'80s acid-washed denim in again?
There were some good-looking clothes on the Paris runway at Stella McCartney's spring 2018 collection. She cut some fun, billowy dresses using waxed cotton with a customized African print. They came in cheerful fuchsia and a happy shade of green. And nobody does faux leather like McCartney, whose company's ethos is focused on sustainability and environmentally sound production practices.
But it is hard to recall these moments. Because there was something on the runway that was so jarring, so unnerving and, for those members of Generation X, so terribly haunting: acid-washed denim. For the love of God, Stella McCartney, what have you done?
Now, technically, McCartney's denim was “overdyed, washed denim.” But the effect was the same. It had that familiar speckled faded look of the 1980s. It was oversized and unwieldy and exuded all of the awkwardness of junior high.
Fashion often tries to reclaim ideas that history has declared impractical, outdated or just plain “ugh.” Sometimes it works. Ideas like the maxi-skirt and grunge have been reborn and celebrated. It took our eyes a little time to adjust to bubble skirts, but they finally did. Designers stubbornly insisted that drop-crotch trousers were a good idea and after some tweaking and a lot of patience, they beat consumers into submission. Now they are part of our classic, Western vernacular.
But these faded, boxy denim jackets and vests, onesies and jeans? No sir. No ma'am.
No doubt you will see this denim on some celebrity who will look cool because she has styled it juuust right. How'd she do it? With a village of assistants helping her out. Most people don't have a squadron of professional fashion whisperers. You don't.
Avoid ‘80s denim, people. Be strong. Don't do it.
Robin Givhan is the Washington Post fashion writer.