Fashion's new lexicon

By Cathrin Schaer

Get in the groove with the latest fashion "It" words.

Fashion moves on every season. Pink is the new black, your next-door-neighbour starts summer's hot new label and the kid you used to babysit ends up with the title of model of the year. But it's no longer enough to know all of that. The dedicated follower of frocks also needs to be able to talk about what the hijabistas are wearing, whether meggings on the All Blacks are a good thing and cripes, what about that crowd sourcing, eh?

Confused? Don't be. Viva has compiled a bluffer's guide to the best new fashion phrases of 2011 (so far). Just stir a few of these into your cafe conversation and it won't even matter what you're wearing - you'll be so far ahead of the game other opinion-leaders will be left choking on your coffee grounds.

Meggings and jeggings

May the lord of most ridiculous neologisms bless this pair of portmanteaus. A portmanteau - French for a kind of suitcase - is the description of two words that have been put together to create a new one. So it follows that meggings are men's leggings and jeggings are leggings that look like jeans. You can blame the tight pants trend for this linguistic tomfoolery and trend. As for actually roaming the streets clad in meggings and jeggings, well, you really only have yourself to blame for that.

Scenesters

It's a question that's confused many a social theorist: what exactly is a hipster? Various definitions say these liberal creatures are "cool", prefer vintage millinery and thick-rimmed glasses, listen to Arcade Fire and enjoy less than 5 per cent body fat. Well, rather than peering out the window at the cafe crowd and trying to work out which of those definitions are factually correct, why not try a new word instead? Folks, please put your hands together, let's welcome the "scenester" to 2011.

While the hipster is open to all sorts of interpretation and snide criticism, the scenester is defined by one simple ability: to be on the scene. And to look as though they belong there. Preferably that scene is a fashionable one - indeed, it may very well involve many of the accoutrements of hipsterdom, including alternative music, parties that make it on to street style websites, contemporary literature, independent film-making, lashings of retro-irony and vintage clothing. The main thing is that the scenester is there, upon the scene. Astride the scene, even. After which they will, of course, post pictures of the scene on Facebook to prove their scenester status.

De-gendering

Models like the very beautiful Australian Andrej Pejic, who wore a gold dress and heels for Jean Paul Gaultier, and the striking Lea T, the transgender model who made headlines when he appeared in Givenchy's advertising campaign, are part of the movement towards more asexual, androgynous style in fashion.

Girls wearing boys' trousers and clothing lines like American Apparel are also part of this trend. And de-gendering is exactly what it sounds like - doing away with the idea that men must wear the pants and that women should wear dresses. De-gendering then replaces all that with good-looking chaps in heels and beautiful ladies in tuxedos.

Up-cycling

Recycling is so 2009, people. Whether they're buying it from an up-cycler or up-cycling it themselves, the most stylish are taking second-hand goods and renovating them.

It's all about adapting that vintage dress (take the hem up, re-size, add a new collar?) or your granny's cabinet (sand it down, paint it up, add new handles?) and making it into something new and exciting.

Bargainista

It's the recession's fault. A bargainista is a follower of fashion who is keen on new clothes but wants a bargain.

Hijabista

Hot on the heels of the burkini, comes a new fashion tribe - the hijabistas. These are modern Muslim women who design fashion with the sensibilities of their religion in mind. While the burqa, which provides complete cover leaving only a mesh screen at the eyes, is the most conservative of all Islamic veils, the hijab is one of the most revealing. It's basically a scarf around the head to cover the hair.

And as British newspaper the Independent reported recently, a new generation of Muslim women, frustrated with the lack of nice-looking contemporary wardrobe options that also respect their belief system, are designing their own collections. "Hijab is about how a woman can be beautiful without placing overt emphasis on her sexuality," one of the designers told the newspaper.

Doubtless a particular favourite with the hijabistas will be the trend for maxi-length skirts this coming season.

Designer fatigue syndrome

Aw, those poor designers. Are they getting a widdy-tiddy-bit tired from all those fashion week functions and all that champagne? Well, actually we should not be so mean to the poor wee darlings. Because designer fatigue syndrome actually refers to a more general malaise that affects the whole fashion industry. And it's serious. As venerable fashion writer Colin McDowell said in his first column for the website Business of Fashion, he believes the clothing business no longer has any soul. "In over 30 years in fashion I have seen a minor but exceedingly disciplined and beautiful art form degenerate into the bread and circuses of the creative world, frequently no more subtle than the world of football - and quite as manipulative of its followers who demand not goals but endless new 'ideas'," McDowell argued. That "endless" demand for novelty means that designers are forced into freakish non-stop, year-round levels of creativity, something that many of them do not believe is possible. And that's why the poor dears are getting fatigued. It's also tiring for the rest of us. We are bored more easily with fashion's offerings and pay more attention to classic looks now, as well as prizing a slower, more considered, more artistic evolution in the wardrobe rather than a regular, seasonal revolution.

Fauxgan

Go on with you! You, with your cut off denim hot pants, your over-sized, black death metal T-shirt, your brand new tattoo and your big love for big (automotive) engines. So yes, go on with you. You may as well - because these days it's hard to know where the real bogans have gone. AC/DC should really write a song about it. The bogan look is so in vogue that it's become "bogue", as one Australian wit put it recently. So how to tell the real from the fauxgan? The real bogan bought their flannel shirt at the supermarket, has genuinely warm feelings for trackpants and when the fashionable go goth (you have been warned), the true bogan will still be wearing Ugg boots. Oh, note to readers: a fauxgan should not be confused with a "fake vegan".

Crowd sourcing

If you've ever looked at a runway show in horror and thought "I could do so much better", then this is the jargon for you. Crowd sourcing involves companies sending their designs out into the world via social media and online networking and letting the "crowd" decide what to do with them. This has included getting fans of a label to vote on their favourite outfits and their favourite models, thereby deciding what goes into production or onto the posters, as well getting label fans to send in their ideas and suggestions for garment design.

Shoelaborations

It's the latest from out of the field of high-low and low-high collaborations. In case you're wondering what the heck the latter are, high-low is what happens when someone like Alber Elbaz of French label Lancome designs a collection for a global fashion chain like H&M. And low-high is when celebrities make clothes for big names, such as Lindsay Lohan did for French fashion house Ungaro. Just kidding. To be fair, one's definition of a low-high collaboration comes down to personal opinion. In fact, some might say crowd sourcing (see above) is low-high. But back to the point: shoelaborations see high-end fashion designers collaborating with mass-market shoe manufacturers. And it's pretty clever. Because there's no doubt it's an excellent way to broaden a fancy label's appeal in the mass market without diluting what they do to make their living.

Edvertorial

By now you will have heard of advertorial, a particularly cunning way for advertisers to sell their products that involves the media in which the advertiser is paying for space, publishing a story that looks like all their other stories - but that is in fact, solely funded by the advertiser. For example, a magazine story on perfumes in which only one brand's perfumes are ever mentioned. This year, edvertorial takes a step deeper into the quagmire that is modern editorial integrity. Edvertorial looks like real, balanced editorial but this time it is the actual advertisers that are writing it. In-house publishing is a successful phenomenon in publishing, both in the real world and online. Examples include magazine-style websites like the Art of Trench, run by British fashion label Burberry, in which they publish assorted pictures of trenchcoat wearers in a magazine-style format.

GILFs

Okay, so by now any regular observers of pop culture will know what a MILF is. If you still don't, then, to put it in less offensive terms, it is a good-looking female parent that you'd like to have your way with. This decade we're moving on - yes, a few decades further on, to the GILF. To put it in less offensive terms, this is a good-looking female grandparent that you'd like to have your way with. Commentators say the advent of the GILF is thanks to movies like Sex and the City, where the protagonists have gone from 30-something hotties to 50-something hotties.

You can also point your dirty finger at the likes of Susan Sarandon and Helen Mirren. And it is probably also due to demographics that see the average national age rising and a new generation of more glamorous and physically active elderly at play.

Cougar lift

Any kind of cosmetic surgery that is performed on an older woman who intends to date a younger man. Said surgery should increase her chances of hooking up with the youthful bloke. Next up? Manther procedures. Because if we must have cougars in our popular lexicon, then we should also have manthers (older men on the prowl for younger women). And if the trend for male grooming continues, then very soon the manther won't be able to use his status as a silver fox and his "distinguished looks" to woo the babes, he's also going to need an eye lift. Or two.

Nomadic store

Over the past year or two, pop-up stores have proven successful with followers of fashion, who are always on the lookout for somewhere new to rid themselves of dosh. Pop-up stores started as a cheaper way of leasing space without signing long-term contracts, a means to create hype around your product and a method by which smaller labels could open a store, without, you know, opening a store. But now pop-ups seem, somewhat ironically, to be evolving into more permanent fixtures. Which is why we get to call them nomadic stores instead. Rather than just popping on up unexpectedly for a couple of weeks of urban hide-and-seek, a nomadic store roams consumerism's highways and byways at will. For instance, the Chanel shop. Last year a Chanel pop-up stopped by in St Tropez, France. This year the Chanel pop-up is open to shoppers at exclusive Parisian department store Collette.

He-avage

Once upon a time the ubiquitous T-shirt, of the kind we all know and wear today, was just another military undergarment. It was actually invented to be worn under uniform shirts so that the beastly, filthy sight of masculine chest hair would not arouse any casual passers-by who happened to catch a bristling glimpse.

My, how things have changed. For the past few seasons, the V in menswear - on T-shirts, vests and knitwear - has been falling lower and lower. Gasp!

And now that admirers of male secondary sexual characteristics (chest hair, that is) have finally stopped swooning, they've been able to come up with this excellent name for menswear's favourite new erogenous zone.

- NZ Herald

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