Autumn doesn’t only show us how beautiful it is to let things go, it also rings in the season of change. And when it comes to change and new beginnings, there’s one quite interesting trend out there, taking us back all the way to infancy: in 2020 more than ever, the dress that rocks the cradle rules the world.
“But she won’t fit into her baptism dress anymore… –blame on you, a plague on both your souls!!” She didn’t say it like that, especially the second part, but my grandmother might as well have the day she scolded me about postponing baby G’s baptism once again. My daughter is bound to turn two, but still hasn’t had her magic-baby-angel-in-white-lace moment yet. Which seems to infuriate my proud ancestor, who has religiously been safekeeping the same magical white dress her own proud ancestors put their babies in these past few decades. Honestly there is no making me feel guilty about breaking family tradition, I didn’t ask for Corona nor for my own way too hectic work schedule. It does sting though when I consider baby G will never get to wear layers and layers of adorable lace and tulle. (Except if she ever gets married and turns out to be one of those meringue bride types of course -same same but different.) Especially when I consider the fashion choices I’ve made myself these past months, mirrored on catwalks that seemed polished with holy water: is it me, or is wearing a grownup version of cute baptism dresses the next big thing? And why the hell –that’s my plagued soul cursing– would we do that?!
Cecilie Bahnsen, Tory Burch, Simone Rocha, Junya Watanabe and Avavav Furenze to name but a few all bring a sense of baby blues -or should I say whites- to their game with balloon silhouettes and embroidery, ruffles and frills on all the right places. Simone Rocha’s take on AW20 in particular appeals to the most innocent stage in life, although there’s a gradual darkening throughout her collection -a reflection on the inevitable drama in each and every journey. Stepping out for an important meeting seems like something of the past in times of confinement and lockdown, yet in the unlikely event it would be totally fine to wear a romantic frock dress to such dreamlike thing as a board meeting. Right? And now we’re at it, let’s top it off with a cute bonnet! I used to mentally re-design my own wedding dress over and over again, but nowadays my fashion daydreams seem to evolve around childlike frocks. There’s something incredibly comforting about those puffs of white lace, silk and wool, with dramatic trains and comfy volumes. It’s a lot less demanding than being a bride: no need to be sexy, no pressure to rule the day, no man to enchant, just a baby girl bundled up in pretty clothes, being taken care of by lovely other people. No responsibilities, only me and my pretty frock -so big and comfy, I could even have a nap in it. Come think about it, I think I just answered my own question: these dresses make you feel safe, you literally step into a safe haven away from all the danger and chaos in the big bad world. I recently read an article entitled “Aging Millenials Soothe Themselves With Childlike Fashions”. It stated that “freaked-out millennials creeping –what an ugly word– into their 30s look for an escape in clothing and accessories that remind them of their youth”. Hence all the hairclips, crunchies, colorful sweaters and tutus on the runway these past seasons, people dressing up like Vaneloppe Von Schweetz for a little shot at youthfulness. The world isn’t getting brighter, so it only seems logic deal to dig even further into the mists of time to find that much coveted carefreeness.
We’ve seen a lot of ways to cope with the great big world this past decade. From retro space suits, Games of Thrones-worthy harnesses, fairytale looks and even the blank rational of normcore. The latter allowing us to hide in knitted cocoons while at the same time stating we are very grounded adults -no nonsense, no fuss. There’s been the prairie dress too, turning its wearers into puritan pioneer women looking for a fresh start and new horizons. The baby trend takes it even further and aims to reboot it all: back to baptism, back to birth, back to a blank slate. Cradle to cradle. And yet, I guess there’s more to it than trying to dive right back in what was literally the age of innocence. There’s a religious matter to it too. Not one religion in particular, Simone Rocha playfully adds saints and martyrs to her collection, while Bahnsen refers to pagan cults in her home country and others add a touch of puritanism’s unspoiled, virginal looks. Religious as in: magical, the promise that some higher power will eventually take care of us, press reboot and make it all go away. It’s something my superstitious self works well with -maybe that is why I’m more drawn toward this trend than to the normcore stuff.
As to the higher powers: what do they say? Depends on who’s talking, really, and I would recommend steering clear of traditional religion…. Simone Rocha for instance, evoked Saint Malachy, Ireland’s patron saint, in her collection, and he is in for trouble. Or rather, so are we according to him: in his Prophecies of the Popes, written he the 12th century, he stated the world was to end in the time of Pope Francis. A prediction that is so creepy I instantly want to disappear in a pile of baby clothes. And start a petition to put someone else than Pope Francis in charge. The stars, on the other hand, gently whisper something else. I spoke to a bunch of astrologists and modern witches, who shrugged and said 2020 was always supposed to be a year of turmoil, an era of reinventions and new beginnings. Something about putting two and two together, they said… It’s not going to be easy, for sure, and the new way of things may seem ill-fitting for some time. Much like the original baptism dress my overgrown baby won’t fit into once I finally get to organize her magical-angel-baby-thing-moment. But that’s okay, we’ll make her a new one, fit to face the new world, and in the meantime I get to wear frills and fuss. In short: we’re definitely still in for that baptism, let’s reschedule.