Baguettes, bling and bodycon: Y2K nostalgia reigned at NY Fashion Week | New York Fashion Week

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Fashion week often focuses on the future, but this season designers in New York are going nostalgic, with echoes of the ’00s and ’90s ringing around the Big Apple.

Fendi kicked off its first fashion week with an anniversary show celebrating 25 years of Baguette. The original It bag came to prominence in 2000’s Sex and the City when Sarah Jessica Parker was forced at gunpoint to don a purple-tipped version as Carrie Bradshaw. “Give me your bag,” the robber shouts. “It’s Bagute!” Will Curry.

In honor of Baguette’s legacy, Fendi Womenswear Artistic Director Kim Jones invited fashion house stalwarts including Marc Jacobs and Parker to present their own interpretations of the shoulder bag at a star-studded event. That day, Gen Z-favorite Marc Jacobs sub-line Heaven launched a campaign starring ’90s TV stars like Baywatch’s Pamela Anderson and Twin Peaks’ Kyle McLachlan.

Carrie Bradshaw's 'Baguette' by Fendi at V&A in London on 8 December 2020.
Carrie Bradshaw’s ‘Baguette’ by Fendi at V&A in London on 8 December 2020. Photo: Tristan Fewings/Getty Images

Sunday night, Tommy Hilfiger returns to the city after a three-year hiatus. Hilfiger, who dominated the scene in the ’90s, said, “When I started, it was a place where fashion, art, music and entertainment come together… It’s a true statement of where we stand as we pay homage to our roots.”

Throughout the pandemic, millennials and Gen Z have embraced late ’90s nostalgia, and that commitment shows no sign of abating. Emily Gordon-Smith from trend analysis agency Stiles has been tracking the trend. “It’s getting more intense and more complicated,” she says. “For a bunch of young people, those decades feel like better, simpler times.”

The 90’s theme is everywhere in New York. On newsstands, W Magazine celebrates its 50th anniversary with issues featuring ’90s models Cindy Crawford, Iman and Shalom Hallow. On Billboard, Kate Moss’ daughter Lila appears in a Calvin Klein campaign, 30 years after Moss first modeled for the brand, while Jerry Seinfeld fronts a campaign for streetwear brand Keith. On screen, Sex and the City spun off and just like that… rebooted, this is an appetite for high drama and high heels.

There is also a noticeable change in the more polished images. British designer Roland Moretti, who has dressed everyone from the Duchess of Cambridge to Beyoncé in his signature bodycon dresses, is making a comeback. In the year On the high street, Zara has launched a collaboration with 90s designer Narciso Rodriguez. Known for its slouchy and draped dresses, it has delved into the archives to bring minimalism to the masses.

The trend is also seen in the following designers. Take Conner Ives and Miss Sohee, who are both part of Vanguard An initiative from Net-a-Porter that aims to champion and support new talent. Form-fitting figures and sparkling crystals abound in their designs. Their references? The Y2K era they grew up in.

Behind this trend is social media. While previous generations had to wait to see their favorite celebrities in magazines, Gen Zs have archives at their fingertips, helping them create nostalgic edits, thrown in by several Instagram accounts like @90sanxiety. Think Polaroid scans of the Spice Girls and pap shots of Brad Pitt and Jennifer Aniston. Second-hand sites like Depop have created a wave of sellers that appeal to this group. Some specialize in Y2K labels such as Blumarine, Morgan and Kookaï.

With brands trying to juggle issues like sustainability, Gordon-Smith says there’s often less time for innovation. “Touches of nostalgia are simple design cues. Even places like Zara can browse its own archives and launch pieces. There are so many avenues that brands and consumers can explore, it’s a complete warren of nostalgia.

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