Saturday, February 26, 2011

Why mauve is the new purple

It's getting better all the time. The long, dark, turgid slog that was January is behind us, there's a chink of light in the sky at 6.40 in the morning, there's a hint of spring in the air, England have seen off the indomitable cricketers of the Netherlands. And just like the glossy cherry on the frosty icing of an especially moist cake, along comes London Fashion Week to cheer us up even more.

Ah, London Fashion Week. Regimes may crumble, earthquakes may rumble, but the show must go on. The glitterati hobnob with the fashionistas. Velvet flirts with velour, denim disses diamante. Electric blue clashes with strawberry pink. And loses.

And everyone who isn't directly involved pulls a sheet over their heads and wonders what it's all about.

What it's all about, of course, is the transmogrification of art into money. The often outlandish creations you see sashaying down the catwalk this week will soon be stripped down to become the off-the-peg stuff you'll be buying in the shops in a few months' time.
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So what are the top stories at this year's extravaganza of style? What's hot to trot, what's too cool for school? We asked Chronicle style guru Aramintha Tyghte-Pringle for her tips for 2011.

First and most important, says Aramintha, is colour. And this season, that colour is mauve. "Forget taupe, darling. Forget aubergine. Apricot is so last October. Mauve is bold, mauve makes a statement. Mauve says: 'I am me; you are you'. Mauve is the new purple."

The signature look this spring, says Aramintha, is the hat. Think big, think brash, think that wedding (Minty's already got her invite! She's so made up about it!).

But this year the hat comes with a twist. "Darling, the big word is basketwork," breathes Aramintha. "Jasper, Vivienne, Issey, Stella: everyone who is anyone has gone for that open-weave look."

Hardly practical, though, is it Minty? Surely the main point of wearing a hat is to keep the weather off? And surely the holes in an open-weave basketwork hat would do exactly the opposite?

"Are you quite mad, darling?" squeaks Aramintha. "The girl who wears this kind of hat doesn't go outside! She so doesn't care about the weather! She gets a taxi! Everywhere!"

OK, Minty, we'll take your word for it. The world of fashion is a mysterious one, and it is not for us mere mortals to question its ways.

Finally, though, the question everyone's asking: are hemlines going up or coming down?

Aramintha fixes us with a steely eye. "Down, darling. Definitely down. Hemlines follow the markets, and times are getting tight. Why, Daddy's even had to let two of the gardeners go.

"But like he says, we're all in it together. That's why he's stopped buying Champers. And by June, my skirt will be right down around my ankles."

  • Aramintha Tyghte-Pringle is currently at the Priory recovering from a fit of the italics.

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