Not all fashion is fleeting. Some items transcend trends to gain iconic status
In the hyper-fast world of fashion today, trends and designer brands can practically last only a nano-second. Success and best-seller status can be fleeting in an over-crowded market. Designers, manufacturers and retailers spew forth a tremendous amount of items to seduce consumers who, in turn, seem to have an ever increasing appetite to buy more, acquire the latest and expand their wardrobes exponentially.
We live in a world where fall clothes are flagrantly hawked as early as June, and fast fashion retail chains have new merchandise every week. This rabid conspicuous consumption era has, unfortunately, paved the path for disposable fashion.
With the attention span of a gnat, we get rid of the not-so-old to make way for our new obsessions. But despite the fickle nature of fashion, there are some that have stood the test of time and the tempestuous mood swings of the fashion world.
As Valeria Manferto De Fabianis wrote in A Matter of Fashion: 20 Iconic Items That Changed the History of Style, not everything in fashion passes. “There are creations that years after their appearance on the scene have maintained their capacity to represent elegance, style and class.”
But how does a fashion item enter the pantheon of iconic status?
Good timeless design and unwavering quality, of course, are the cornerstones. But sometimes it falls on Lady Luck by being in the right place at the right time or having the right famous person wear it, thereby anointing it.
Available in a rainbow of colours and an array of whimsical prints, the square-shaped silk scarf – known as the Carré – from this historic French brand remains an emblem of elegance and Parisian chic and is worn by women of radically differently fashion senses, from corporate executives to street-style stars to Queen Elizabeth. So beloved by women, they transcend fashion trends and are always chic, attaining heirloom status to be passed down to daughters and grand-daughters. Hermès Carré, $420, hermes.com
CONVERSE CHUCK TAYLOR SNEAKERS
In 1921, Chuck Taylor was a basketball player. Though not a star like Michael Jordan or LeBron James today with sneaker endorsements, he was a fan of the Converse sneaker and went to work for them. His suggestions to make it better were so successful, his name now appears on the logo. Converse sneakers, $65, converse.com
Jeans styles come and go at a rapid rate. Those boot-cut jeans you so loved last year can easily look dated this year. But the classic Levi’s 501 from the company that invented the original blue jean for prospectors heading West for the Gold Rush remains forever cool and hip with a touch of rebellion. And while jeans were once a fashion item that defined social and cultural change in the 1950s, as young people adopted it as their uniform to change the world, and achieved designer status in the ’70s, today it remains the most egalitarian item in fashion. But if there is one pair of jeans that withstands fads and trends, it’s Levi’s 501. Levi’s 501, $84