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The Rise and Fall and Rise Again from the fashion arc




Maybe no other trendy pattern divides as much as the bow. Some bows suggest a sweet girl, a prim prep style, but whatever the implications, the bow is a figure that carries oars of symbolism and always inspires a strong reaction.

But why did the spring 2022 parade season embrace the humble bow? As some might say, unusual times call for bold fashion, and our uncertain times thirst for the comforts of familiarity. Giambattista Valli, Moschino, Rochas, Batsheva, Comme des Garçons, Richard Quinn and many other designers have presented the arc for the upcoming season, all in different iterations. And emerging brands have also welcomed the bow with open arms.

trendy bows

Clockwise from left: Comme des Garçons, Giambattista Valli, Richard Quinn, Comme des Garçons, Giambattista Valli, Moschino, all in spring 2022.

Getty Images

“The ribbons and bows remind me of the main characters from the books and movies that I’ve always loved growing up,” Shelly Horst, founder of the Philadelphia-based accessories brand. Room shop, Explain. The brand recently launched oversized ribbons that tie in knots, and Horst styled them very dramatically with low ponytails and buns. “In stories like Anne of the Green Gables Where Little house in the meadow, a hair ribbon has always been a very special and expensive accessory, often made of the finest silk and in the most beautiful colors. I love how a bow can be used to put an outfit together.

Likewise, the Shanghai-based womenswear brand Shushu / Tong has made the knot a major part of her brand identity, with dresses embellished with knots, free-standing knot bandeau tops and even strapless dresses with huge bows in the back. Designers Liushu Lei and Yutong Jiang take inspiration from “Japanese animation,” Lei says, adding, “The bow is powerful. Flagship brands like Miu Miu and Chanel place bows over and over again on shoes, hair accessories, jewelry, and glitzy dresses, making the wearing of the bow modern.

The arch itself dates back to ancient times. A set of Gold Sumerian Hair Ribbons from 2600 to 2500 BC can be found at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. But “bows as we understand them today appeared in the Middle Ages with the introduction of the ribbon, made possible by the invention of the horizontal loom,” says Sarah Collins, fashion professor at Savannah College of Art and Design.

In the 16th and 17th centuries, the bow as we know it better, became popular for all genres, worn in the hair. “Wearing a knot tied to a long lock of hair was called a ‘love lock’; the section of hair was usually longer than the rest of the hair, then braided and laid across the chest, and tied with a bow, ”Collins adds. The bow in turn represented romance, as it was close to the heart.


Hepburn in an arch.

John Kobal Foundation

trendy bows

Dietrich in a bow.

Guillaume Walling

But even today, the arc has a major presence in all genres. Take, for example, the bow tie, which most people attribute to Pierre Lorillard. In 1886 he designed the modern tuxedo and bow as we know it, with a black bow tie. Since then, men have worn the style in a multitude of iterations. The bow tie itself even transitioned into women’s clothing for a brief time in the 1920s and 1930s, thanks to Katharine Hepburn and Marlene Dietrich. When famous designer Elsa Schiaparelli launched her knitwear collection in 1927, she celebrated the knot with a trompe-l’oeil recreation of it knitted into the neckline of a sweater.

Likewise, the bow was used as a hairdressing accessory in the French aristocracy of the 18th century. Rumor has it, the Marquise de Fontange, a mistress of Louis XIV, started the trend. She would have lost her hat while riding a horse. Since it was considered risky to have her hair loose, she removed a ribbon from her dress to tie up her locks. From there, the trend took off. Marie-Antoinette’s hairdresser, for example, would have spent around 20,000 francs for his hair ribbons.

chanel arcs

Chanel Fall 1995 show.


my baby

An iconic Miu Miu bow.


With the cottagecore subculture that took over TikTok last year and royalcore and lovecore aesthetics flourishing today, it’s no wonder designers are taking inspiration from the Marie-Antoinette look. Take, for example, the Instagram sensation Selkie, which recently launched its Little Trianon collection filled with bows everywhere, including on the arms of clothes and in the center of the plunging necklines, inspired by the puffy dresses of Antoinette.

“A notable part of the history of the bow was when women placed a bow at the top of the bodice, which had a low neckline,” adds Collins. “It was called a perfect containment, or ‘perfect contentment.’ The bow was used for nothing on the outfit and, therefore, was used as a status symbol. A similar tribute to the bow can be seen in“data-vars-ga-product-id =” 61699f48-11a6-481e-a7d1-29be047f39c3 “data-vars-ga-product-price =” 0.00 “data-vars-ga-product-sem3-brand =”“data-vars-ga-product-sem3-category =” “data-vars-ga-product-sem3-id =” “data-affiliate-network =” “data-affiliate =” true “> Hill House HomeNap dresses, which became such a staple of 2020 that the brand could barely keep up with demand. Each of the brand’s dresses has a soft, warm silhouette inspired by nap and comfort, and many of them also feature a small bow that ties behind the shoulders. Founder Nell Diamond also puts big knots in her dramatic long hair, in honor of her “Victorian ghost vibe,” as she calls it.

At the same time, bows have so much range that they have also been used as a mark of resistance. Bows were worn as ribbon cockades during the French Revolution and on hats as a sign of mistrust against Hitler during World War II. “French women adorned their hats and later their turbans with ribbons and other pieces of cloth which they picked up in defiance of German rules against extravagance,” Collins explains. And they are common in school girl uniforms all over the world, from Asia and Russia to the United States, where ribbons are worn in the hair and bows decorate the collar and embellish other parts of the hair. The clothe. The fact that bows can symbolize so many different things – from royalty and revolution to femininity – is perhaps one of the main reasons they feel so good in 2021.

Fast forward to the 1960s and 1970s, when the knot became a symbol of women’s empowerment in the workplace in the form of the ponytail top, which appeared on the catwalks from Yves Saint Laurent in Halston. (Since then, it’s been recreated everywhere from Gucci to Balmain.) In the ’80s – an era that contemporary fashion has undermined of late – wearing a bold bow was a way to harness the inherent glamor of standing out from the crowd. the crowd. In their own way, Madonna and Princess Diana (whose style is experiencing a fashion renaissance thanks in part to the film’s release Spencer) showcased the power of an 80s bow.

Diana at the races

Princess Diana wears a bow tie.

Princess Diana ArchivesGetty Images

The arcs for spring 2022 draw on all of these references, but add elements of individualism. Look at the massive sculpture-like structures of Comme des Garçons covered in large printed knots (Rei Kawakubo basically said the collection was about shedding fashion conventions). Or Richard Quinn’s neat and plump knots, which are placed over otherworldly coveralls and tied under the chin from babushka-type scarves. These bows are about personal style, strength and power. “For me, ribbons and bows represent femininity and innocence,” Horst adds. “I like that they are a whimsical, dreamy outfit that isn’t necessarily meant for the male gaze.”

To me, wearing a bow as a woman in 2021 feels more like a statement of power than anything else. Instead of following a rule like uniform guidelines or pulling your hair back to be more conventionally presentable, wearing a bow is about dressing firmly for yourself.

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