The Guardian G2
London is most definitely in fashion. No, no, no, we’re not talking about dear old London Fashion Week. London has become a fashion statement in itself.
The union flag was always going to be a little bit too outré (not to mention vaguely football hooligan-like) as a fashion pattern. But London Style has far more benefits in the aesthetic and ironic departments. So forget about Liam and Patsy wrapping themselves up in swathes of red, blue and white (didn’t do them any good, did it?) and think more Sophie Ellis-Bextor in her Peckham T-shirt.
But therein lies the rub. We British hate nothing more than being told that we’re cool. One proclamation that “The British are coming” or predictions of “Britcool” were enough to kill the British film industry in the 80s and the music industry in the 90s, and the Liam-in-a-flag $hoot is a salutary lesson to the current Civic Pride Chic. There is a treacherous line, when
wearing such an item, between looking ironic and looking like a tourist. As any schoolboy can tell you, you don’t wear your school scarf unless you want to get a good kicking.
But perhaps that is the ol’ English cynicism coming out. Maybe we should celebrate this fashion infatuation with our lovely capital. Ruling the waves again and all that. I rather think, though, that the best way to pay due style homage to this sceptred city is to do it in proper British style – with dry, British understatement. And that means no more T-shirts celebrating Notting Hill. And, please, no more keychains that tell us that, oh yes, London Swings.