When I woke up this morning with blurry eyes, I opened my phone to see that I had been tagged in a photo from the Blumarine Fall 2021 show by a colleague at Vogue. He commented: “@liana_ava is that you?” Her earrings were the size of a fist and made from the same fur. Underneath, the model wore the smaller pink print bandeau top with a lace trim. The pink of the coins reminded me of chewed Bubble Yum – so sweet! – and also brought me straight back to high school, when I dressed in a bootleg incarnation of these looks. The jeans were incredibly low and covered in flower prints. The belt was dusty pink and featured a towering, gem-encrusted butterfly pendant, hanging above the pants like a beautiful and unnecessary ornament. I was instantly in love. As designer Nicola Brognano said in an unapologetic quote to the Vogue reviewer: “My Blumarine is dirtier, bitchier, sexier.” Sign me up.
The collection immediately made me miss the excessive fashion of the aughts – all that ridiculous, thoughtless clothes. That’s not to say the Blumarine collection was thoughtless. (It was designed by Lotta Volkova, who has a keen, savvy eye for cheeky and surrealists.) But the collection is certainly designed with the aim of looking, well, hot. Clothing was rooted in the early 2000s, with Brognano citing Britney Spears and Paris Hilton as influences. It was a more chaotic time for fashion – all excess, all kitsch, all flashy glamor – but it was simpler, in the sense that sex was served on a platter in the form of low-cut jeans and a belly neckline – heavy output tops. The styling doesn’t require a lot of thought or unboxing, which I can certainly appreciate right now.
Before the pandemic, I was getting a little tired of my 2000s obsession. I realized I was getting older and couldn’t walk into the office in a top with “Paris” written in rhinestones anymore. So I reduced my wardrobe. I had adopted a subtly sexy shiva look: all black with a bit of belly here and there. Big whoop! Then during the pandemic, I went through a spandex spin and went without pants with a nice shirt here and there for any Zoom I had. Pathetic!
But after seeing Blumarine earlier today, I immediately felt the urge to release the most outrageous noughtie-inspired pieces from my wardrobe – and it seems oddly timely to me. For better or worse, Britney Spears with her iconic looks of yesteryear is back in the press, getting plenty of airtime. Paris Hilton walked around in a Juicy Couture look a few months ago, right after her moment in the Kim Kardashian Velvet Tracksuit Skims lookbook. The 2000s are going backwards. I was personally transfixed by Jennifer Lopez’s label Sweetface, which has now disappeared. “The boleros were whipped in lambskin and fox,” wrote Global Vogue Runway director Nicole Phelps of the sticky, fabulous label in 2005. It looks hot. And besides, when the future is so uncertain, why not dive into a really, really luxurious past?
Maybe it comes down to the fact that I’m bored of dressing, and seeing Blumarine unleash this latent carnal desire to express myself sartially, like a volcano ready to explode with animal prints. So today, I put on my most flamboyant Jean Paul Gaultier cropped denim jacket, and wore it with Sherris pants, which have the power to give someone’s ass a Brazilian lift. It reminded me of a cool summer night at Brighton Beach with friends, 2dressed head to toe in luxuriously quirky looks that I couldn’t be surprised in any suburb wearing. I can feel that day getting closer and closer and, well, that’s something to look forward to. So for that, Blumarine, thank you.