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This text was published in HARD COPY 12 / Summer 2021

Walking down memory lane

Text by Max Berger

No doubt about it, bingeing on films and TV series is one of the most popular pastimes in these COVID times. And it’s not just the programme suggestions for better entertainment within our own four walls that come to us more or less daily from online media that prove it; now the figures are also out to back it up. Last year, streaming services gained more users than ever before; 37 million signed up to Netflix alone. Evidently, the one or other designer also tuned in.

Wherever you look, the new summer collections are teeming with movie inspirations. Comme des Garçons has Mickey and Minnie Mouse smiling out from its dresses and coats; Donald Duck and his three nephews, Huey, Dewey and Louie, adorn Gucci’s sweatshirts and bags; and Salvatore Ferragamo devotes itself to the women from Alfred Hitchcock’s films. In an interview, creative director Paul Andrew even admitted having recently binge-watched all of the great master’s films (which is why the Ferragamo collection even includes “Tippi Hedren’s green”). The women’s summer line from Closed draws some of its inspiration from the film Tokyo Story; the men’s line, from the TV series M*A*S*H. So does this mean that the new summer fashions are the result of lots of lockdown boredom? Not at all. There’s a psychological principle behind the trend.

So if Donald Duck could ride a rocket across the galaxy unscathed, it’s both entertaining and exemplary to see him looking good as a symbol of survival on cotton and leather.

In tough times, holding on to what we know and trust is a reliable way of surviving them as well as possible. “Walking down memory lane” is the nostalgia trip we are only too happy to take because, for a short time, it takes us back to the paradise of past times – when all was still right with the world and things weren’t so terribly complicated. And the more complex life becomes, the more people seek refuge in the past.

The many comebacks and reissues we are currently seeing shows just how well films and series work here. “Friends”, “Gossip Girl”, and most recently “Sex and the City” – one TV cult show after another is being brought back to our screens; they are so eagerly awaited that simply the news on the Net of their return makes for record click counts. The reason they make the ideal escapism trip is that their characters often don’t have an easy time of it themselves, but cope with the crises in their lives and their concerns with touching, even heart-rending irony. The message: it’s going to be all right!

So if Donald Duck could ride a rocket across the galaxy unscathed, it’s both entertaining and exemplary to see him looking good as a symbol of survival on cotton and leather. This may make good sense for the moment. But it makes even more sense to go for a stylistic interpretation of the heroic stories from the past that lets people get even longer enjoyment out of them. One good example of this is the men’s collection from Closed. M*A*S*H is the tragicomic series about two surgeons in olive-green fatigues working in a field hospital during the Korean War. At times in the seventies, their anti-war wisecracks and antics earned them the reputation of making millions of people “members of an imaginary community”. The story is still as good as ever today, and the look, with its matching strawberry-coloured baseball caps, loose-fitting field jackets and some floral patterns has been so perfectly transposed into the present that even the future can only get better.