So I’m looking at Chanel’s Spring 2010 collection, about which the correspondent for style.com reports:
[T]he Chanel country coquettes managed to flirt their way around every rustic reference in Karl Lagerfeld’s extensive repertoire of craft-y couture skills, from hopsack to basket weave and cane work to aprons, dirndls, peasant-y poppy prints, and fantastic wooden double-C clogs. It was a bumper harvest of everything that is chicly tattered, beribboned, and gloriously made about Chanel, as well as the season’s sole experience to make the anxiety and earnestness around fashion evaporate, to make it seem like fantastic fun again.
Mostly, though, they looked appallingly young, although I suspect this is de rigueur for the contemporary runway, which seems to demand an endless supply of twelve-year-olds of all ages.
What I found remarkable was how successful the collection was in merging the extreme frothiness of Lolita with signature Chanel textured bouclés. It really does add an unexpected youthfulness to otherwise conservative materials.
Although “Lolita” is a reference to Vladimir Nabokov’s famous novel, and Lolita fashion is often worn by teens, most followers of the style do not consider it overtly sexual. Adherents present themselves as Victorian children or baby dolls and prefer to look “cute” rather than “sexy”. Many Lolitas claim that the term “Lolita” doesn’t necessarily have anything to do with sex at all.
And besides, this particular, um, school seems to have originated in Japan, where there’s a premium on looking like you’re nowhere near ready for Lastday in Logan’s Run.
Still, I admit I found the name a trifle offputting when I first heard it. I blame Clare Quilty.