It all started with a silly selfie. Anna Wintour – replete with sunglasses – strikes a playful pose with the September issue of American Vogue and uploads to Instagram. Hours later, hundreds of lookalikes follow, creating a #voguestagram meme celebrating the most serious lady in fashion. When even the editor of Vogue can laugh at herself, you know things are looking up. A year later, fashion editors have switched their all-black ensembles for primary colours, Pharrell’s happy tunes are the soundtrack of the season, and you can’t move for humorous statement tees. To what do we owe this fashionable fun factor?
Not so long ago, the fashion industry was revered for its hard-to-crack insider scene, celebrating the exclusive, expensive and unattainable. In the past few years, that has shifted. The relatable tone of fashion blogs has opened up a democratic new fashion landscape – to which you, me and everyone we know are invited.
The change in attitude has even made it all the way to the runway, that ultimate ‘we’re here, you’re not!’ symbol of fashion insiderness. The season’s highlights included Stella McCartney’s giggling models, and a selfie-snapping Cara Delevingne at the Giles finale (immediately shared on Instagram, of course). Live-streamed shows, along with fashion reality TV and social media, have parted the curtain as never before, making celebrities of the industry’s major players.
This season, themes to the shows and collections were themselves a bundle of laughs. Witness the witticism of Moschino’s ode to the McDonald’s Happy Meal, and Jessica Lange serenading of the Marc Jacobs show with Happy Days Are Here Again. In London, Anya Hindmarch’s show featured a jazz hands spectacle to a soundtrack of Judy Garland’s Get Happy. “We want irreverence, humour and colour from fashion now,” says James Anderson, fashion features editor of i-D, the style magazine famous for its wink-and-a-smile covers. “The world has seen enough turmoil and misery – there’s only so much we can take. It makes sense that we’re responding to a little fun and frivolity. People want escapism.”