Free Speech: Hadley Freeman On Michael Jackson And Peaches ‘N Cream
Hadley Freeman is ready to welcome their return, are you?
To say that the eighties are back is almost as much of a cliché these days as palling up with Beth Ditto—and in no way is that meant as a negative comment on either Ditto or the aforementioned decade. But last week in Paris, the expressions of love for both reached a nigh-on hysterical level. In regards to Ditto, seeing as the fashion world is incapable of ogling enough of her, she stripped off to near-nothing at the Fendi party and stage-dived bang on top of Ellen von Unwerth. There was something symbolic in that moment. As for the eighties, forget about just going for bright colors and the occasional Madonna homage. This decade has been so well and thoroughly pillaged in the past few years (due in no small part to the number of designers with decidedly sepia-tinted memories of the era), that, as with Ditto, the decade is stripping itself down to a somewhat extreme extent. For next season, some of the more unlikely fashions of the eighties are being held up as trends to follow.
First, Michael Jackson. Just in time for his upcoming tour, Jackson is definitely having what is called a “moment.” Not even when “Bad” was at its baddest was dressing like Jackson really what I would call “fashionable.” But now it’s the most fashionable look you can go for, thanks to Balmain and its stiff, heavily embellished military-style jackets. Does Balmain make single white gloves? It damn well should. Which brings us to Dynasty. Yes, yes, you all know about the return of shoulder pads. Nicolas Ghesquière has taken this trend to its natural conclusion with his collection at Balenciaga, which found more inspiration in Alexis Carrington than it did in Charlotte Gainsbourg. The fact that his deep, plush, plunging evening dresses—with, of course, shoulder pads—were shown with that ultimate eighties staple, polka-dot tights, made me love them even more. But it was Chanel that seemed to be channeling a certain icon who was particularly close to my heart in the eighties: Peaches ‘n Cream Barbie. I don’t know why I loved Peaches so much more than the rest of my hugely extensive collection of the doll, but love her I did. So my heart did a true little flip and leap when Lara Stone, bursting through the otherwise largely monochrome collection, walked out in her nearly all-pink outfit looking so delightfully like Peaches ‘n Cream Barbie that I believe I made a little sigh of pleasure. Some might call the return of these figures a sign that the barrel of eighties fashion is truly being scraped to splinters. Tut, tut, tut. In fact, designers have simply been warming us up for the past few years with their more mainstream fashion homages before hitting us with these high-quality references; only the truly discerning could appreciate them without preparation. 2009 wasn’t looking good when it started. But Peaches ‘n Cream Barbie courtesy of Chanel? Suddenly that little credit-crunch nonsense isn’t looking so depressing.