Monday 4th November

| BY Paul Toner

Gimme Gimme Gimme a Gimmick: Why Do Fashion Fanatics Love Buying Into Luxury Novelties?

If you’re not following Alan Crocetti on Instagram, what are you playing at? The London-based jeweller is always a pleasure to have clogging up our feeds. The models he uses are buff, his campaign images are gorgeous and the sublime jewels he crafts are always copied, pasted and sent to my boyfriend as a *wink, wink; nugde, nudge* of what to get me for our next anniversary. Out of the many wonderful posts on Crocetti’s Insta, two posts remain engraved in my brain. The first is a chastity belt made from hundreds of crystals, the second being a “nose plaster” and viper mouthpiece combo. Both seem a little on the ridiculous side to say the least, yet part of me wanted to add both to my imaginary basket and regret that decisions once it was too late to turn back. Impracticality doesn’t always mean a decrease in desirability, and no place is that more evident than the fashions trends of now.

Gimmick culture has well and truly inflicted the luxury fashion market. Needing something to put your ham and cheese butties in to take to work? Never fear, the Jil Sander $290 brown paper bag is here! Office stationery not inspiring you enough? How about a Prada embossed paperclip to keep all those to-do lists in one place which you’ll still not manage to get round to doing? Tiffany & Co. have done a ping-pong paddle in their signature robin egg blue, Chanel had that rather pricey boomerang and Alexander Wang even teamed up with Magnum on a matte-black cooler box that would set you back a grand. A little excessive you might ask? Of course. But what else do fashion folk have to spend their money on? They’ve got all the coats, the bags, the shoes – adorning the mantelpiece in your summer getaway pad with a Supreme brick, or a Brandon Maxwell champagne bag is just the cherry on top of the cake. A rather expensive cherry at that.

Buying into the novelty isn’t just about giving everyday household miscellaneous items a twinge of bourgeoisie; it’s about looking in the know. If you’ve got a Grindr hook-up over and you’re both looking to get a little kinky, forget rope or fluffy handcuffs – Christopher Kane cable ties and Raf Simons duct tape will really add some pizzaz to your pillow talk (unless you’re the one being gagged of course.) Splashing the cash on such items is about appearing fashionable in all walks of life, keeping up the facade that you eat, breath and get freaky in a fashion-like state as if your life depends on it

Lady Gaga at the Met Gala 2019 with Brandon Maxwell’s champagne bags

Fun and games aside, such investments can ooze with an immense sense of craftsmanship which propels a particular item from being denoted as a novelty to something quite extraordinary. Per Götesson, alongside partner and on-going collaborator, Husam El Odeh, defines the sentiment of turning trash into treasure. Odeh’s deft ability to transform broken fragments of Absolut bottles and corner shop lighters into intricate silver clusters that form broaches and necklaces adorn a sense of modishness to any garment. The same can be applied to Emily Bode, who’s LVMH Prize-nominated designs give abandoned fabrics and materials a new sense of purpose. Bode carries immense prowess sourcing and making excellent use of everyday items we usually asses no value in. Take the knock-out PVC tote and raincoat pairing that opened her AW19 collection – the transparent body of both were aligned with milk bottle caps and vintage coins she found trawling through eBay.

This idea of the ever-popular fashion gimmick comes down to innovation. Wanting something that your peers don’t own anything close to is engraved into our vanity ridden mentality. And in most cases, the more silly a purchase may be, the more effective it will be in snatching all eyes toward your direction. Everything from the chewed-up Margiela sneakers and MM6 pillow boots, to the Shayne Oliver designed Helmut Lang bra-bags – as ridiculous as they may seem on the surface, such products should be applauded for defying perceived notions of what a “luxury” item actually accounts to. So what’s your choice: the battered-old brown belt your nan got you for Christmas or the Alan Crocetti number that’s accessorised with a dangling bedazzled c*** cage? We know what we’re picking.