Noughties fashion is back from the dead and haunting - GulfToday

Noughties fashion is back from the dead and haunting


Bella Hadid. File

Katie Rosseinsky, The Independent

Every so often, when I’m in the grips of extreme procrastination, I scroll back through the old photo albums on my near-dormant Facebook account. Their titles are a mix of forgotten teenage in-jokes and once-beloved song lyrics (no doubt a hangover from the Myspace era, before Zuckerberg). The pictures, captured on the digital camera that accompanied me on every night out, look a little fuzzy now, compared to the ultra-high resolution of an iPhone. But they’re still sharp enough that you can make out all the hallmarks of Noughties fashion in every group shot.

There are battered pairs of ballet flats. String upon string of fake pearls. Slouchy off-brand Ugg boots. Hi-shine, high-waisted disco pants, reflecting back the flash of my Canon. More waistbelts than the average episode of Gok’s Fashion Fix. I can practically smell the frazzled scent of burning hair, straightened to a crisp. All very nostalgic, all very cringe, all now thankfully relegated to the big Topshop in the sky. Or so I’d naively thought. Fashion’s relentless trend cycle comes for us all in the end and this year, it seems, the nostalgia pendulum has come to rest somewhere around 2007.

Bella Hadid and Emily Ratajkowski have been papped strolling through New York City in beige Uggs. A waistcoat is acceptable — even chic on a night out — no longer the sole sartorial preserve of Steve Arnott from Line of Duty. Its more practical cousin, the gilet, is also back, ready and waiting to keep your torso warm and your arms cold. Kylie Jenner is wearing disco pants, paired with going-out tops of indeterminate length. Most triggering of all? The discovery that beloved Scandi brand Ganni is now selling a high-fashion version of the sole-destroying ballet flats that teenage me wore until they fell apart (typically after about two months of continuous use).

It was inevitable that the trends of my adolescence would get re-tooled for a new generation somewhere down the line — that’s just how fashion works. But I certainly wasn’t expecting it to happen quite so quickly, or to induce such a stomach-flipping sense of vertigo. It’s only been exacerbated by a clutch of that era’s cultural figures re-entering the public consciousness. Pete(r) Doherty, once the poet laureate of try-hard indie teens, is cropping up everywhere (“ARE YOU WATCHING PETE AND LOUIS THEROUX????” my lifelong best friend urgently WhatsApped me the other night, reminding me of my teenage Libertines obsession). Waistbelt-wearing, bodycon-loving pop legends Girls Aloud may or may not be reuniting (please make it so!) and, erm, Call-Me-Dave Cameron is making a return to frontline politics. It’s enough to make you feel like a portal to the past has somehow opened up, Doctor Who-style (naturally David Tennant, who played the Doctor in the latter half of the Noughties, is reprising that role later this year).

Noughties fashion is having a moment on screen, too. Emerald Fennell’s new film Saltburn stars Barry Keoghan as Oliver, a working-class student at Oxford who is befriended by the aristocratic Felix, played by Jacob Elordi; Felix later invites his new pal to spend the summer at his family pile. It takes place between 2006 and 2007, and these fictional freshers dress in authentic period finery: the three “Js” — Jane Norman, Juicy Couture and Jack Wills – superfluous beaded necklaces and daffodil yellow LiveStrong charity wristbands. The latter, of course, were a rubbery tribute to now-disgraced cyclist Lance Armstrong, which, for some unfathomable reason, became a must-have. When they sold out online, we’d go to bizarre lengths to source one. I distinctly remember sending an envelope covered in first-class stamps to a friend of a friend of a friend, then receiving a rubbery bracelet in the post about a month later. I had only a vague idea of exactly who Armstrong was, really, but I liked the pop of colour against my white “Make Poverty History” band.

To nail this very specific period look, Saltburn costume designer Sophie Canale made “mood boards mainly of my friends d***k on Facebook as inspiration”, she recently told Women’s Wear Daily. She sounds like a woman after my own heart. And just like my friends and I, Fennell’s characters love a good pair of Uggs — or at least, Ugg-adjacent copycats. So devoted was I to my tan knock-off versions that 16-year-old me carried on wearing them almost immediately after undergoing a knee arthroscopy (fake Uggs and crutches — a real fashion statement).

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