25 trends at London fashion week

Tuesday at LFW: A model wears Erdem

From cardigans to to croque monsieurs – what was hot on and off the capital’s catwalks this year

 Jess Cartner-Morley

 1 Colours that almost clash now look more stylish and well-put-together than colours that “go”. Fact. See: emerald with salmon at Nicole Farhi, and chartreuse with lilac at Betty Jackson.

2 The Angular Hourglass is the new silhouette. Sharp shoulders, small waist and the new diamond-shaped skirt. As seen at Peter Pilotto and Antonio Berardi.

3 Rolling the hems of your trousers up just-so is essential to show off your new shoes, but is not as easy as it looks. Swot up by poring over thesartorialist.blogspot.com

4 The Mulberry Bayswater handbag is a new classic. Next season, you can go girly with the pale pink bow-trimmed version or channel Alexa Chung tomboy chic with the satchel-strapped one.

5 When you see the new Luella collection, you are going to want to wear sky blue and lemon yellow. Really.

6 Apparently, we are going to be wearing ankle boots all next summer.

7 Croque monsieurs are fashion‘s new favourite snack. You should have seen the queue for them at the Topshop venue. Sashimi is so last season

8 The most expensive item in the average British person’s wardrobe cost £293, according to new research by insurer Hiscox.

9 Shagpile carpet is set to make a comeback, if the swooning over Jaeger’s thick cream catwalk is anything to go by.

Twenty8Twelve denim outfit Will Sienna Miller be wearing double denim, as in this Twenty8Twelve outfit, next season? Photograph: Danny Martindale/WireImage.com 10 Big shoulders are here to stay.

11 Double denim could be set for a shock comeback. Will Sienna Miller be wearing this outfit from her Twenty8Twelve collection next summer?

12 Cleavage is totally over. Even Kelly Brook wore a high-necked, smock-style dress to Philip Green’s party.

13 Grace Kelly will be the style reference to drop next summer.

14 Very posh cardigans are the new evening coats. Next season we want Pringle’s luxe, louche cable knit or Christopher Kane’s slashed navy cardi. Until then we’re wearing our Kate Moss Topshop silver sequined number to death.

15 The first sightings of the Powder and Flash power-mesh-backed sexy silk frocks by Preen on the party circuit will be next season’s Galaxy moment, mark our words. Order one now, while you still can.

16 Betty Jackson rocks. Her pink-and-coffee floral dress is top of our summer shopping list.

17 Simon Cowell is the celebrity’s celebrity. The starry crowd at Sir Philip Green’s dinner at The Ivy on Sunday – Kate, Naomi, Lily Donaldson, Kelly Brook and co – went decidedly giddy in the presence of the Mayor of Saturday Nights.

18 It is no longer fashionable to be late. When the Peter Pilotto show still hadn’t started after 25 minutes of waiting, Anna Wintour took off her sunglasses, made eye- contact with the PR and tapped her watch. The show started within seconds.

19 Erdem Moralioglu, alumni of the DVF studio now designing his own label in London, could be Britain’s Jason Wu – the go-to designer for First Ladies and shadow first ladies. Sarah Brown wore an Erdem abstract-floral frock for her Downing Street bash; four days later Sam Cameron turned up in the front row at the Erdem show.

Christopher Kane dress The dress to wear this autumn is this one by Christopher Kane, £1,485 from net-a-porter.com. 20 Sequins are now perfectly acceptable daywear. Alexandra Shulman, editor of British Vogue, wore sequined cardigans for two days of shows.

21 The dress to wear this autumn, before next season’s trends hit the shops, is this one by Christopher Kane, £1,485 from net-a-porter.com. Tout le monde is wearing it at the shows this week.  

22 Somerset House is a beautiful venue, but cobblestones and spike heeled sandals is a dangerous combination.

23 “Research shows that investing in the fashion business pays dividends for London at a ratio of 30:1.” We don’t know where Boris Johnson got this statistic, but we like it.

24 Next summer, polka dots will be the new Breton stripe. Itsy-bitsy on bikinis at Caroline Charles, blown up to giant scale at Luella.

25 It is time to put your GHD straighteners away and master the arts of backcombing and crimping. Finger-in-the-plug-socket hair is the way to go next season.

New York: spring/summer 2010 collection

New York Fashion Week: Michael Kors

Hilary Alexander reviews the Michael Kors spring/summer 2010 collection from New York Fashion Week.

 New York Fashion Week: Michael Kors

Michael Kors stepped into unknown territory for his spring/summer 2010 collection – the world of pastels. “I’ve never done pastels before; I always felt they were a bit too saccharine. But they seem right for spring. That’s what it’s all about.”

Kors needn’t have worried. His soft palette of blush-pink, delphinium blue, lilac and pistachio, with watercolour-prints in the same shades looked fresh and sophisticated, a marked change from the clear, bright primaries which usually dominate.

His key shape was inspired by architecture, sharp lines and angles, best expressed in the simple shift, traversed with zips and clear plastic ‘windows’ which revealed glimpses of midriff and thigh, or featuring geometric cutouts on shoulders or backs.

He also showed a young, more girlish look with loose, semi-see-through sweaters, in ‘sea foam’ cashmere, worn with crushed, techno-taffeta, skirts like candyfloss.

Draped ‘Grecian’ dresses featured cowl-backs or a single metal strap. Other one-shoulder dresses, in the watercolour print, featured layered, petal-like panels, while cocktail dresses came in black and white sequins, embroidered in a random polka dot pattern. Other sequinned shifts came with a nude tulle hemline revealing the knee.

Kors, who opened his first London flagship earlier this year, now plans a second accessories store in the West End.

The film actor, Michael Douglas, was among the front row celebrities.

“Michael is a friend and I like to go to at least one show a season, to keep in touch and catch a bit of theatre,” he said.

(7) Wedding dresses: Brides on the beach

Tying the knot in an exotic location will allow you to dazzle in one of the stunning, new, softer-look wedding dresses.
By Hilary Alexander, Fashion Director

Sparkling waters, golden sands, brilliant (and guaranteed) sunshine – and an absolute minimum of guests! It is hard to imagine a more romantic setting, or one further removed from the hubble-bubble of close to 500 guests at Hampton Court swigging at a dwindling supply of champagne.

The beach or hot destination wedding continues to be a celebrity choice, as well as a chiconomic option when money is tight.

The Brazilian supermodel, Gisele Bundchen, and her footballer beau, Tom Hardy, chose the Virgin Islands for their wedding in April. The same month, Denise Van Outen and Lee Mears were married in The Seychelles. Heidi Klum and Seal renewed their vows in Malibu in May, four years after their original wedding in the seaside paradise of Mexico’s Puerto Vallarta, while Gary Lineker and Danielle Bux stole away to Portofino on the Italian Riviera for their secret September wedding.

According to a survey carried out recently by You & Your Wedding magazine, 15% of weddings these days happen abroad, with the Caribbean the favourite setting, ahead of Italy in second place.

“Here in Britain we have a sense of romance about sunshine, we’re in love with the sun and beach weddings are absolutely fantastic,” says Colette Harris, editor of You & Your Wedding. “You can have a small number of friends and close family, not a huge guest list; your dress can be less traditional; and the honeymoon is included”.

The 21st century beach wedding, however, is a far cry from the assembly-line approach of the 1990’s.

Wedding dresses: Brides on the beach

“Girls now realise that it’s possible to create a stunning bespoke wedding, instead of being one of twenty couples getting married on a beach, one after the other with the same flowers, witnesses and ceremony like the all-inclusive packages of ten years ago,” says Bryony Toogood, fashion editor of Condé Nast Brides UK. “It’s now much easier to organise a beautiful, tailor-made wedding on a beach, on a cliff, by a lake, in a forest, in a villa – pretty much anywhere you wish in the world.”

Wedding dresses, too, have changed and now take more inspiration from ready-to-wear catwalk trends. Softer looks with Grecian draping and ‘boudoir’ fabrics such as chiffon are key for 2010 and are also more suited to hot destination weddings, quite apart from being easier to pack than a huge meringue. Leading high street brands, including Monsoon and Phase Eight, for example, have added bridal collections at extremely accessible prices, leaving more money available for flights to your sun-drenched location.

BEACH BRIDE RULE-BOOK

DO

* Make sure you know the legal requirements before you book your wedding

* Try and wear natural fabrics

* Take the advice of a local florist who knows which flowers last best in the heat

* Use a sun-cream and SPF make-up/skincare so you look sun-kissed rather than scorched in your wedding photos

* Choose an alcohol-free fragrance to avoid a sunlight reaction

* Use a deodorant you know and trust

* Have shine blotters handy

* Think about a pretty parasol

DON’T

* Even attempt six-inch stilettoes

 

* Try and recreate the big church wedding on the sands, work with what the resort, beach or island has to offer

* Go barefoot without a perfect pedicure

Designer Wedding Show

• Prospective brides will find inspiration for the perfect wedding, and pretty much everything they need except the groom, at the forthcoming Designer Wedding Show , 9th-11th October, Battersea Park, London. Four fashion shows a day will feature the latest collections of all the top bridal labels including Valentino, Elie Saab, Pronovias, the Paris-based Delphine Manivet, who opens her London branch in November, Bruce Oldfield, Suzanne Neville, and Temperley London, who are also offering Telegraph readers the chance to win a wedding dress worth up to £5,000. We also have 100 free tickets for the Designer Wedding Show to give away. Follow the link on our fashion home page for competition details

(6) Fall Fashion: 100 Fashion Finds Under $100

Leah Bourne   Fashion lovers don’t need to break their budgets to replenish their wardrobes with the trendiest new looks this fall.
That’s because a long list of prominent designers, from Jimmy Choo’s Tamara Mellon to Anna Sui, are launching price-conscious secondary lines, partnering with mass retailers or just lowering their prices to appeal to consumers.

Many designers understand that the magic number for shoppers these days hovers around the $100 mark. If that’s within your budget, you can now scoop up some of fall’s hottest items, a welcome change from the last few years when retailers were predominantly pushing luxury goods.

Look first for menswear-inspired looks, such as tailored blazers, Oxford shoes and oversized button-downs–all fashions that can work at the office. The 1980s is another trend that’s very popular now–bold shoulders, neon colors and anything with a vintage biker feel is a must-have this season. In addition, ladylike pieces inspired by Dior’s “New Look” couldn’t be more in fashion, so keep an eye out for pearls, floral-print sheaths and prim cardigans.

Rachel Roy, whose eponymous line has been worn by the likes of Michelle Obama and Kate Hudson, has partnered with Macy’s to launch the price-friendly Rachel Rachel Roy. The line hit shelves in August, a move that was motivated by the economic downturn.

“I believe both designers and consumers have had to prioritize practicality over aspiration in this economy,” says Roy. Instead of investing in her asymmetrical wool dress from her fall ready-to-wear collection for $1,195, women can opt to buy a black sheath dress from Roy’s less expensive line for a fraction of the cost: $109. Roy believes her line will attract customers who are “worldly, educated and modern.”

Roy isn’t alone in trying her hand at affordable fashion. Jil Sander, master of the woman’s power suit, left her namesake label in 2004 and is now launching a collection with Uniqlo called +J in October. Nothing in the collection will exceed $150. The collection includes a crisp white button-down shirt, a tailored black overcoat and cropped gray trousers, all perfect for getting this season’s minimalist androgynous look.

On the accessories front, Jimmy Choo is partnering with H&M, the Swedish-based bargain retail chain, to launch a collection of shoes, handbags and clothes. Expect shopper lines around the block when the collection hits stores in mid-November–and be sure to scoop up the zebra print sandals. After all, animal prints couldn’t be more in style this fall.

Target began collaborating with designers such as Isaac Mizrahi as early as 2002, and has since worked with notables including Alexander McQueen and the Proenza Schouler duo. The retailer is now partnering with Anna Sui on a collection inspired by the characters on Gossip Girl. It will be available in mid-September. Says Sui, “I went through [my] archives and picked the best silhouettes and prints that were representative of each character to draw from the collection.” All of this season’s big fashion trends are covered: There’s a faux leather motorcycle jacket, a menswear vest and a trompe-l’oeil lace printed white and brown mini dress.

Designers aren’t just thinking about fast fashion, however. Some are trying to lure investment shoppers. Consuelo Castiglioni, who designs for the pricey fashion label Marni, says, “I think people are being much more thoughtful about their purchases, looking for things that will last and only get better with time and care.” With that in mind, Castiglioni started designing a capsule collection this spring that, while not for budget shoppers, is less expensive than Marni’s runway collection.

In the fall edition of the collection, there are cropped black trousers for $560, a raspberry silk sheath dress with a raw-edged bow that’s priced at $810 and a long-sleeve fern green wool tartan coat for $1,315. While not cheap, these are refined investment basics that can be worn for many years.

Indeed, the recession may turn out to be a boon for fashion enthusiasts who now have more access than ever to upscale designers. Kate and Laura Mulleavy’s Rodarte, which won the CFDA Womenswear Designer of the Year award this year, is designing a collection for Target. Christopher Kane, the young British designer who is a favorite of Donatella Versace, has partnered with Topshop, and Rag & Bone and Temperley both recently announced that they have diffusion lines in the works.

“People don’t want to wear head-to-toe high-end designer [outfits] like they used to,” says designer Anna Sui, “Consumers now just expect high-end design at affordable prices.”

Affordable Fashion

ForbesWoman editors have selected the 100 best fashion finds–from skirts to dresses, shoes, jewelry and even hats–for under $100. Click on the trends below to see our top wallet-friendly picks for fall.

The Classics

Menswear-Inspired

Animal Prints

Metallics

Eco-Friendly Fashion

Fall Florals

Ultra-Femme

Fall Brights

Military

Pleats & Ruffles

http://www.forbes.com/2009/09/09/fashion-week-trends-forbes-woman-style-fall-clothing_print.html

(5) High Fashion Faces a Redefining Moment

High Fashion Faces a Redefining Moment
By CATHY HORYN

The fabric in the hands of Thakoon Panichgul, one of Michelle Obama’s favorite designers, is exquisite. An Italian jacquard, woven from yarns of eight different colors, it costs $100 a yard. A dress that Mr. Panichgul plans to make from the cloth for his runway show next week will cost $2,000.

He lets it fall away. It troubles Mr. Panichgul that as much as people love beautiful clothes, they do not understand why they cost so much. “It’s becoming a losing battle,” he said.

Designer fashion — the creative wellspring of the American apparel industry, the engine of style magazines, the stuff of plain old dreams — is experiencing a serious case of the blues. As another show season rolls out across the city, against the chilliest retail climate in years, many believe this is not merely a difficult moment for high-end fashion but a defining one as well.

Here is the reality: More and more people shop at H & M and other purveyors of cheap chic. Factories offering fine craftsmanship in Italy and New York are closing as business moves to China. Consumers do not see longevity in the clothes they buy. “I think the true designer business is in trouble, no question about it,” said a senior buying executive at Macy’s, declining to speak on the record because of the company’s policies.

With shoppers afraid to spend, department stores cut orders for fall goods by 30 percent. For next spring — the collections being shown during New York Fashion Week through Sept. 17 — little improvement is seen.

“In my 40 years in fashion, I’ve never seen women scared to shopat all price levels,” said Vera Wang, who sells $1,000 dresses at stores like Bergdorf Goodman and also has a low-priced line at Kohl’s.

Retailers have pressured designers like Ms. Wang to lower their prices. Anyone walking through an empty store in recent months could see why this was necessary. On Tuesday, Neiman Marcus reported a $668 million loss for the year. The luxury chain said the latest quarterly sales at stores open at least a year fell 23 percent from the period a year ago. Saks posted a 16 percent drop. On Thursday, the industry tried to excite people with after-hours shopping at stores around the city, called Fashion’s Night Out.

Makers of high-end fashion wonder how far they can drop prices without diminishing their prestige, or cutting corners that might compromise their creativity.

Ms. Wang said she cut prices for her resort collection this year by 40 percent, but was told by some stores that those $600 to $800 dresses were maybe too low for a designer brand.

“I don’t know what’s going to happen,” Ms. Wang said, referring to the future of prestigious labels. “It’s going to be a world of crepe de Chine.”

Although designer fashion accounts for only a small portion of the $191 billion apparel industry in the United States, and many consumers would not mourn the disappearance of $2,000 dresses from the racks, the creativity of runway collections inspires looks in the mass market and sets trends that entice shoppers back into stores season after season, fueling a vast segment of the economy.

In the 40 years since modern ready-to-wear came into existence in Europe and America, and made household names of Ralph, Calvin and Donna, designers have enjoyed enormous respect and prosperity. However, in the past few years, they have lost some face with consumers. Their clothes became exotically pricey as they courted celebrities and did quick-and-dirty deals with makers of fast fashion.

This week the situation reached a nadir of sorts when the Paris house Emanuel Ungaro — once the pride and joy of the Upper East Side — announced that it had hired Lindsay Lohan as its artistic adviser.

Another impact of recession-driven designing is a retreat to more predictable styles, a repetition of the safe looks that sold well in previous seasons. The designer Elie Tahari, whose labels generate about $500 million in sales, is focusing on dresses, animal prints and leggings and slim pants worn with tunics.

“Fashion has to be new and wearable and there has to be a need to it,” he said. Mr. Tahari has cut prices by 30 percent and closed a handbag factory he had in Italy to move that production to China.

Even Oscar de la Renta, the very emblem of high-end New York design, known for $4,000 and $5,000 dresses and suits, plans to offer a $1,500 dress in his spring line to meet retailers’ demands.

And although he recently bought a local garment factory that had planned to close, to help maintain his label’s craft standards, he has also sought out less expensive suppliers in Asia and Eastern Europe.

In his Seventh Avenue studio, Mr. de la Renta pointed to a sleeveless black dress with two knitted, frilly panels. The panels, done in Romania and combined with an Italian wool, will help keep the price of the dress down to $2,500. And Mr. de la Renta likes a silk faille that he gets from a mill in South Korea. Aside from the price — it costs a third of what Italian faille does — he likes the look.

“Listen, Prada has been using it for years,” he said.

European houses, with their savoir-faire and deep pockets — thanks to leather goods and perfume sales — may hold a creative edge over American counterparts that will matter in the marketplace. Stores insist that women, while choosier now and prone to mixing styles, can’t part with quality altogether.

“There are still customers who want that workmanship,” Ann Stordahl, the general merchandise manager at Neiman’s, said. “There are just fewer of them than there were.”

But there’s a paradox in all this, a slight slub in the fabric. Ultimately, what distinguishes high-end fashion is an appreciation for the small differences: in the fit, the fabric. This is a designer’s creative toolbox. Remove a tool, and he has less with which to do his job.

Joseph Altuzarra, a young designer in New York, specializes in ruched georgette dresses, priced around $2,000, which are made in France. Recently, he asked his factory there if it might simplify the ruching process to lower costs. The factory refused.

“They said they would be ashamed to produce a garment that way,” Mr. Altuzarra recalled.

Then he took a sample to a New York City factory to see if it might produce garments for him. “They looked at the sample and passed it around the factory and 15 minutes later said, ‘We can’t do it,’ ” Mr. Altuzarra said. “It was technically impossible for them to do it.”

American Apparel boss attacks Obama crackdown on immigrant workers

 

 

 

American Apparel boss attacks Obama crackdown on immigrant workers

US fashion retailer forced to sack 1,500 at its California HQ  

American Apparel boss Dov Charney. ‘I just cry when I think so many people will be leaving’ Photograph: Gregg Segal/Corbis

 The clothes retailer American Apparel has expressed “deep disappointment” with US immigration policy after an official crackdown on undocumented workers obliged the company to lay off 1,500 employees at its California headquarters, amounting to 15% of its global workforce.

Renowned for its colourful T-shirts and sweaters, American Apparel proudly states in its advertising that its products are made in downtown Los Angeles. But government inspectors in July found that 1,600 of its 5,600 manufacturing staff did not appear to be legally authorised to work in the US and a further 200 had uncertain status.

Infringements include false social security numbers and discrepancies in workers’ employment records. The company, which has been an outspoken advocate for a more liberal immigration policy, is sacking the affected employees this month.

In a farewell letter, American Apparel’s founder, Dov Charney, said he was saddened that so many would be leaving. “Many of you have been with me for so many years, and I just cry when I think that so many people will be leaving,” he said.

Pointing out that his own grandmother was a Jewish immigrant who found work at a Montreal garment factory in the 1930s, Charney said: “I am deeply disappointed that the Obama administration has failed to bring about immigration reform.”

Charney continued: “Ironically, the rallying cry of the Obama campaign was the words of César Chávez, ‘Yes we can’ or ‘Sí se puede’, which inspired so many people, particularly Latinos, in the recent election.”

The White House has made enforcement in the workplace a central part of its strategy to reduce illegal immigration. In April, the homeland security secretary, Janet Napolitano, issued guidelines requiring immigration authorities to concentrate resources on employers who “knowingly hire illegal workers”.

American Apparel employs 10,000 people globally and has 260 shops, including eight in Britain.

 

 

My day in hot pink leather shorts

My day in hot pink leather shorts

The market editor of Vogue raids her wardrobe for that item she has never dared wear before . . . 

leather shorts Emma Elwick with her leather shorts Photograph: Linda Nylind

I like Roxy Music but I’ve never seen myself reflected in Amanda Lear’s dominatrix leathers on the For Your Pleasure cover. I walk a whippet not a panther and I’m predominantly made of denim. Or am I? A quick wardrobe tally and I find three biker jackets, a teeny miniskirt, black leather walking shorts and some jodhpurs.

There’s one other hide, hiding in my wardrobe. Shocking vintage raspberry leather shorts. I happened upon them in a flea market in Paris. They reminded me of that Chloë-in-Chloé moment . . . style chancer Sevigny in the tomato bloomers from Hannah MacGibbon’s debut collection – all gazelle gams and getting away with it. After a moment of attempted self-asphyxiation (with nowhere to disrobe, I applied the “circumference of one’s neck is half that of one’s waist” theory), I parted with my €30. Call it a combination of the right circumstances and the right company. “Wear them immediately,” encouraged Matthew Stone, artist, and Gareth Pugh: “They are the perfect drummer-boy lederhosen“. I packed them up and within darkest environs of the closet they stayed.

Until now . . . it’s time for me to wear them in earnest. I’d forgotten how high-waisted and 80s they were. Grace Jones via Von Trapp? I dressed down the panto factor with a simple navy American Apparel T-shirt, a mannish grey cardigan and spindly Alaïa sandals. If I’m set to make this statement, a demure covering of the arm and an elongating heel are a must.

After a quick walk of the dog (perplexing the builders on my street), I arrive at work. Leather shorts are an acceptable dress code at this particular office, but even here they are not the most practical work-wear option. Sitting in the editor’s office for a meeting, I immediately regret taking the window seat. Leather does get rather warm, so perhaps I shall put the shorts away until November and bring them back out with dotty tights and cheeky cuissardes.

The heat notwithstanding, leather is a confident look for uncertain times. It comes with a high cost-per-wear ratio but remains cool and empowering – just maybe not in hot pink.

How to dress for an hour on the plinth

Hadley Freeman can ease your fashion pain 

Pigeon in london The pigeon look: a hot new trend coming to a plinth near you soon? Photograph: Jon Cartwright/Getty Images/Flickr RM

What should I wear on the plinth? I’ll be doing the crossword and having a cup of tea, and will certainly not be wearing a cute animal costume. But colour? And accessories? It’s a worry.

Ann, Glasgow

Ann, I’m not going to lie to you. Some questions with a practical context bring joy to my heart – what to wear on University Challenge, say – because I highly approve of the context itself. This, however, does not. I am dismayed by this Trafalgar Square plinth malarkey. Have we now fallen so low in terms of artistic skills that we can’t even shove a wheel up there? Even just an uncarved hunk of stone? No, apparently all we can offer up is a selection of, um, people. I am not denigrating you, Ann, I am merely denigrating the idea. And to those of you saying, “Why don’t you come up with an idea, you smartarse?” How about this? I’ll come up with three:

1. A big statue of a pigeon – this is my favourite. A giant stone pigeon. Awesomeness to the power of a million.

2. A statue of a man looking up – get it? Just as you’re looking up at the statue, the statue is looking up at the sky. That postmodern enough for ya, Gormley?

3. A pigeon looking up – sorry, I really can’t get past the pigeon idea.

But fine, I appreciate that nothing I say here is going to make the slightest difference and, more importantly, this is not what you came here for today. You’re going on the plinth and I’m just going to have to deal.

So I like your idea, just playing it cool. But I do think you need to splash on some red (or is the verb now “pop”?), just so your friends can see you from down below. A hat, perhaps, would not go amiss, both for sun protection and for attention grabbing. Although that could be a nightmare when the wind blows.

OK, Ann, look, I’m going to level with you here. I’m trying to be professional and do what you ask me but I just cannot. I understand your hesitation about wearing a “cute animal costume” but have I mentioned my pigeon idea to you? I have? Well, I think you should take it to its logical, compromising conclusion. I mean, a pigeon isn’t an animal. It’s not even cute. And you dressed as a pigeon would just look a-m-a-z-i-n-g on the plinth.

Fashion is all about context, with your outfit working with or playing against your personality and the environment you’re in. And now with everyone becoming so steadfastly interested in using materials that work with the environment, this feels even more important. We all know that Trafalgar Square belongs to the pigeons. Thus, it seems only right to reference them in your outfit, no? And the fact that this is a very un-you thing to do emphasises the specialness of your plinth day. Go Pigeon!

I’ve spotted half a dozen grown men walking round with their trouser legs rolled up, a la George Michael on Top of the Pops in the days of Club Tropicana. Isn’t it taking the 80s revival a step too far?

Poppy, Islington, London

Oh Poppy, Poppy, Poppy. Perhaps you are shielded from the usual manoeuvres of popular fashion up in Islington so I shall explain. You are saying, in a very decorous way, that you have noticed straight men dressing in a decidedly camp way and you are attempting to explain this to yourself as being part of the “80s revival”. One has nothing to do with t’other. The fact of the matter is, where the gay gentlemen go, style-wise, the straights shall follow – but about 20 years later. I am not quite sure why this is. Perhaps the straights are just slower learners. Perhaps they think 20 years is the time period it will take for the style to lose its camp associations (bless their innocence). If you are finding all this hard to compute, think of David Beckham as their beagle down the mine of camp style, plumbing the depths and encountering all manner of treasure – leather waistcoats here, jeans burdened with metallic chains there – way sooner than the lesser mortals.

And so the Wham! look now comes to the men of Islington, about, I’d say, four years after it came to straight men everywhere else (seriously, have you never seen a photo of Peter Andre?). Don’t fight it Poppy, don’t even question it – just let the poor loves have their fun. They have so little else in their lives.

Post your questions to Hadley Freeman, Ask Hadley,The Guardian, Kings Place, 90 York Way, London, N1 9GU. Email ask.hadley@guardian.co.uk