Friday, 25 March 2016

Getting the Gucci Look (for 30p)

When did ‘get the look’ become such a ubiquitous phrase? The kind that no fash mag worth its salt would be complete without: budget versions of high-end designs presented neatly with price tags alongside. The original? £600. The near-copy? £45. Somehow through the proximity of the two amounts, the latter always looks that much more reasonable (even if actually £45 is a lot for a synthetic shirt with uneven seams).

Of course, much of the high street makes its money from encouraging you to get ‘the look’. Fashion’s whirling, flashing rounds of trends rely on people wanting to emulate a particular item or set of references for six or so months before moving on. One season: everything seventies. Another: flat shoes (seriously? Who thinks of flat shoes as moving ‘in’ and ‘out’ of the zone of popularity? No one. No one whatsoever. Not even fashion editors who write about it). Stretch it further and you get companies like MissGuided and Boohoo, whose success primarily relies on being able to copy whatever Kim K has been seen in very quickly, very cheaply, with just enough design difference to not infringe copyright.

Not all of this is bad, of course (beyond all the obvious stuff about the ethics of production). Why should only those with plentiful bank accounts have access to bang-up-to-date designs, especially if they absolutely love them – rather than feeling impelled towards them because they’re current and hot and all sorts of other words implying fleeting desirability?

It’s also not entirely new. My grandma once told me about paying a seamstress to make a replica of that feted Mondrian dress by YSL. Sadly, it’s one of the few items of hers I haven’t inherited (she gave it to her mother later in life, and it eventually ended up being donated to a costume department of a theatre in the States). I guess the difference was that, back then, you had to make a very active decision on what you wished to emulate – and then do it yourself, or find someone else capable of whipping up your budget dreams.

It can also be great fun. I used to spend a lot of time trying to work out how to do charity shop versions of Christopher Kane and Burberry. I still take pride, on occasion, in whipping up a version of something from the catwalk, usually for less than 20 quid.   

Given all of that, here’s my latest offering: a skirt that, at a glance, could perhaps just pass muster as Gucci. You know the one: the metallic pleats seen on everyone from Alexa Chung to endless fashion bloggers. Its provenance? My childhood dressing up box. Its price? 30p, I believe. My mum originally bought it from a jumble sale. As a kid it became a pleated cloak, a pirate’s skirt, a hoard of gold all of its own. I wore it for serious dressing up duties. It has also figured on this blog once before, worn to temporarily transform me into an autumn queen surrounded by windfall apples.

It was also my mum who pointed out its almost mirror-similarity to Alessandro Michele’s AW15 design. Near-identical. Though mine, admittedly, has a very crudely elasticated waist (literally a piece of elastic tacked to the inside and reinforced with safety pins). Every time I’ve worn it though, I’ve felt wonderful: striding around in all my shiny, swooping brilliance. It’s also garnered a fair few compliments from strangers (that ultimate litmus test of how excellent/ audacious something is). So I guess I have Gucci to thank. Without that gold lame skirt shimmering its way along a runway, I might have left this languishing in the dressing up box for a whole lot longer…

The particular styling here was chosen to replicate Alexa’s look (seen here): complete with a rainbow-patterned jumper and some black shoes, both from charity shops. I should have braved it with bare legs, but my mum took these pictures a few months ago when it was still awfully freezing…

I’ve been rather quiet this month. I had a dissertation to hand in, and various other projects that took up time. However, I’ve been busy scattering words elsewhere. In the last few weeks I’ve had this published on Broadly about the subversive history of women using thread as ink, and this on Collectively celebrating the ace young women making the online world their oyster.


Anonymous said...

This look is amazing and love the content of this post. The Skirt is stunning and for such a price you can't complain!

Closet Fashionista said...

LOOOOVE this!! I've always had so much fun trying to recreate designer looks. Although I try to stay away from the stores that copy things exactly and do something more like you did. And that skirt is spot on! It's amazing what you can find if you dig in your closet :)

Porcelina said...

I much prefer your look to Alexa's. I once was pleased to pick up a Louis Vuitton copy for £20, as I'd drooled over the real thing for ages. I love it just as much! X

olivia grace said...

Always, always fantastic xxx

Izzy DM said...

Alexa Chung is an excellent stylist to imitate! I love her style. I passed her once in New York on a way to a friend's birthday party in the East Village and did that embarrassing double-take that you do when you think you know someone, but really they're a celebrity. What struck my eye in particular was the way she had of wearing a coat as much as the actual coat itself; she really has a certain je ne sais quoi that's special. Plus, I think she's even prettier in real life.

I love how the gold lintel is picked up in the gold skirt in the middle picture or vice versa rather. (Baby's cutting his fourth tooth and was up all night. I'm probably making less sense than usual!!!) I'm going to try to make a bigger effort to keep up with my blog, though. I really miss exploring my own personal notions, not necessarily publishable anywhere else.

I used to do this all the time in New York, too, see fabulous designer outfits and then haunt the thriftstores looking for ways to emulate them. I like a lot about Philadelphia, but I haven't found it to be very fashion forward. All the girls are in suede ankle boots and expensive, boxy coats with matching highlights in their hair. Pretty but repetitive. I'm more getting inspiration from television shows and the internet these days. Like this look! I don't have a metallic skirt, but I do have a calf-length one from a glorious thriftshop on Lafayette that I bought because it looked like a shot from an editorial I'd seen in Vogue. Still haven't worn it! xx

Lally said...

Oh gosh it's an utterly fabulous skirt, and what a find for 30p (I really miss the days of very very cheap jumble sales - they seem to be an ever diminishing event). It's funny the copy catting catwalk looks, I've done it too... so many times. Racing to the chazzas to get the look, and I always feel incredibly pleased when I find the 'right' item. I love that your grandma had the Mondrian frock whipped up! My mum has re-created a number of items for me over the years, very handy indeed! XXX

Ivana Split said...

I must admit that I never liked those 'get the look' pages in magazines, because the alternative is usually too pricy for me...and I dislike copies anyhow. I'm not saying that designers don't copy each other, but at least when you see a designer piece you can justify the price with the quality of material and the uniqueness of design (and its status)...while the alternative presented as 'affortable' is usually a pricy item made from some cheap material and probably at expense of some poor worker in undevelopment country. Getting the look by relying on a second hand shop sounds much more fun!

I do like that skirt. It is so glam and makes me think of the Jazz age. I've always had a thing for plaid skirts and that one is simply divine. You look ravishing dear!


I would much rather have an affordable version like the the look you're wearing rather than an overpriced designer version. The designer pieces that I do own, I never overpaid for, most all found at charity shops, vintage sales, or given to me. Your skirt is a dream, it would certainly be a glamour favourite in my closet!

Esther López said...

Hi Rosalind! just tell you I LOVE your blog and I'm shooked the way you mix beautiful wild pictures with vintage clothes and interesting essays! that makes me think you can have opposite interests and make them converge in a same place!

I just opened a blog, its still taking the first steps and I don't know what direction it will take, firstly I started with some thoughts but I would like to include photos in the future as well. The first ones are in Spanish but I'm going to start to writing them in English as well to grow my audience. If you have a moment, it would make me incredible happy if you could have a look to the last essay I wrote, it's a short one about being imperfect in a looking-for-perfection society. I give you the English version:


Clara Mann said...

Hi just to say I love your blog so much, your style is really inspirational to a youngling such as myself, especially as I too come from a practically non existent UK village. I would really honoured if you'd check out my blog? It's called
it's basically vintage and oddball fashion plus fairy lights :) yours
Clara c

Ana de la Serna said...

Lovely skirt. Beautiful photos.

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