One of the great truths you realise as you get older is that, when it comes to fashion, there’s not really any such thing as a new idea. And you know you’ve really been around the block a few times when the huge trends from decades ago come hurtling back into view. How my mother rolled her eyes and laughed in the 1980s when I ‘discovered’ the 1960s mod-ish look of miniskirts, coloured tights and pointy flats.
Now it’s come full circle as my teenage daughter is unwittingly wearing the uniform of my 1990s youth in boyfriend jeans, white T-shirts and Doc Martens shoes (of course, this being 2020, hers are vegan, not leather). I just smile and silently wish her luck for when it’s her turn to wear those low-slung jeans of the noughties, revealing a gynaecologically challenging thong strap.
It’s true of interiors, too. I think my mother’s dream 1988 lounge room – a pastel peach palace of velvety sofas and matching curtains – is a setting that would today be the envy of millennial Instagrammers searching for the perfect backdrop for a social-media pose.
One trend I never thought we’d see again, however, is that much maligned stalwart of 70s homes: the avocado-coloured bathroom. When our interiors editor, Nicole Gray, told me that it was back in vogue – and with a vengeance – I was sceptical. But she is the expert in these matters and, as ever, has proved me wrong by providing several gorgeous, glossy pages, all of them an inspirational riff on how to live with this specific shade of green.
The conversation did send me down a fascinating rabbit hole of research. What was it, I wondered, about the colour avocado that truly gripped the world’s psyche in the 60s and 70s? When I think back on those times, my mind is basically a moodboard of murky greens, burnt oranges and brown. So much brown. The colours of the time, according to historians, reflect our world mood. The 1950s had been a cosy, postwar glow of childlike sorbet shades; the more turbulent decades that followed ushered in more sombre, ‘real’ colours.
Does avocado’s comeback chime with a return to that mood? Maybe. But I’d much prefer to stick my (rigorously washed) fingers in my ears and tell myself that it’s simply because green really ‘pops’ in our iPhone photos.
I probably am showing my age when I admit there is one thing I would like to welcome back from the past: romance. In a fascinating piece Jo Macfarlane looks back at our love affair with reality dating shows. The cheerful innocence of Cilla Black, enveloping young contestants in her warmth on that wobbly set of Blind Date (sorry, ‘blind-uh date-uh’) is like another planet compared to today’s offerings of Love Island, Naked Attraction and the Netflix hit, Love is Blind, which all seem to treat relationships like a fast-food takeaway.
Yes, I’m aware that makes me sound like my grandmother. Excuse me while I search for a bottle of Radox, a glass of Babycham and an avocado bathtub to hide away in and pretend I’ve stepped back in time.
Please enjoy the issue – and tell me what you would like to welcome back from the past! I’d love to hear from you.
A few things I’m coveting this week
Oh yes, tie-dye is back too. Fine by me. Jumper, £170, essentiel-antwerp.com
There are those 70s shades again… Essie nail polishes, £7.99 each, boots.com
Poolside comfort and glamour. Flip-flops, £30, havaianas-store.com