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10-07-2005
  1
kit
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Skank Chic
This could go in SO many sections , but I have a feeling that it's true home is here in Trend Spotting .

Lena , please move if you think it's appropriate .

Skank chic

You're probably loaded, you love mud on your wellies, the occasional brawl, and oh yes, you're probably gorgeous.

Polly Vernon
Sunday July 10, 2005
The Observer

The nation's gossip columns have missed a trick. Kate Moss's very public scrap with Pete Doherty - which took place après the Paris couture shows on a London-bound Eurostar train on Wednesday night - was much more than a mere row. It was a fashion statement.

Moss and Doherty are riding the vanguard of skank chic. It's a look and a lifestyle - a trashy subversion of normal notions of glamour and civilised celebrity behaviour - which embraces matted hair, a residual air of grubbiness and the kind of roller-coaster, booze-and-drug-addled passion that can inspire physical fights in speeding trains. Moss and Doherty weren't just fighting. They were locked in a spontaneous and terribly fashionable performance-art moment.

Skank chic started with Hollywood hot properties Lindsay Lohan and Brittany Murphy; with Christina Aguilera's Dirrty video; with Kelly Osbourne and rioting punk princess Avril Lavigne - all raw-edged teen queens with a shared tendency to veer fabulously off the rails.

These girls are the unapologetically unwashed response to the fresh-faced, perfectly manicured tradition of teen sensations like Hilary Duff and Jessica Simpson. The skank chic movement gained pace with the desperately sexy Sin City working girls who stole the show in the big screen adaptation of the cult graphic novel.

And it's reached giddy heights with Moss tearing literal strips off bad boy lover Doherty, leaving his face scratched and his shirt ripped and ultimately inspiring him to pull out of his group Babyshambles's support slot on the Oasis tour.

In fashion terms, skank chic is the antithesis of this summer's Boho look (a flirty, girlie aesthetic that revolves around the definitely fragrant and unskanky Sienna Miller and her multi-tiered prairie skirts). Boho - according to Top Shop brand manager Jane Shepherdson - is over, having failed to set the world on fire as convincingly as first anticipated. 'The kids are already bored with Boho,' she reports.

Instead they are turning to something with edge, and with dirt under its fingernails. 'Skank chic as a style statement is the ultimate in anti-glamour and anti-pretty, isn't it?' says Harriet Quick, fashion features editor of Vogue. 'Kate Moss, she's the living incarnation of course, looking mud-splattered but impossibly glamorous against all the odds in Glastonbury. It's those dirty-grey drain-pipe jeans that look filthy even if they're not. It's the antithesis of flawless plastic Hollywood.'

Olie Arnold, fashion editor of FHM and FHM Collections, thinks it's a sartorial tradition rooted in Hedi Slimane's latest collections for Christian Dior menswear. 'Slimane's exerted an incredible influence on Pete Doherty, that silhouette, the drainpipe jeans, that's all Hedi. And the colour palate, the blacks, the greys, the grubby whites, that's pure Hedi, too.'

The roots of skank chic are being frenziedly disputed by the likes of Quick and Arnold. It's widely agreed that current usage of 'skank' as a derogatory term was first established by the twin powers of the New York Post's outrageously salacious gossip column PageSix and by Gawker, leading light of the media blog world.

Both have been using the adjective with increasing regularity in connection with starlets of the Lindsay Lohan variety. Over the past six months or so, it's crept into the lexicon of any self-respecting Brit hip young thing. But skank chic, the look and associated cultural practices, is a more recent, less easily traced development.

'It's the flip-side of fashion,' says Quick. 'It's a reaction against the hippie thing,' believes Olie Arnold. 'It's a vibe that references Eighties rock stars like Lou Reed and Iggy Pop. There's an implicit attitude there.'

Cultural commentator Peter York believes that skank chic is simply the latest incarnation of a pretension that stretches back decades. And he does not approve. 'It was hard enough to get away with it in 1965 - Mick Jagger and so on, though at least he had talent,' he says. 'But in this context, when you know they've got money, well, they could just take baths, couldn't they?

'I do think Kate Moss and Pete Doherty are behind it this time, and I think they should be put away for it. Yes, I understand that perfection is too widely available now, because so very many people are rich and look rich, and, as Nicky Haslam says, the ultimate in "how common" is to look rich, but all the same. There's that wonderful Cecil Beaton quote, about how everyone wants to look like Noel Coward, but real talent dresses like a bank manager.'

York's not alone in his reservations. Even Vogue's Harriet Quick cautions that it's all very well 'if you're young. But after a certain age, try it and you'll just look like you need a good bath and your bed.'

Of course, emaciation is an essential element of skank style. 'It's connected with something terribly self-destructive,' says Gareth Coombes, co-founder of the trend-watching Cambridge Strategy Centre.

'Being thin, taking the drug of choice of that moment, whatever goes with it. It's all a bit: "How real are we, and have you seen the matching self-harm scars on our wrists?" It's a rejection of surface, of shallow, it's an anti-look officially I suppose - only of course it isn't. Really, it's very shallow.'

But does that make skank chic wrong? After all, as considered as it is, it's still essentially low maintenance. Some might argue that it's liberating buzzy young things from the tiresome obligations of grooming and filing, of toning and moisturising. It's the backlash to metrosexuality, to the super-soigné style of the Beckhams. Technically, it should free up skank chic devotees' schedules. Time that was previously wasted on tiresome washing obligations may now be devoted to alternative pursuits.

Or as Quick puts it: 'It's in the same spirit as punk. It crops up in different formats every so often and, let's face it, there's something very appealing in it.'

And as the Moss and Doherty skank chic show staggers and swaggers on, there's no denying that the nation's gossip columns are richer for it, and the world's style monitors are buzzier for it.

Unwashed or super-cool?

Your five-point key to distinguishing between skank chic and someone who's just a bit dirty around the edges.

1 Long, sun-streaked, mud-matted hair. It can be Glastonbury mud. It can be Primrose Hill mud. It can be vestiges of a Live8 field. Just as long as it's 'real'.

2 Skinny-leg jeans. To prove that you really are terribly, terribly thin. Either Sass & Bide's Frayed Misfits, Nudie's Super Slim Kims or PPQ's drainpipes.

3 Cold sores. See Kate Moss. Scratches. See Pete Doherty. 4 A waistcoat buttoned over your skinny, naked chest (girls or boys). 5 A guitar case, as testimony to your musical credentials.


HOW VERY VERY TRUE ....................

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10-07-2005
  2
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no time to go through in peace at the moment
but from a quick first look, this topic belongs here kit

thanks a lot for bringing this in

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10-07-2005
  3
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It's one thing to reject over styledness (okay I'm aware that's not a real word) but another to reject hygiene

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10-07-2005
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Duleeshab
It's one thing to reject over styledness (okay I'm aware that's not a real word) but another to reject hygiene
Yeah, I don't get why you can't do 'skank chic' and be clean at the same time?

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10-07-2005
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^ mabye it means you are clean as in had a shower

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10-07-2005
  6
Naturellement pulpeuse
 
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Quote:

Olie Arnold, fashion editor of FHM and FHM Collections, thinks it's a sartorial tradition rooted in Hedi Slimane's latest collections for Christian Dior menswear. 'Slimane's exerted an incredible influence on Pete Doherty, that silhouette, the drainpipe jeans, that's all Hedi. And the colour palate, the blacks, the greys, the grubby whites, that's pure Hedi, too.'
Blacks and greys...such unique colours. And, mein gott!, drainpipe jeans. Because Hedi isn't at all inspired by the 80s...

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10-07-2005
  7
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this makes me existentially sad on so many levels...

, i think...

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10-07-2005
  8
Frozen irony.
 
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Hmm... i still preffer it over the 'over-groomed-Beckham look'

But to see the common people of U.K dressing like this is a scary, scary thought.

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10-07-2005
  9
urd
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hobo and skank chic, I see grunge making a comeback

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10-07-2005
  10
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Very interesting article Kit.

I think this has a hell lot to do with the hipster thing..... Why do they have to mention Kate Moss in every single trend article, as though the trend emerged because of her?! This look has been around for so long now, who cares if Kate Moss is sporting it? I just DON'T get people who dress up this way just to seem more interesting, plain stupid.....

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10-07-2005
  11
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i really don't think lindsay lohan and kate moss are lumped together. this is more kate than lindsay. :/

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10-07-2005
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^ Agreed on that.....

This is just plain ridiculous.... I am wondering what's coming up next .... ...the way we're headed I wouldn't be surprised if the next big thing is ugly geek chic : super thick lense glasses, 0 makeup, no foundation, no nothing, no concealer, ungroomed, unplucked eyebrows, super dry lips, hair combed on one side and super shiny, nerdy sport shoes......

And, the worst part is, I am being absolutely serious......

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10-07-2005
  13
Frozen irony.
 
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geek chic' has been a term in fashion, before.

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10-07-2005
  14
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up next:? smelly scratch and sniff t-shirts w/ bloody mary and jack daniel stains.

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10-07-2005
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Quote:
Originally Posted by travolta
up next:? smelly scratch and sniff t-shirts w/ bloody mary and jack daniel stains.

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