NYFW is all about broccoli and baguettes

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At times when the worlds of food and fashion collide, we’ve been conditioned to expect outrageous. Think Lady Gaga’s meat dress at the 2010 VMAs. Or perhaps more recently the Primark X Greggs collaboration.

With a fair few designers opting to turn their SS/23 runways into metaphorical mini-buffets during New York Fashion Week earlier this month, we were left with many a talking-point.  

Collina Strada’s SS/23 ready-to-wear collection showed that Y2K fashion doesn’t have to be the ozone-guzzling phenomenon that fast-fashion micro-trends are hot on turning it into — what could be more sustainable than sending an actual broccoli bag down the catwalk? Granted, it was dripping with Swarovski crystals which I don’t imagine will work wonders for the compost.

Nevertheless, in this moment the label’s founder Hillary Taymour made good her promise to be ‘radically transparent’ when it comes to sustainability, as she stated in a 2021 interview for ELLE. And who’s to say it hasn’t worked?

The Y2K trend is, in a certain way, all about niche

The Y2K trend is, in a certain way, all about niche. Rare token garments and novelty accessories that encapsulate the essence of a specific cultural mood — that is, the gaudy, attention-grabbing style of the early 2000s — that could easily raise an eyebrow or two.

It’s fair to say that Collina Strada took this brief and ran with it, leaving the die-hard Y2K Depop fanatics with wardrobes full of overpriced baby-tees practically frothing at the mouth.

One might argue that a ‘broccoli bag’ is a bit of an obvious choice and that there are more nuanced ways of demonstrating a commitment to sustainability. But then again Collina Strada are, somewhat ironically, no-nonsense when it comes to making a statement.

In that same ELLE interview Taymour promised her clothing would, in true Y2K fashion, ‘embody humor and youth, and the ability to look inward, even when we seem loud and hyper-expressive on the outside.’

Initially it doesn’t seem like a broccoli-themed look would have much to unpick beneath the surface. But it was, along with many of the other looks on that runway, nostalgic for a simpler time, for the inner-child which in this era of successive socio-economic crises we have begun to yearn for more than ever.

Collina Strada weren’t the only ones getting our mouths watering at Y2K nostalgia, with Fendi putting together a delectable show in celebration of the baguette bag’s 25th birthday.

No doubt we have Carrie Bradshaw being mugged down a New York back-alley to thank for turning the baguette, in and of itself, into an iconic cultural moment. Homage was made to the dearly departed purple sequined baguette and, in fact, to every kind of baguette conceivable.

It was, along with many of the other looks on that runway, nostalgic for a simpler time

The audience were promptly thrust into an illimitable vortex of baguette upon baguette, with minis sewn onto socks as well as gloves and caps, hanging from belt loops and even appropriating the pockets on cargo skirts.

The energetic vibrancy of Y2K was everywhere to be seen, with bright greens, glittering silvers and — the pièce de résistance — Bella Hadid in a lustrous, baguette-adorned Tiffany blue boiler suit.

Although somewhat lacking in physical resemblance to the elongated carbohydrate that is its namesake, the baguette was designed to be held neatly under the arm, emulative of the French women of traditions past who did the very same with their loaves.

While we’re on the subject of baked goods, it’s worth noting Dauphinette’s decision to debut a croissant bag, inspired by their croissant lamps which, you may remember, have recently enjoyed a bout of TikTok fame.

Although not exactly Y2K in essence, the croissant bag helped to cement New York Fashion Week’s obsession with runways that were, quite literally, fit for human consumption.

Such themes have so far failed to make the journey across the pond to London Fashion Week, where a much more acute awareness of the cost-of-living crisis, hand in hand with the Queen’s recent passing has somewhat shifted the focus.

It is tempting to look upon such runways with disapproving eyes, especially from the dire perspective of a student being ushered into the new academic year by a sinister cost-of-living crisis.

It does seem slightly tasteless to bedazzle a broccoli or fasten a gold chain to a croissant

When the choice between heating and eating is one many people will be forced to make, it does seem slightly tasteless to bedazzle a broccoli or fasten a gold chain to a croissant, turning precious sustenance into sumptuous accessories.

Not to mention the price we must pay for truly sustainable fashion — I’d imagine that the broccoli bag, although far from the calibre of a Fendi baguette, still won’t have you grinning at the price tag.

It’s encouraging to see that sustainability is big in the Durham fashion scene, but I would opt for something a little more likely to hold your textbooks than what the Marketplace Tesco has to offer.

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