Friday 27 April 2018

Who wants to look like a silly little princess?

Why do adult women like Paris Hilton seem set on imitating Disney princesses?
Why do adult women like Paris Hilton seem set on imitating Disney princesses?

There's an invisible global vibration that seems to brainwash every girl under the age of seven into loving princesses and the great swathes of pink netting they swirl about in.

Even the most hardened tomboy among the female population will admit to a moment of weakness, aged six, faced with a Barbie pink princess gown. For most girls, the obsession departs sometime before they discover lip gloss, boys and the joys of other colours, such as the ubiquitous teenage black.

But now, if we're to believe the current wave of fashion, that pink, crazed princess wannabe is only shallowly buried beneath the surface of your average educated grown-up woman. We women, it seems, would prefer to be decked out in ballet slippers, trailing a tulle ballgown behind ourselves on the Luas, rather than a power suit and sensible shoes.

For a while, the girly chic was fun. The furry notebooks and neon-coloured Mini Coopers were tolerable. But now, grown women acting out girlhood fantasies through their adult lifestyle is turning downright creepy.

Disney, the company that made a fortune selling the cult of 'princess' to little girls, is about to inflict the same on big girls with an entire line of couture bridal-wear.

Never an organisation to miss out on a trend, their cloud-sized gowns and glittering tiaras go on sale in the US this summer, priced from €750 to €2,200.

The Disney dresses promise to transform the blushing bride into her favourite princess, whether it's Cinderella, Snow White or Ariel from The Little Mermaid.

Apparently there's a deeper psychological meaning behind those floaty folds of fabric.

In a recent Wall Street Journal interview, the designer behind the range, Kristie Kelly, said Cinderella's dress was all about "classic glamour"; Snow White's "sweet elegance", Jasmine from Aladdin displayed "bohemian chic" and Ariel had "sultry allure", because she is "comfortable showing her body".

Like a popular boy band, the Disney designs cover every big girl's taste, from head-girl to princess.

Disney's line will no doubt fly off the shelves. But this pre-school couture that is besieging our shops seems alarmingly determined to have us all wear bunches in our hair while sucking lollipops and bending our knees in to face each other.

Unless you've been walking blindfolded around the high street of any Irish town these past few months, you'll have been bombarded by an assemblage of garments you thought you'd left behind in senior infants. From the edgy skinny jeans and blouson- style tops of the last few seasons, there have emerged girlish tunics and school- uniform style pinafores.

If you didn't know better, you'd be forgiven for thinking your local branch of Wallis or a/wear had decided that the women of Ireland are really all reincarnated half-girl Twiggys, who'd look resplendent in overgrown romper suits.

How else can one explain the discus-sized buttons and shapeless triangle mini- dresses that only look good when sported by four-year- old girls romping on the playground seesaw or slide?

At worst, it would seem like a societal setback for womankind devised by some misogynistic male designer under the guise of fashion. At best, it's a look that suits only the six months' pregnant.

There seems to be a disturbing fad to get us back into the frilly ankle socks and T-bar shoes of our first communion days even if we're heading for middle age. Rumour has it that a scary trend is emerging in London nightclubs where grown women in smock dresses sport those offensive little ankle socks.

Maybe it is symptomatic of these stressful times. Maybe we are simply reverting to those carefree girlish days, pre-mortgage, pre-marriage, pre-kids and pre- responsibility.

The whole thing reeks of dodgy male conditioning, reminiscent of the baby-doll, sex-kitten Sixties, when women were displayed as both nubile and innocent.

Yet it would seem that women themselves are the driving force behind the trend this time round.

It's hard to imagine a man dreaming up the notion for Mac's 'Barbie Loves Mac' collection of screaming pink lipsticks, blushers and eye-shadows that purports to be for "all you living dolls" out there. Nor can men be blamed for the fact that it can't be kept on the shelves, so popular is the range.

Is it really Marc Jacobs' fault his cheap-looking plastic pendants, like the ones you'd get out of an old five-pence gobstopper machine, are selling like hotcakes?

What's next? The nerd from accounts sporting a snotty nose and short pants as he races his Dinky Toy up and down your desk?

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