Why We Still Can’t Get Enough Of The Early Years

What would Paris Hilton do? This is the question Marianne Mychaskiw asked herself at the very beginning of the pandemic, when the world was plunged into a state of utter confusion, turmoil and fear. The answer: Juicy Couture tracksuits — and lots of them. The 33-year-old beauty editor unearthed those from her youth, and once she rocked her decades-old ensemble, she couldn’t stop; she needed more Y2K mode. He isolated her from the world outside her apartment door, wrapping her in rainbow-colored velvet and the comforting embrace of nostalgia.

“Being an adult doesn’t mean you stop wearing Juicy tracksuits — it just means you pay for your own,” she says. “It made me happy to build on that [early 2000s] expression because it’s nostalgic and comforting to me.

When it comes to defining exactly what the early 2000s aesthetic entails, the consensus is this: Juicy Couture tracksuits, lots of skin, skin-tight silhouettes, everything low-rise. “It’s a hybrid of that over-the-top Paris Hilton glamor mixed with athletic tracksuits, UGGSs and trucker hats,” says Allison Aberizk, co-founder of the new New York-based multi-brand concept store. Aberizk which stocks vintage (those with a strong 90s and 2000s bias) and pieces from emerging independent designers. “It’s kind of a mix of very glamorous and athleisure – definitely a juxtaposition of different energies.”

But it’s impossible to talk about Y2K fashion without taking a step back and looking at the zeitgeist, namely the celebrities who led the look (Paris Hilton — obviously — Britney Spears, Christina Aguilera), an era marked by the male gaze , and an invasive tabloid culture that has been perpetuated by the paparazzi.

“I consider that era to be the last truly misogynistic era. It was an imposed sexuality, and maybe it didn’t feel good for everyone to be so sexualized,” says Olivia La Roche, founder of her boutique. vintage. O. La Roche. “There were a lot of problems then; it was the era of the very thin and tall white girl, and it was extremely inaccessible to most people. It was the height of anorexia, spray tan, bleached hair, blue contacts. The confluence of technology, media publishing, paparazzi and celebrity type, it was probably the cruellest era for women and young women who were at their most vulnerable time.

Photo by Dave Hogan/Getty Images

The difference now – between the hot times of 2002 and its return 20 years later – is the political climate, the consequences of a national toll caused by #MeToo and #TimesUp. Applied to Y2K 2.0, and there is an unmistakable degree of reclaiming, asserting control and power over one’s own sexuality. And when you have 30-something editors and tastemakers pushing the trend forward — those who experienced the year 2000 as a tween or teenager — the throwback feels like sartorial redemption at through the prism of women’s empowerment.

“I kinda feel like revenge of the nerds. Say your teens or early twenties weren’t the sexiest, you can look back on it with the confidence you have as an adult,” La Roche explains, noting that she finds herself drawn to pieces that were attracting in 2002, but now has the confidence to wear them as an adult. “It’s almost like trauma therapy. I was so traumatized by people like Paris Hilton because I didn’t look like that at all. And now I can let go of all the body issues that arose back then, because they don’t matter, and now I can wear this trend in my own way. Because all the people who felt marginalized at that time in fashion can reclaim this sexuality. There are a lot of returns on investment now.

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Tom Ford Spring/Summer 2022

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David Koma Resort 2022

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Missoni Spring/Summer 2022

And for Mychaskiw, that’s the ultimate goal: “to be the hot, bitchy cheerleader with a heart of gold, and now that I have disposable income, I can.” When she was a beauty editor, she felt the pressure to present herself a certain way (all black, all Alexander Wang – aka big city editor uniform), but once she left the editorial world, its truest form has emerged. His muse? Jodi Lyn O’Keefe’s character, Taylor Vaughan, in She is all that.

“When I was growing up at that time, I was very insecure, but as I got older, I became more comfortable with my body,” she continues. “There’s something to be said for channeling the sex kitten we’ve always wanted to be, and now we’re in a place where body positivity is much more of a thing now. We used to see only one type of body; now everyone is celebrated, so there are ways for everyone to lean into that bitchy popular girl aesthetic. I feel freer and more empowered to experiment with these kinds of looks.

The cyclical nature of trends and the chronological order in which they hit the collective fashion consciousness is why exactly no one was surprised by the emergence of Y2K – and especially given the strength of 90s minimalism that has gripped the industry in recent years, it makes sense that the pendulum would swing the other way, towards an era of excess. “A lot of millennials have lost their jobs or changed careers, and they wanted to think back to a simpler time in their formative years,” Aberizk muses, “referring to a time when they felt very comfortable or Thinking back to a time before the social media boom.

@paris2000s

And the fact that the rise of hot stuff – and therefore, this new desire for fashion experimentation and total self-expression – coincides perfectly with people getting vaccinated and coming out of lockdown (although it this is the third year of the pandemic).

“It’s really perfect timing, with people being cooped up for years at this point and not being able to party, which is another thing that defines this moment: the exit looks,” La Roche says. (According to Thrilling’s 2021 year in review, “sheer fabrics, lace, lace-ups, briefs and other sexy silhouettes” will be the big trends this year.) “People really crave connection, and what could be more connected than erotica? Even if it’s not necessarily to another person, it’s a feeling of connecting to that healing part of self, for people who have been isolated during the pandemic.

Another big contributor to this sexual upheaval, dress-wise, is that the majority of people continue to work from home. Thus, the purchase of office-appropriate clothing is no longer a factor. In other words, it led to “the death of day-to-night attire,” quips lifestyle writer and editor Eliza Dumais.

“I couldn’t ride to the office in a rhinestone shirt that said ‘baby girl’ because no one would take me seriously,” adds Mychaskiw, who recently bought a pair of Hustler logo sweatpants and turns often. to Depop and Poshmark to sate her early 2000s fashion appetite. “But now I just live my life, so might as well dress how I want and buy the things that make me happy.”

Even though elements of the hot trends have permeated virtually every new designer collection (see: micro pleated miniskirts for Miu Miu Spring/Summer 2022 or butterfly patterns on the Blumarine Spring/Summer 2022 runway), there is something to say about going straight to the source – true relics of the decade. The 2000s marked the beginning of social media, which allowed for more documentation, more content that is now readily available for consumption, and it is for this reason that La Roche believes that both eras (2022 and early 2000s) fit together perfectly, making the 2000s vintage less niche and more open to people who wouldn’t normally buy used. She points to Galliano for Dior, Tom Ford for Gucci, Roberto Cavalli and Blumarine as the most sought-after and emblematic designers of this era. “And Italian designers – that’s why Italian vintage is so good right now,” she adds. “There’s this Italian sex appeal that really fits that era.”

Sex appeal, yes, and also a level of irreverence that can’t be ignored.

“When I see someone our age wearing something from the 2000s, like a Bebe logo t-shirt, I’m like, ‘I bet he’s got a great personality,'” Mychaskiw says. “It’s funny, witty and a bit ironic. This person governs, because you are a little in the game.

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