Are we in the midst of a preppy revival, or its final orgiastic-death throes-supernova? As with everything, there’s reason to believe both. But today let’s look at the notion of a prepocalypse.
Last week LA-based designer Greg Lauren partnered with fashion brand KITH for a collection that was likened to a preppy apocalypse. The creative wellsprings — the this meets that — were “Dead Poets Society” meets “Platoon,” in other words prep meets military. The result is what your wardrobe will look like after The Event, when you have to mend your clothing yourself because all the tailors have turned into zombies.
Then today New York Magazine wonders “What Does ‘Preppy’ Fashion Look Like In 2018?” Good thing they put preppy in quotation marks, because this is the lead image:
Not very preppy, but it does bring up the notion of androgyny at the heart of preppy style, at least for women, and of which Muffy Aldrich is a prime example. Of course, androgyny as evoked in the “Preppy Handbook” in 1980 is an entirely different context from 2018 and the era of gender fluid. Back then the gender fluids flowed more in line with how Mother Nature designed them. But today, as Cole Porter wrote, anything goes.
But I shouldn’t editorialize. Let’s let NY Mag do that. Here are some of the talking points:
Is American prep in the midst of a makeover? Why? For whom? And how different will it look for the next generation?
Is it possible for prep to be a symbol of progress, and not exclusion?
… the look has historically “defined the visual code of American affluence.” In other words, it was worn by white men with names like Brett. Today, the look might also align you, consciously or not, with conservative political groups as extreme as the Fred Perry–wearing alt-right.
In 2015 I posed the question I asked the readership here if trad was politically incorrect. The answer was mostly no. But this was pre-Trump, which is to say another era. You can believe there’s a dictator in the White House, or a million mini-tsars running our universities, but fashion is the greatest dictator civilization has ever known. And if she decrees you will not wear prep (that is, unless it’s been desecrated), then you will not.
So bask in the sunshine of the latest prep revival, whether it’s the birth of a new star or the supernova of an old one. And consider learning to sew. — CC