2014, the year of...the comeback
Just like Taylor Swift’s love life, some things in life never stay the same. Particularly when it comes to all things à la mode. And 2014 seems to be no different. Whether it’s Kendall and Kylie Jenner, Hailey and Ireland Baldwin, Willow and Jayden...
With stars getting younger and younger (Russian model Kristina Pimenova is just nine years old) the entertainment industry has made no secret of its growing obsession with youth. However, recently things have begun to change. Earlier this year, heights were wuthered once again as Kate Bush returned to the stage after 35 years of silence. A combination of interpretative dance, shrill sounds, bare feet, and her trademark surplus linen, each one of her 22 comeback gigs at the Hammersmith Apollo was like peering into a pensieve and being transported back in time. Only better, as according to a survey by Viagogo more than 80,000 fans flocked to her West London gigs, which is more than can be said for One Direction's Where We Are Now tour. (Where are you now? Not top of the leaderboard, that's for sure)
Also enjoying her musical comeback, and reclaiming the title of juiciest bottom in showbiz (Kim Kardashian, eat your heart out) is I'm Still, I'm Still Jenny from the Block. Releasing her first album in three years, teaming up with newcomer Iggy Azealia, and showing the new generation of twerkers how it's done, the older, wiser, and sexier La Lopez returned to our charts again this year with a new song by the name of Booty -because nobody puts J.Lo's in the corner…
Next to return to the spotlight was Lily Allen. Turning her hair into a rainbow and stealing Yeezus's name, Lily waved farewell to country life and returned once more to the stage. And with lyrics like Give me that crown, bitch, I wanna be Sheezus and I'm switching off, no longer listening/I've had enough persecution and conditioning, she's not taking shit from nobody. Which, in an industry famed for moulding young popstars into sexualised puppets, is as refreshing as an Icebucket Challenge on a hot summer's day.
Then there's reigning queen of hip-hop Mary J Blige who dropped her album London Sessions earlier this month. Although not as dramatic in her comeback (she released a Christmas album last year), her crossing of the Atlantic to collaborate with some of the UK's most celebrated talent from Emeli Sande to Disclosure, instead of merely regurgitating another warbled rendition of Silent Night, has all the hallmarks of being back for good. And it's not just the girls: Jamie T, The Libertines, Band Aid, and McBusted (a heady combination of noughties boybands McFLy and Busted) also made comebacks this year.
But it's not just the music industry that's been feeling these thrilling tides of change; the fashion world is feeling it too. And I'm not talking about the now nauseating nineties nostalgia that's been hasthtagged to oblivion, pumped out by Topshop at a bargain, and vomited over a whole generation in the name #tbt (tattoo necklaces and Clueless references, be gone!) I mean the return of some of fashion's most iconic figures.
Indeed, not only did 2014 open its doors to a host of musical comebacks, it saw the return of familiar faces to the runway, in particular noughties merbabe Gemma Ward, whose debut in Prada's spring/summer 15 show, after a six-year hiatus, basically broke the internet. And it wasn't just her: swapping her havaianas for heels, Gisele Bündchen returned for Chanel's faux feminist rebellion (loudspeaker and slogan firmly in hand) while original super Stephanie Seymour reprised her role as the face of Estée Lauder. Lara Stone also came back in a big way this year (breasts out and totally unretouched in one particular magazine) as did Naomi Campbell, who bagged campaigns for Burberry and Agent Provocateur, at the ripe old age of 44.
Also back with a bang is the world's prettiest woman Julia Roberts, who was handpicked by Riccardo Tisci for his spring/summer 15 Givenchy campaign. Instead of naff sexualised images of young, mannequin-like models, the campaign is paired back and totally unretouched. No smiles. No make up, just Julia Roberts at her most raw and real.
But that's not all: 2014 also saw the return of dreamy double act Luella Bartley and Katie Hillier, and their ninja pop meets riot grrrl inspired collection for Marc by Marc Jacobs. Unlike younger, celebrity obsessed designers who have mass logoed merch coming out of their eyeballs and who have nothing to say for themselves except LOL, Bartley and Hillier actually have a point of view, as seen in their focus on female empowerment.
There was also the #reboot of dormant fashion houses Schiaparelli, Diesel and Kilgour, at the hands of knights in haute couture armour Marco Zanini, Nicola Formitchetti, and Carlo Brandelli. And, most significantly, the welcoming back of John Galliano, whose fall from grace in 2011 was one of most widely documented scandals in fashion history. Not only was it announced that he'd be taking over the helm at Maison Martin Margiela, he was also given the honour of presenting Anna Wintour with her Outstanding Achievement Award at the BFAs earlier this month. Which brings us on to the next comeback of 2014: everyone's favourite child-star Miss Lindsay Lohan.
With her sobriety as questionable as her driving skills, 2005-2013 was a pretty rough time for little ol' Lilo. But then came 2014 and Lindsay finally got her groove back after moving to London, making her stage debut, and getting papped outside Chiltern Firehouse. No longer objectified as some tragic starlet, Lindsay's theatrical performance finally put her critics back in their place.
But what does this all mean? What does welcoming Lindsay Lohan back to the fold and Gisele Bündchen back to the catwalk say about our generation? Well, for one thing, it shows how tired we've become of society's ever-increasing demand for the new, its objectification of the young and, even, its fetishisation of what is 'fresh'. We're so tired of seeing mannequin like models, sexualised popstars, and young designers with no integrity. We want real women like Julia Roberts and Stephanie Seymour who have lived and aged with style and grace for our role models. We don't want to live in the prison of reblogged nostalgia where all we have to aspire to is a throwback picture of Kate Moss; we want real figures from the past like Gemma Ward and Mary J Blige, who've grown into inspirational figures, to permeate pop culture and show the new kids how it's down. It also gives us hope that there's no shelf life for greatness, no expiry date on talent or beauty. That you can still be a mother and have a career like Lily Allen and that you can comeback from your mistakes like John Galliano. 2014 has indeed been the year of the comeback, and long may it continue.