Decembar 2021

50 | Božić » Christmas FASH I ON PHENOMENON It’s time for ugly festive sweaters Ugly Xmas sweaters are irrefutably viral, but what is it that has made them an inevitable hipster article? Alongside decorated Christmas trees, poetic wreathshungondoors, embroideredstockings for presents – the iconographyof thefestiveseasonhasreserved a special place in recent years for a detail of unprecedentedkitsch. Yes, thatridiculous“Christmassweater”hassnuck itswayamongthesymbols of the festive celebration. You know the kind of sweater we’re talking about – usually made of wool with a dubious composition andmostly indifferent shadesof red, white and green. And always with at least one winter motif – be it a snowman, snowflakes or reindeer (and usually all of them together, plus bells and tassels). The taleof howa somewhat prosaic itemof clothing became an emblemof theholiday season is like the light genre of an afternoonfilmon a family cable channel - it has all the elements of apredictable lemoncordial, but also a ridiculous plot that brings a smile to your face. Thefirstknitwear featuringsuch motifs appeared back in the 1950s, aroundthesametimeasthecommercialisation of the holiday season. Initially dubbed “JingleBell Sweaters”, they weren’t as colourful as the current iteration, but theyquickly found theirwaytocustomerswhosawthem beingwornbysingersandpresenters of American music TV shows, such asVal DoonicanandAndyWilliams. However, these deliberately kitschy sweaters didn’t enter the mainstreamuntil the ‘80s.That happened with the wholehearted assistance of pop culture and particularlycomedies likeNational Lampoon's Christmas Vacation. The character of the funny dad in every cinematic hit of that period would be unimaginable without a red sweater featuring snowflakes, and ever more people began wearing them “in jest” to Christmas office parties. Admittedly, their popularity didn’t last. Two rival fashion camps of the ‘90s – greasy grunge and icy minimalism – viewed such eyesoar items with equal indignation, and Christmas sweaters were considered a tasteless gift from distant relatives (who certainly don't know you well enough to know what you really like).Norwas thebeginningof the new millennium any less harsh towards this joyous itemof clothing – with the prevailing opinion being thatnobodywithstylewouldbeseen dead wearing something like that. Testifying to this claimis a scene from the 2001 film Bridget Jones’s Diary. Colin Firth, in the role of the well-intentionedMark Darcy, turns toBridget (RenéeZellweger)atafamily Christmas party, and she is instantly repulsed when she notices that he’s wearing a sweater featuring a red-nosed reindeer. Just like youprobablywerewhenyousawthis film for the first time in the cinema. But your lips probably stretched to forma smile at the same time. Well, that'sprecisely the sentimental power of the “ugly Xmas sweater”. The early 2000s also witnessed a renewed craze for these multicolouredpullovers. According to the book Ugly Christmas Sweater Party Book: The Definitive Guide to GettingYourUglyOn, Christmas sweatersgainedprominenceasanaddition to the hipster outfit almost at the exact same time as Bridget was appalledby theoneDarcyhaddonned. Furthermore, it was actually in 2002 that the first party of lovers of thecultof theUglyChristmasSweater was organised in Vancouver. And theirpopularityonlygrewfromthere. Giants of fast fashion, such as Topshop andH&M, soon began including suchpatterns andmotifs in their holiday collections, while in parallel the online second-hand market beganofferingvintagemodels for those who prefer the “real thing”. Design houses even got involved in the hilarity: Stella McCartney included a sweaterwithapolar bear inherWinter 2007 collection, while similar inspiration gripped Givenchy in 2010 andDolce&Gabbanaayear later.Celebrities took notes – soon the likes of Taylor Swift, DavidBeckham,Mila Kunis and Ryan Reynolds began pushing this ironic must-have. And, why not? Among all the sombre news and gloomy days, this sincere festive joy is seeminglymade to measure – for each of us. FOTO: / / The Mega Agency