Thursday, 18 June 2009

Cool Britannia!

Oh yes, cool Britannia is back, baby. And in a big way! If it's red, white, and blue, and it has the union jack on it then apparently it is your "hot new trend" for the summer.Does anyone else find it a little scary and perculiar how fast trends are moving in their cyclical nature nowadays? At 25, i'm not sure that the clothes of my childhood should be the new retro, or the new vintage. But in the past 5 years we're raped the 20s, 50s, 60s and the 80s, so it's back to the 90s we go! And it's worrying to hear kids on the bus refer to things less than 1o years old as "vintage" dont you think?

In case your interested in this kind of thing, the phrase "Cool Britannia" is a media term which was first used in 1967 as a song title by the Bonzo Dog Doo Dah Band. The phrase then reappeared in the mid-1990s as a registered trade mark for one of Ben & Jerry's ice-creams (vanilla with strawberries and chocolate-covered shortbread). The ice cream name and recipe was coined in early 1996 by an American lawyer called Sarah Moynihan-Williams who was living in London. Her Cool Britannia icecream was the winning entry in a Ben and Jerry's ice cream competition. Her name for the ice cream as "Cool Britannia" was meant to presage the era of New Labour, which came about with their election win in May 1997. The phrase was quickly adopted in the media and in advertising, seeming to capture the "It" quality of London at the time. The election of Blair's government in 1997 on a platform of modernisation and with Blair as a relatively young Prime Minister gave the idea fresh currency. To the extent that it had any real meaning, "Cool Britannia" referred to the transient fashionable London scene, 1990s bands such as Blur and Oasis, fashion designers, the Young British Artists and magazines. Cool Britannia also summed up the mood in Britain during the mid-1990s Britpop movement, when there was a sudden influx of lively British rock and pop music from bands such as Oasis, Blur, Suede, Supergrass, Pulp and The Verve, as well as the Spice Girls. Many link popularity of the Austin Powers films and the resurgence of James Bond 007 as factors of the spread of Cool Britannia. The movement, along with political factors, saw a renewal in British pride, typified by such things as Noel Gallagher's Union Flag guitar and Geri Halliwell's iconic skimpy Union Flag dress.
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And now it's back. I suppose it's only to be expected. Patriotism is always at its most apparent during times of crisis (I'm thinking of the two world wars) and the current economic crisis is bringing the people of the country together once more. As well as enabling the BNP to get a foot in the door and tearing our government apart. Which makes the union jack take on a more sinister overtone, no? Isn't it sad that one political party can make what should be a source of National pride seem like something to be ashamed of? The ugly face of patriotism. Anyway.

With the cool Britannia theme continuing to rage on the highstreet, and my realisation that I could "make do" a lot of the theme with the current contents of my own wardrobe, here is my take on "Cool Britannia Cool". But more of a cool Brittannia got hit by the credit crunch, lost all their money, and had to start working as a dinner lady....
Dishevelled hair, dinner lady dresses and smeared dollops of make up. Oh yeah, I bet there are models everywhere eating their hearts out!
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Love, Tor x
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PS - The pic at the top is French designer Jean-Charles de Castelbajac paying tribute to Princess Diana in his 2006 collection. I sort of, actually, definitely love it!

3 comments:

KD said...

How ironic! Just earlier today I was thinking how much I love the Union Jack, and asking myself, why? Whats so cool about it? I still am not quite sure, but I do know that it is indeed cool!

Sarah-Rose and Craig said...

really love the first outfit you've created - I think especially the hair ... thing. The red thing. Hat? Lady-Ga-Ga-Esque ball of hair? either way, I love it.

Make Do Style said...

Love the dinner lady look - if only they were that cool!