school-bully hair, because we last saw it in the toilets at school, when we were being relieved of our lunch money. Try it if you dare: great for emphasising cheekbones, terrible for reviving bad memories and causing migraines.
7. Poking your collar over your jumper is a thing again
Of all the allegations levelled at Rebekah Brooks, this may not be the one you remember, but in 2012 the fashion industry accused the former News of the World editor of killing off the Peter Pan collar. Finally, fashion has recovered enough to offer a similar look – pointed collars in interesting fabrics (chainlink metal, chartreuse silk and striped cotton at Prada, Dior and Miu Miu) layered over snakeskin pinafores or thin-knit jumpers, offering all the joys of a collar with none of the Leveson-inquiry associations.
8. What’s the coat of the season?
If Withnail checked into the Grand Budapest Hotel, this what he would wear: brown, oversized, a bit military, very Gucci. Zara has the perfect one, available at the end of September; there are similarly oversized maxi coats at M&S and & Other Stories.
There has been much debate over whether 2015 is the Chinese year of the sheep, goat or ram, but in fashion there is no such ambiguity. Danish model Freja Beha Erichsen was photographed for the cover of the Wall Street Journal’s style magazine wearing a shaggy white coat and cradling an adorable lamb with sooty paws; turbo-vegetarian and anti-fur activist Stella McCartney put faux fur on her catwalk for the first time. Resistance to faux fur, and faux shearling, seems futile.
10. Is the polo neck still on-trend?
Polo necks have become so ubiquitous that at Emilia Wickstead’s last fashion week show, Charlotte Dellal, Yasmin and Amber Le Bon, Daisy Lowe and Alexa Chung found themselves in a five-person front-row polo-neck pile-up. But fashion still loves them: Loewe, Jonathan Saunders and Victoria Beckham are among the dozens of designers still producing them and, in November (UK release), Michael Fassbender will pull on a polo neck for the Steve Jobs biopic.
11. WTF is Dark Victoriana?
There has been a lot of talk about this trend in the style mags – think of Miss Havisham’s threads dyed black, all dark layers of lace and mesh – but it is probably best ignored until party season. This is evening gothic. FKA twigs did it brilliantly at the MTV Video Music awards on Sunday night; a less naked version would be just the thing the best-dressed person at the office party might wear this Christmas.
12. Timing is everything
While the glossy magazines are shouting about the new season now, there are still months before some of the best pieces hit the shops. Take Topshop’s resort collection, in store on 14 November, which is a riot of vaguely 70s unexpectedness: its pink crushed-velvet suit goes against traditional ideas of good taste and judgment and will be all the more loved by the fashion crowd for it.
13. Sheer black tights are back
British Vogue’s September issue decrees it so. Pair them with something tough and modern – such as ankle socks and Doc Martens – rather than anything too smart, or you may find the Melanie-Griffith-in-Working-Girl overtones overwhelming.
14. Balmain for H&M
Every season, one designer/high street collaboration causes panicked shoppers to elbow each other in the face, and this November it will be Balmain for H&M. The brand is all about expensive, body-hugging, high-octane glamour – its key proponents are Kim Kardashian and Kendall Jenner – so this is a rare chance for fans to own a piece of a collection that is usually several zeros out of their price range.
16. Dressing for Instagram
The peacock has been an endangered species for a few seasons in fashion, witheven the exhibitionists of London fashion week tending to be swathed in navy-blue cashmere. This season, though, maximalism has returned, with outre accessories, brash patterns, bold shapes, bright colours and a hodgepodge of 70s and 80s styles defining the season. Many place the blame at Instagram’s door, and some of the most eye-catching items seem to have been designed with “likes” in mind. Examples: Anya Hindmarch’s autumn/winter collection – all “Men at Work” and speed camera road signs, with the odd custard cream clutch – and Moschino’s emoticon-emblazoned backpacks, plus Topshop, Monki and New Look on the high street.
17. The boot debate
Fashion says this is the season of the over-the-knee or mid-calf boot but, in real life, something a bit easier to wear and more flattering is bound to take precedence. We’re betting on the classic patent Chelsea boot, which will protect you from puddles while offering a pared-down counterpoint to other sartorial experiments.
18. The Mansur Gavriel bucket bag
These cost £325, a lot less than most fashion “It” bags, but are the most talked-about totes of the moment. Last season they sold out and are still changing hands for more than £400 online; the next drop comes to Matchesfashion.com at the end of September.
19. Styling tips courtesy of Hillier Bartley
Former Marc by Marc Jacobs duo Katie Hillier and Luella Bartley are launching their own label this season, and the styling represents the louche, eclectic flavour fashion is desperate to achieve now: silky blouses tucked into trousers; three inches of white socks above black loafers; majorette fringing on bags and coats; maxi coats tied with what look like curtain ropes.
There are small but crucial differences between fashion and the real world. Here’s one: in fashion, flowers for the kitchen table are not something that you buy on impulse from the stall by the station as an it’s-Friday treat. They are as much of a style statement – and as trend-driven – as your handbag, or your shoes, or the car you drive, or the restaurant you book for your birthday party. They must be carefully considered and finely calibrated to enhance your personal brand.
The coolest trend in flowers over the past few years hasn’t, confusingly, involved flowers at all. Greenery is what greets you when you walk into Céline’s Mount Street store. The vogue for palm leaves can be traced back to Céline’s ad campaign for autumn/winter 2011; their cult status was confirmed in 2012 when House of Hackney launched its now-classic Palmeral print. A cheeseplant or succulent on your mid-century sideboard is pure minimalist cool, the lack of pretty petals chiming nicely with your on-trend androgynous wardrobe.
The next big thing, for those already tired of succulents, is a polar opposite trend. Highly stylised arrangements in dramatic, downward-sweeping shapes are the avant garde choice. Your inspiration here is 16th-century Dutch still life paintings, so go for a mix of overblown blooms, bending to the table in melancholy glory. A prop – a shell, a silk butterfly, a bell jar, an earthenware jug – completes the picture.
This look is, granted, a little tricky to put together if you are sourcing your flowers in Marks & Spencer rather than the fashion industry’s favourite florist, Scarlet & Violet. If in doubt, fall back on the classics. A white phalaenopsis orchid is the little black dress of flowers, and all-white blooms are a failsafe chic choice. (Anna Wintour’s favourite is the scented white tuberose, fashion fact fans.) Pink peonies or blue hydrangeas are super stylish, so long as the bunch is generous enough and you stick to a single colour, with no greenery. Wild meadow flowers project effortless style, the floral equivalent of wearing a ponytail and flats on the red carpet.
What to put them in? (And, no, I don’t mean water.) Glass tanks are on the way out, superseded by milk bottles and bright pottery. You wouldn’t put on a great dress without putting a little thought into what shoes to wear, would you? Well, the same goes for flowers. As every fashionista knows, great accessories make the look.
A writer has claimed a small victory in a plagiarism battle with the fashion designer Vivienne Westwood – but has pledged that his legal fight is not over.
Paul Gorman alleges that Westwood filled her autobiography with sections lifted from his 2001 book The Look: Adventures in Rock and Pop Fashion.
Gorman said the paperback edition of Vivienne Westwood, published last week, contains 27 citations acknowledging him and his book, up from eight citations in the hardback edition.
Publishers Picador said citations missing in error had been added to the paperback but rejected Gorman’s plagiarism claims.
Gorman said the concession does not change his plans to take Westwood, one of the key figures in the punk movement, to court. He maintains that more than 40 passages were taken from The Look, representing a “substantial copyright infringement”.
“I’ve got so far down the road and I’ve been proved right thus far,” Gorman told the Guardian. “It’s been really stressful. But the fact they’ve made these changes, it’s a victory, but it’s not over yet.”
Gorman, who is writing a biography of Malcolm McLaren, former Sex Pistols manager and Westwood’s ex-partner, said he believes the changes acknowledge “theft” of his work.
“While I am pleased that acknowledgment of the theft of my work has begun, I am keeping my options open, not least since I am out of pocket to the tune of several thousands of pounds in legal costs,” he said in a statement on his website. “In fact, it seems to me that this turn of events bolsters my case.”
A spokeswoman for Pan Macmillan and Picador said: “We always take very seriously any errors that are brought to our attention and, where appropriate, correct them.
“As far as Mr Gorman’s legal claim is concerned, the matter is being dealt with by our solicitors, who have written to his solicitors rejecting his unjustified claims.”