ON A RECENT Summer afternoon in the upscale Hamptons village of Sag Harbor, NY, a pre-teen holding her mother’s hand reverently approached the LoveShackFancy store. The boutique appears to have been decorated by a childlike empress on a high sugar level, like its sister branches in Southampton, Dallas, Austin, Palm Beach, Los Angeles, Newport Beach, California, and the Upper East Side neighborhoods and West Village of Manhattan. It’s drenched in climbing ivy and fresh, fake flowers, and filled to the ears with dolls, vintage suitcases, gilded mirrors, chandeliers and more frills than Marie-Antoinette’s tea at the Petit Trianon. As the speakers sang Rihanna singing, “We found love in a desperate place,” a fit, frilly clad saleswoman hummed. When the preteen took to the cult boutique’s true mecca – her “ribbon bar” – she asked a friend to consult a friend on the best trims to personalize the brand’s ultra-popular dresses and miniskirts.
A LoveShackFancy mini dress or skirt is the keystone of the tween and teen look of the moment, which also includes bare legs, sneakers (often shabby-chic Golden Gooses or white Nike Air Force Ones) and sometimes sweatshirts. hoodie from streetwear brands like Off White. The Ground Zero of the look is the area around the LoveShackFancy store on the Upper East Side, a prime enclave where groups of teenagers from private schools march through the streets in almost identical outfits. Thanks, however, to the democratizing effects of social media and rampant dupes, clones of these real-life Gossip Girls can also be found everywhere from Gothenburg to Grosse Pointe.
Jill Kargman, an Upper East Side resident and one of the dirtiest columnists in the neighborhood, has timed the trend both among her own teenage offspring and among the tweens she hangs out with. “You see a group approaching with flowers and LoveShack ruffles in the Golden Goose sneakers… You just see packages on the street going up Madison Avenue,” she observed. “It’s so funny.”
Ms. Kargman sees the look as a softer, more appropriate alternative to the preteen’s previous outfit: bodycon dresses. “I used to feel horrified when my 18 year old was more of a preteen and… I was wearing these BCBG bandage dresses that looked sprayed on. I used to say ‘four that fucking go’, ”she recalls. Although the LoveShackFancy hems are short, she said, they are “tempered by the softness of the ruffles and prints, so [the girls] don’t look like little skanks. And the sneakers mean the look is practical for walking around after school. “I almost think it’s kind of a reverse Kardashian,” Ms. Kargman ventured.
The tweens’ obsession with LoveShackFancy has been simmering for a few years now, and is now reaching a boiling point. The brand was launched in 2013 by former Cosmopolitan editor Rebecca Hessel Cohen. She first designed a small collection of bridesmaid dresses with her mother, Nancy Hessel Weber, former artistic director of Seventeen magazine. It has since evolved to include knits, jewelry, and accessories for all ages, as well as a growing line of home items. But while Ms Hessel Cohen has always viewed her brand as “intergenerational,” with grandmothers shopping alongside daughters and granddaughters, she’s not quite sure how the tween came about. She calls it “a crazy cult phenomenon” and describes extravagant LoveShackFancy-themed birthday parties and coveted packets of LSF goodies parents send to boarding school students. When the brand opened its Bleecker Street store, star child Suri Cruise and her friends were among the first to arrive.
Ms. Hessel Cohen engaged this young population, “trying to get more into TikTok” and using teenage models for some collections. Each season, the brand makes several prints and fabrics of the $ 295 Natasha dresses, which are popular with teenagers, a status item at graduation ceremonies and bar and bat mitzvahs, as well as basic mini skirts, which are starting to sell. around $ 225 and are considered an entry point. to the mark. She also knows that stores have become after-school hangouts for young girls. “We have tried to open up, of course, in neighborhoods and places where it’s a very beautiful community of mothers, daughters, all year round,” she said.
Unlike counterfeit versions, the LSF-and-Golden-Goose-sneaker look doesn’t come cheap. But in American colleges and high schools, integration has rarely been accessible. Some tweens I spoke to to browse LoveShackFancy sales or buy used parts; others are stubbornly saving in order to afford a skirt; some opt for cheaper alternatives from brands like Reformation and Aerie. Still others, as Anastasia Gerrans, a 20-year-old Seattle personal shopper, “just convince their parents to buy it for them.” To complete the outfit, the deliberately aged Golden Goose “Superstar” sneakers cost $ 495, but the Nike Air Force Ones cost less than $ 100.
Marin Archer, a 23-year-old Bostonian who describes herself as a ‘jack of all trades’ (working as a nanny, Amazon Prime buyer at Whole Foods, and freelance graphic designer), is older than the average wearer of this look. but engages with other fans on his lively Pinterest page. As she points out, many young women who post photos of the style cannot afford to buy it off the shelf. “I realize this is an aspiration for a lot of people,” Ms. Archer said. “I know people keep these pins or look at these outfits knowing that a lot is not affordable for a lot of people,” she continued. She first tried the trend by renting a LoveShackFancy skirt from the Nuuly subscription clothing rental service, then committed to buying one after falling in love with it.
While once such an elitist, designer-driven trend was perhaps most prevalent on the coast, social media is now spreading it widely. Ms Gerrans explained, “On TikTok in particular, it’s become so popular that almost everyone seems to like the brand.” Most of the content on this on TikTok, Pinterest, Instagram, and VSCO is positive, with the girls exchanging outfit selfies and suggestions on how to style their hair. The occasional hater will weigh heavily on the sheepish quality of dressing like your friends, both the real ones and the thousands you meet online.
But don’t be so quick to judge young women who want to dress alike, warns social scientist Dr. Wednesday Martin, author of “Primates of Park Avenue.” From an anthropological point of view, she explained, we are ready to look for group ties, because in the past it would help us survive against predators. “Not having a group identity can look like death, because being isolated in our evolutionary history literally meant you were going to die.” And after a year when these young girls have been sequestered in their rooms, without being able to see their friends, they are even more in a hurry to form alliances. As Dr Martin said, “It is especially urgent to consolidate your group identity after a pandemic if you are a young woman. Homo sapiens leaves in the form of a host of girls in ruffled skirts and scuffed sneakers: let’s go!
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