Dernier cri: A guide to fashion speak

Filed under: Interviews

Struggle to decipher the difference Dior's New Look and your local New Look store? No problemo. Just chuck a few of these into your lexicon and you'll have the fash-pack hanging onto your every word. No need to thank us.


fashion-speak-guidePhoto: Getty



..., no?
As in "I look very chic, no?" – confusingly the correct answer to this question is actually yes. Replying with the word "no" will lead to perpetual banishment from all things fashion.

'Ironic' abbreviations
To Sho (Topshop), Gooch (Gucci) Channel (Chanel) – so as to indicate that you're so au fait with the brands you can hilariously mispronounce them. Ironic, no?

The use of the singular
The lip, the pant, the platform, the singular. The little people wear a pair of shoes, trousers and have red lips. But on planet fashion, the use of the singular denotes that you truly understand the wider style implications of what you are wearing – not, as might be assumed by a little person, that the wearer only has one lip, foot or trouser leg.

Very Edie
On one level Grey Gardens was a documentary about two abandoned, eccentric and really quite batty women, Big Edie and Little Edie, who lead their lives in the Hamptons. There is cat and racoon poo all over the house, they eat liver pate from a tin and there are massive great holes in their clothes. But to the fashionable mind this is a stinky pool of style inspiration. Hence anything vaguely bohemian/mismatched/layered is Very Edie, as in Little Edie.

Homage
Really means 'rip off' or 'copy'.

Tricky/daring/brave
Really means unwearable.

Work/rock/don
Wearing a coat is vulgar, instead you must rock that coat.

The chic suffix
Perhaps most infamous is the heroine chic that took hold in the mid 1990s (thank you Calvin Klein) but it now it can be used for a plethora of insulting/less than savoury terms. Eg boho chic, hobo chic, homicidal maniac chic.

You look positively gaunt!
Sounds like an insult, right? Wrong. It's pretty much the nicest thing you can say when greeting someone in fashion circles.

Tres
As in the French word for 'very'. Thing is, it says so much more than it's Anglo Saxon equivalent. The more affected the manner in which you can say it, the better.

Directional
Another word for being 'on trend' - probably pertaining to an item of clothing that is 'brave' (see above).

Ethnic/Global traveller chic
The paranoid fashion writer's politically correct code for anything nodding to places other than Western Europe or North America. And in using such a generic tone, is actually quite offensive.

A moment
Seconds/minutes/hours might split the average person's lifetime – but the history of fashion is divided into MOMENTS. John Galliano's graduate collection, Princess Diana's wedding dress, Christian Dior's 1947 Corolle collection. These, fashion fans, are moments.