Taking A Bow: The Sweet New Trend For 2013

One of the most surprising sights in Paris last week wasn't the queue for the new 'Bohemia' exhibition at the Grand Palais, nor the Van Cleef & Arpels display at the Musée des Arts Décoratifs, but something altogether more discreet. So discreet, a person could have missed it in the great, swirling circus-like display of fashion that is Paris in September and October. That is, until hundreds of these things popped up on the sartorial landscape, like little flowers blooming well before their season, and it became impossible to ignore them anymore. There were so many that I began to see them everywhere: on umbrellas and scarves; on the backs of trenchcoats; even on French cakes and pastries.

It was only when I walked past Lanvin's store on the Rue du Faubourg St. Honoré and noticed all the windows devoted to them that I knew a new fashion trend was in full force.

The look? The fresh, feminine, slightly whimsical but mostly elegant beauty of the ladylike bow.

Now for most of us bows speak of sweetness, of 1950's tea dresses and YSL gowns runched into glamorous folds with an enormous tie holding it all together at the decollatage. Bows are, by definition, pretty. They belong to the girl next door. Like this Kate Spade clutch, above. But the bows I saw in Paris were far from the sweet sixteen look we normally associate with them. These were BAD BOWS. These were bows that could girl a get into serious trouble.

Big BOW trouble.

Don't get me wrong.  I love a bow. There's nothing lovelier than receiving a present (preferably a big come-to-mamma one) with an enormous bow wrapped around it. Why do you think Net-a-Porter is so successful? The black-grosgrain ribboned boxes (above) are as luscious as the offerings hidden inside them. (Co-founder Natalie Massen has often spoken in business articles about how the boxes and bows were a deliberate strategy to win over new buyers.) And now that Christmas is coming, we've all got lots of opportunities to practice our bow-tying. Christmas is, after all, the bow-iest time of the year.

And so, as we head into The Season of The Bow (although judging by the vast numbers of twists and turns seen on stylish Parisians, it's already here), I thought I do a little post on the cute beauty of them.

Here's a bows-and-all look at the trend that's tying us all in a knot.
{Image at very top  from Australian Vogue}

Nicole Kidman looking bow-beautiful at Derby Day here in Melbourne last week. 
The frock was by L'Wren Scott. The hat was by Stephen Jones. 
It was easy to see how they were both inspired by another bow lover, the always gorgeous Audrey, shown here...

My Fair Lady
Cecil Beaton certainly knew how to take bows to new heights of glamour.

Kate Spade.

More Kate Spade.

And a little more Kate Spade.

Some Chanel, to give you a breather from Kate.

Chantal Thomass.


Chanel from 2009.

Love this.

Christopher Kane Spring/Summer 2013.

Chantal Thomass' Paris store.
Have you ever seen a more irresistible store?

Chantal Thomass' bow headboard.

More Chanel.

Bow nails.
Just fantastic. 
(Unsure of source; please email if you know so I can credit)

Grace Kelly and David Niven, Monte Carlo, 1959.
{Source unknown}

Original drawings for Chanel designs.

A little frou frou from the 1980s. 
Could someone please pop a top on this mannequin?

(I think? Please correct me if it's not right.)

Miss Katy Perry. 


J.Lo in Valentino.
Can you see the tiny bows at her waist? I love this outfit. The shoes are perfect too. 

The iconic image of the hot-pink YSL bow.

Dior Haute Couture.

More Dior Haute Couture.

Lulu Guinness.

Cuter-than-cute bow cookies, by Meg from Embellished Paper, for a party she designed.

And the cover of my most recent book....
I didn't even realised I was "on trend".
(Then again, I'm usually so involved in writing that I wouldn't notice a trend if you stuck a bow around it and slapped it on my desk!)

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