Modern designers have revisited the 70s and 80s — but who expected the noughties to reappear?

There's nothing new about the merry-go-round nature of eras that infiltrate designers' collections. Aspects of the 70s are still lingering. Turn-of-the-century Picnic at Hanging Rock-style high-neck collars are making a return in the midst of fashion's obsession with romanticism. Mid-century full skirts are still prevalent, albeit less structured and in lightweight fabrics such as linen and cotton voile. And then there's the early noughties.
Who would have thought that an era dominated by handkerchief tops and bootleg jeans would creep back into fashion's zeitgeist. For those brave enough to revisit cowl-neck tops, strapless dresses, cargo pants and monogrammed accessories, there are an abundance of pieces that you can incorporate into your new season wardrobe that, surprisingly, look current.

Admittedly the noughties are one of those eras that some prefer to forget and, along with the 80s, there's perhaps more bad than great. But then what's fashion without a challenge every now and then?

On the upside, a look to the past is an opportunity to invest in vintage, upcycle and a make-do-and-mend attitude. You only have to look at the new millennium references influencing some of the vintage looks on offer right now from popular online stores such as Deadman Vintage, The Mercantile Store, Magic Hollow and Wixxi.

There's also versatility in irreverent noughties details. A clean-cut collarless leather jacket for example works as well over a vintage T-shirt and jeans as it does with a knee-length skirt and a pair of knee-high boots for complete coverage once winter
rolls around. As for cargo pants (gasp!) the revival coincides with the reformation of that 90s cargo-wearing girl-group the All Saints, as they release a reunion album
in April. Perfect for the weekend or dressed up with a silk shirt and stilettos, the cargo style nods to utilitarian dressing and has popped up in several collections, from high street retailer French Connection to the more subtle option at Ruby (#3). For those up for a serious fashion challenge, interesting cut-outs and asymmetrical lines are staples of the early aughts and this knit top from Wynn Hamlyn (#3) is the perfect balance of those ideas that won't make you cringe.


. Wynn Hamlyn velvet slip dress $299.

3. Wynn Hamlyn knit top $550. Ruby pants $199. Kathryn Wilson ankle boots $389. Louis Vuitton bag $3150.

4. Helen Cherry leatherette jacket $659. Harman Grubisa leather skirt $625. Merchant 1948 boots $309.90. Deadly Ponies bag $485. Tommy Hilfiger vintage crop T-shirt, $125, from Magic Hollow.

5. Camilla & Marc strapless dress ($899). Yvonne Bennetti mules $297.50.


Camilla & Marc
• Deadly Ponies (09) 522 5228
• Harman Grubisa (09) 963 6129
Helen Cherry
Kathryn Wilson
• Louis Vuitton 0800 586 966
• Lucilla Gray (09) 379 7879
Magic Hollow
Maurie & Eve
Merchant 1948
Mi Piaci
• Yvonne Bennetti (09) 361 2388
Wynn Hamlyn