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Emma Thompson, Hugh Grant, and Keira Knightley in 2003

(Photo: Getty Images)

Actors from “This is Love” appeared at the premiere at the London Odeon cinema. 17 years on, the movie remains a Christmas classic and its stars are still at the top. Only the style on the red carpet has changed.

The concept of ‘retro’ continues to expand. In vintage boutiques, at flea markets, Depop and Vinted platforms, turn-of-the-century clothes are currently the most desirable. Kim Kardashian West has released a velor SKIMS line that resembles the Juicy Couture tracksuits worn in 2000 by the brand owner and her best friend, Paris Hilton. Teenage influencers vacuum a trend that scares women born in the mid-1980s, which is skirts worn over pants. There is also a repetition of entertainment on Instagram – plastic hairpins, T-shirts with prints, nylon tracksuits.

The art is to reinterpret the bygone eras, faux pas – uncritically duplicating fashion. The beginning of the 21st century, the era before the financial crisis of 2008, of Instagram and #MeToo, appears as a time of irretrievably lost innocence. If today Hugh Grant, who has already officially changed his emploi from a lover to a psychopath, looked at his screen partners so seductively, he would have gotten a fang on the nose. If not from my friends on the set, then from a feminist fan. However, when on November 16, 2003, on the red carpet in the London Odeon, he hugged Keira Knightley, Martine McCutcheon and Emma Thompson (only the latter of her age), neither lascivious looks, nor hugs, nor a disheveled shirt were surprising. Grant would not get away with it today, not only because the blue of the collar would no longer emphasize so beautifully the eye color of the enamored Prime Minister from “That’s Love.”

Do women’s creations defend themselves better? Emma Thompson has clearly decided to break away. In the movie, she plays a cheating wife in a brown ankle-length sweater, so she’s dressed in pink velor for the premiere. The shoulder of the dress kept falling down, which made the English actress laugh and, of course, Grant delighted. Keira Knightley – then an eighteen-year-old debutante, today one of the most important actresses of the 30-year-old generation – dressed as a prom. Black long jeans were to prove her rebellious nature, a Moulin Rouge corset to show that she was transforming into an adult woman, and accessories from chain stores did not announce that Knightley would one day become a Chanel ambassador.

Looking at photos from the red carpets of the 2000s, when celebrities dressed as a house party, school disco or shopping in a mall at gala, premieres and awards, we breathe a sigh of relief. After years of studied frames and creations without a single fold, we are fed up with perfection. There is no freedom in perfection.

Of course, fashion is coming full circle, so sooner or later we had to go back to the Y2K era. Probably no coincidence, however, nostalgia for tracksuit, kitsch and velor caught us in 2020. We were at home, so we demanded comfort from fashion, that’s clear. But something more happened – the pandemic catalyzed civil unrest. Fear for the future of the planet, disagreement with injustice, anger at inequality. That era of soothing tastelessness, nostalgic kitsch and cuddly pink also manifested itself in the face of uncertainty. What will happen after 2000? Will all computers collapse? Is there an apocalypse ahead? The Age of Aquarius is about to come – rebels, hippies, shamans. The time for collars ironed is over. The aesthetics of the premiere of “This Is Love” fits perfectly into this trend.


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