>> Does anybody remember Julia Stiles (or even more worryingly remember who she even is?) in pretty-satisfactory-yet-not-quite-100%-there 10 Things I Hate About You – i.e. a warped teenfest version of Shakespeare's The Taming of the Shrew? Does anyone recall the scene when her sister aka girl who played Alex Mack and Joseph Gordon Levitt were snooping around in Stiles/The Shrew's bedroom sniffing her underwear? For some reason when I watched it at the time I honed in on the wall in that scene and saw an All Saints poster and I distinctly remember thinking to myself "If this girl was such a Sylvia Plath-reading, Raincoats-listening self-confessed badass bitch, why has she got such a naff girl band poster up on her wall?!" Then I noted that Stiles/Shrew shared a penchant with the khaki loving' foursome for combat trousers, cashed in at the time by every high street shop and cheapie clothing market stall there was about town. There's much to be said about the sociological significance of the popularity of the combat trouser as much as there is about the more menacing upper half counterpart, the hoodie – well at least in the UK there is. Combat trouser girl doesn't give a damn about her reputation, she's got low slung bagginess and more than four pockets on her trews and she's not afraid to use them.
All this is a bit of a long diversion to say that my memories of All Saints have faded to just that one scene in a poor movie as well as their somewhat significant contribution to shoving hands in baggy trousers that weren't trackie bottoms or jeans. I too contributed to the heaving sales with pairs in shades of stone, olive green and black – however I drew the line when they started doing them in powder pink and blue. This is an even more roundabout way of saying that I've got BACK into the combat trouser game with a pair of significantly altered and rejuvenated pair of khaki/military trousers (apparently khaki can refer to colour, fabric and trouser style as well as denoting several shades of colour). The Valentino x Gap collection sold out in less than 20 minutes at Dover Street Market but nothing was going to stop me from putting ruffles on my hips (despite the number of online critics of said trews) as well as rounding off a sartorial chapter of combat trouser wearing, which began in 1997 and could have died a weedy death but instead was rejuvenated by Valentino's embellished take on an oft-repeated classic in Gap world. I've not yet decided whether the pockets will once again be weighed down with crap like they used to be (discman, wallet, chewing gum, a can of Impulse Body Spray and a fold out brush that did more harm than good to my hair‚Ä¶). For now, I'm finding the Valentino upgrade to be equally, if not more comfortable (well I haven't shoved anything except for hands in the pockets yet‚Ä¶) and of course strategically placed ruffles and ties were always going to get a thumbs-up for me.
(Worn with G.H.O.S.T. necklace, Crockett & Jones slippers, Tory Burch bag)
P.S. I've also redeveloped a penchant for pre-distressed clothes that are also oh-so-indicative of the late nineties… except this multi directional striped top by Singaporean menswear label Woods Woods's distressing is very very subtle. Thanks to Hong Kong's store arbiter of good taste Kapok for pointing me in its soft, stripy and well-worn direction.
P.P.S. The collaboration got a relatively quiet and strangely European-only release. I guess I can count myself lucky in that respect but I do wonder how the decision not to release it in the US came to be…?