It's a Perfect Time for a Revival of Punk as the Cool Girls Reject Labels - and Take a Scissors to Their Old Designer Must-Haves

Article excerpt

Byline: LIZ JONES FASHION THERAPY

SURELY, if ever there was the perfect time for a revival of punk, it has to be this spring. Women are so tired of being told to spend money they don't have on the latest designer bag or pair of ridiculous shoes.

They are swelling an antifashion movement, the like of which we haven't seen in more than 30 years.

This year, the coolest girls are rejecting labels, bling and fake tan and choosing instead to be pale, mismatched, recycled and, above all, interesting.

While I could take the punk look literally and say we are all going to be wearing bin liners and T-shirts held together with safety pins, that would be to over-simplify what punk was all about.

This time, we are revisiting only the elements that were truly ground-breaking -- subverting traditional garments such as the school blazer, tweed cardigan jacket, the frock coat, military jacket and tartan kilt.

This isn't about simply wearing vintage, or even second-hand from Oxfam, but is about being edgy, hard and not too pretty -- great attributes in these difficult times, when to float around in a tea dress seems inappropriate.

The high-end designers have plundered what is essentially a movement driven by real women on the street and sent it down the runway for this summer: Comme Des Garcons, Versace, Lanvin, Yves Saint Laurent, Vivienne Westwood and Marc Jacobs have all taken traditional wear and customised it crazily -- trad tweed jackets, but in hyper colours, blazers in luxe fabrics over short prairie skirts, lots of exposed zips, hard-edged leather jackets and lots of studs on everything.

Not the sort of thing you might wear to the office, but that is the point of punk 2009 -- it is the opposite, the antidote, to safe, neutral power dressing.

Earlier this month, Marc Jacobs sent out slashed dresses and tight pencil skirts in garish colours with exposed zips.

My favourite punk look so far is by Phillip Lim in New York -- frock coat, extravagant beads and ankle-skimming trousers.

The queen of new punk is Luella Bartley.

Her summer collection is one of her best -- bright, eyeshattering colours for tweeds, mini crinis and souped up collegiate blazers.

In her show for next winter, she sent a succession of punky looks streaming down the catwalk.

Lots of exposed zips and fastenings, jaunty peplums, mismatched fabrics and vibrant Day- Glo colours.

Or take a look at Vivienne Westwood's recent catwalk show. I loved the tartan, black lipstick and sexed-up convent schoolgirl outfits. .

Subtle ways to do punk if you don't want to go the whole (Pam) Hogg? …