TOO COOL FOR SCHOOL; Top of the Class: Designers Such as (Left to Right) Luella Bartley, Margaret Howell and Balenciaga Love the School Uniform Look

Daily Mail (London), September 3, 2007 | Go to article overview

TOO COOL FOR SCHOOL; Top of the Class: Designers Such as (Left to Right) Luella Bartley, Margaret Howell and Balenciaga Love the School Uniform Look


Byline: Julia Robson

AS WE near the day when every schoolgirl reaches into the wardrobe forher blazer, white shirt and box pleat skirt, it's likely her fashion-savvymother may be doing the same.

Back to school chic is one of the season's hottest trends. How I wish I'd keptmy old school blazer. By now three sizes too small, in smart navy with a hugecrest on the pocket, it would have been so autumn/winter 2007/8.

Balenciaga's designer, Nicolas Ghesquiere, made shrunken blazers his newsilhouette. Teamed with a crisp white shirt and jodhpurs, expect to findhomages popping up on every High Street. (My tip is Peacocks for the blazer ifyou don't fancy forking out [pounds sterling]1,200the equivalent of private school fees for a termfor the designer item.) Another trendsetter putting the cool back into schoolis Miuccia Prada, who featured boxy cherry jackets, pleat skirts and knee sockson the Miu Miu catwalk.

Marc Jacobs had hand-knitted berets and woolly grey tights in his younger, Marcby Marc Jacobs's range. Then there were Luella Bartley's satchels and Derek Lamand Marni's 21st-century takes on tunic dresses.

Many male fashion designers joined in the school craze by wearing ties to taketheir post-show bows. Alexander McQueen wore his like a naughty schoolboy: topbutton of his shirt undone, collar up and tie askew with a feeble excuse for aknot. Where did he learn to do that? Viktor (Horsting) & Rolf (Snoeren) did MrChips in mismatched ties, jackets and dorky geography teacher trousers. Incontrast, Miuccia Prada's lime pleat skirt, camel sweater and hairband was pureSunday school teacher.

So what triggered the fashion world's sudden love affair with the uniform? Iblame Harry Potter. Hermione Granger, aka the actress Emma Watson, has beensigned as the new face of Chanel, thanks to all those shots of her bouncingaround Hogwarts. EXPECT uniform chic to take off in earnest later this yearwhen the much-hyped movie, St Trinians, comes out with its ohso-fashionableall-star cast (Mischa Barton, Lily Cole, Girls Aloud).

But don't go thinking St Trinians when you piece together your uniform for thenew season. And you're not likely to find what you need in John Lewis or Marks& Spencer's 'back to school' departments.

'This fashion is really all about great classics,' says Anna Park, owner of thetrendy chain of Anna boutiques in Chelsea, Primrose Hill and the Home Counties.'Women are always happy to see the return of flattering clothesit's not about nostalgia or wearing things that take them back to their youth. …

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