http://www.ShopCurious.com/ http://twitter.com/ShopCurious

Thursday, 23 September 2010

Superstar v Supersloane style


Nowadays we have style icons, but a few decades ago they were still ‘heroines.’ The Princess of Wales became the ‘Supersloane’ heroine of the 1980s. Her transformation from the bashful Mark II Sloane Ranger ‘Lady Di Look’ to English romantic taffeta-clad Mark I style was amusingly documented in ‘80s style bible, The Official Sloane Ranger Handbook (intriguingly subtitled The First Guide To What Really Matters in Life).


BC, before Charles, Diana wore the Young Sloane wardrobe, central to which were granny’s pearls and “ruffled shirts with ribbons at the neck”. We’ve an original 1980s example at ShopCurious, made by fellow heroine of Wales, Laura Ashley - the designer behind the popular homespun look of the day. In fact, as sales of her Victorian and Edwardian inspired floral dresses and frilly bow tied shirts rocketed, Ashley also underwent something of a metamorphosis from small time dressmaker to international business woman.

What’s so curious about British heroines of the early ‘80s is that, despite increasing power and presence within the workplace (think Margaret Thatcher), they still deferred to time honoured, traditional values and maintained their ladylike propriety. Lady Di stayed well out of the press until 1980 – she was ‘never café society.’ And Laura Ashley never courted attention for her success in the competitive world of high street fashion.


The Princess of Wales, or PoWess (pronounced Powys) and her Laura Ashley style were much emulated by young girls, especially in the UK, but farther afield too. Her sensible Pearly Princess, fresh-faced, effortless look and impeccable manners (instilled by a nanny) commanded the respect of young and old alike.

As we know, Diana retained her individuality, but in an appropriately retro-progressive way: “Like many of her contemporaries – flat sharing SW7 and SW10 girls under 20 – she did the old things… but with a new flair.” Initially at least, she stuck to the rules, and everything seemed hunky dory and everyone seemed reasonably happy…


Now there don’t seem to be so many rules. British society is much more of a free for all. Pink cheeked, naturally buxom country girls have gone all beer-bellied, teeth whitened and tattooed. Their dream goal of marrying Prince Charming replaced with a burning desire to appear on the Shock X-Factor.

But have we started looking back to the past again, with the current revival in all things homespun and vintage? Kate Middleton certainly has some genuine colour in her cheeks and seems suitably un-cool, old fashioned and demure, like a proper lady.
But whilst Kate may be a Supersloane heroine in the making, perhaps it’s iconic celebrity style we still seek to emulate…

Anyway, what really matters to you? Do share your thoughts and comments...

Will you?

8 comments:

Ivania santos By DIAMOND said...

Supersloane style?

I liked Diana!

:D*

Jan said...

All of this seems like only yesterday to me (sadly).
Remember the Sloane handbook of course, wasn't aware of the subtitle - as you say - intriguing.

(p.s. Your comment much appreciated)

Kellie Collis said...

Always a picture of elegance. Gorgeous! Kellie xx

Designer accessories said...

The late Princess Diana is really beautiful. She looks elegant with the dresses she wears.

worm said...

HATE sloanes!!! yuck.

Prince Will's jacket is pretty cool though

janettaylor said...

So elegant!

Jill said...

I've missed your curious blog!

Susan said...

Thanks for all your comments - not sure if Sloanes were known for their elegance, but you're right Kellie, Designer accs and Janet - Diana was very elegant - in an almost gangly, schoolgirl sort of way.

Worm - had no idea the mention of the word Sloane would arouse such strong sentiment! They were pretty harmless after all, no?