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Fashion

4 Reasons Why The Scarf Is Anything But Old-Fashioned

The downside to this being one of the most classic and classiest items in a woman’s wardrobe? It can also come across as old-fashioned. The clever ways designers are treating and styling it in Fall/Winter 2018 are lessons in making sure that it won’t. Here, four of the most fashion-forward.

1. Make it the new “skin” for bags
Paris-based Marine Serre (stocked here at Dover Street Market Singapore) is one of fashion’s brightest young stars for the subversive – and clever – ways she fuses athletic and classic influences. Her idea of an all-occasion bag is one of the best examples of her dexterity. Creating spherical vinyl cases about the size of rhythmic gymnastics balls, she pairs each one with a one-of-a-kind scarf that was scoured from flea markets. Sling the latter through a small hoop on the case for a shoulder strap; wrap it around and you’ll get a wristlet; attach it simply for a flourish — that’s how versatile Serre’s “minaudiere” (and a scarf) is.

2. Wrap it around the head
The twist now — no pun intended — is to do it the romantic way (read: Axl Rose-style bandanas ain’t going to fly). Gucci and rising Brit designer Richard Quinn sent models down the runways in headscarves knotted like those on matryoshka dolls: squarely under the chin. Meanwhile, Versace created four boisterously patterned foulards (pictured here is the checked Christy), then took a cue from ’50s silver screen sirens, draping them across models’ heads before wrapping the ends around the neck, or tying them just off-centre. Old-school glamour — in these streetwear-obsessed times, that’s new.

3. Get excessive with foulard prints
To close MSGM’s Fall/Winter 2018 showcase that was a playful yet touching ode to designer Massimo Giorgetti’s adopted city of Milan: 30 silk pyjama sets featuring motifs inspired by that on scarves. There were oversized chain patterns, giant cats, the word “Milano”, all tessellated in rainbow colours to dizzying — and dazzling — effect on top and bottom. Scarf prints have never looked more modern.

4. Create an whole new garment with it
No, we’re not talking about beach resort-ready, early 2000s Christina Aguilera-style scarf tops. Richard Quinn — the new blue-eyed boy of British fashion, notable for his flair with haberdashery florals — spliced up an array of silk scarves, then put the pieces riotously back together for a new, almost psychedelic take on diaphanous handkerchief dresses. Both 3.1 Phillip Lim and Salvatore Ferragamo took on a similar mash-up approach — the former fusing scarves with white shirts; the latter with foulards resurrected from the brand’s ’90s archives for youthful yet sophisticated shirt dresses. And for a study in how to use scarves to create a modern-looking one-piece (listen up, Xtina): see Celine and its asymmetrical dresses, each made up of oversized scarves (they feature painterly motifs of fruits and scenes from the theatre) strategically sewn together along the edges. What about the loose ends? Knot or fasten with a piece of jewellery.

This story first appeared in Female’s August 2018 print issue.

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