Do call it a comeback

From Prada’s iconic bowling bag to that famed jungle-print Versace dress worn by Jennifer Lopez – it feels like throwbacks are a bit of a big deal this season. We explore why…

Versace SS20 (Jason Lloyd Evans) – jungle-print dress (coming soon to

It was the moment that graced a million Instagram feeds last September: Jennifer Lopez’s fierce catwalk strut that closed the Versace Spring/Summer ’20 show. Gliding through an arch of outstretched show-goer arms, all capturing the moment on their phones, J.Lo’s jungle-print dress flew out behind her, a train of brilliant green rippling through the air.

That same dress quite literally broke the internet 20 years prior. Following Lopez’s first outing in it at the Grammy Awards in February 2000, Google – at the time, a much less dominating monolith on the internet landscape than now – saw an overwhelming surge in search requests for ‘J.Lo’s Grammy dress’, sending their development team scrambling for a way to appease demand. Ask, and you shall receive, dear internet users: Google Images was born shortly afterwards.

J.Lo’s walk for the SS20 show felt like a particularly poignant moment. For an industry that often prides itself on the ‘next big thing’, Versace and other designers used their Spring/Summer ‘20 collections as a way to pull on our heartstrings with a dose of ‘what used to be’. It all feels especially relevant now, with the indisputable need to take sustainability more seriously by reusing and re-wearing old clothes. “I think it just goes to show that fashion really is circular,” says Selfridges Lead Womenswear Stylist Molly Donovan. “Trends always come back around and have a renewed relevancy later on down the line."

Fellow Italian label Prada also celebrated a 20-year anniversary this spring, with the return of their iconic bowling bag at their resort ’20 show. One of the first ‘It bags’ of its kind, it was on waiting lists worldwide in the year 2000, selling out immediately after arriving in stores. With the emergence of other 90s-style accessories from cult favourites By Far and Staud, its comeback is very on-the-button. “The Prada bowling bag nods to vintage and feels like a real investment piece. It’s something to treasure,” says Selfridges Buying Manager Josie Gardner. Why does this have such customer appeal today? “With excess consumption at the top of everyone’s agendas, customers are looking for key pieces that tug on their emotions.”

Elsewhere, we’ve seen Christopher Kane dip into his archives for Spring/Summer ’20, reutilising the neon lace last seen at his Spring/Summer collection back in 2011. Styled up a little differently, but still just as brilliant (knee-length dresses with matching jackets were swapped out for relaxed sweaters over lace midi skirts), it’s a case in point for re-wearing the things you love. Alessandro Michele at Gucci also hopped on to the old-school train, reissuing the label’s classic 1955 Horsebit bag that has keep-forever, vintage, appeal. 

Fashion with a conscience is a huge part of why these throwback pieces feel important this season. It’s a reminder that to make real, planet-friendly, sustainable change, we must all be less wasteful and re-wear and recycle our clothes and accessories. Writer Lauren Bravo chronicled in The Guardian about her resolution to buy no new clothes for an entire year, learning to really appreciate the items that serve her well time and time again. “Those much-loved, time-worn outfits became part of the memories; dependable series regulars rather than novelty guest stars.” She wrote. “I’m trying to focus on my relationship with the clothes I already own…reminding myself why I fell for them in the first place.”

As for what we’d like to see continue for the next 20 (or more) years? “I love that luxury and longevity are at the forefront of fashion right now,” says Molly Donovan. “Investing in ethical and well-made garments that last and transcend trends is the way forward.”

Need more new-season inspiration? Our guide to SS20 has you covered.

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