Hello! Apologies for my absence but I’ve been on an intense retreat in the Himalayas for the past six months. Eight hours of yoga and five hours of SoulCycle every day; no sugar, salt, dairy, gluten or carbs; three daily colonics. It was all about spirituality, you know. Oh really, do you think I’ve lost some weight? Well, that was just incidental, because the real focus was my inner growth, of course. The cost? About £15,775 a week, but the whole experience was so real – I honestly don’t know why everyone doesn’t do it.
So I have come back glowing in a way only #eatingclean can make you (and possibly malnutrition – does anyone know if eating nothing but avocado is bad for you?) and am ready to tackle the big questions in the all new Ask Hadley column, which will focus on fashion … and etiquette! I am the Nancy Mitford of the modern age. Or maybe Nancy Dell’Olio.
Anyway, Gucci! I have had time to ponder this issue and whether I think it is a good or bad thing. And I have decided – I say, my thumb quivering in the neutral position like a Roman emperor of fashion – it is a good thing! Thumbs up! Gucci geek chic, you shall not be thrown to the lions!
To give a quick recap for those who are not quite as fashionable as me, Gucci, the label that once advertised itself by shaving its logo into a model’s pubic hair, is now pretending none of that happened and is the go-to place for what Vogue described last month as the “library loiterer look”. This sounds like something George Michael might have been arrested for back in the day but actually refers to a pile-up of patterns, pussy-bow blouses, loafers and bright colours. Never mind library loitering, it looks like a cross between Solange Knowles’s wardrobe from one of my favourite music videos, Losing You (educate yourselves!), and Kristen Wiig’s pleated-skirt suits in the new Ghostbusters.
Look, any trend that encourages women to wear comfortable shoes is OK with me, whether it’s Marc Jacobs’ quirky cuties in the early 2000s with their round-toed flats or Gucci’s librarian loafers today. My colleague Jess Cartner-Morley rightly described this look as part of the current trend for clothes that have “a cheerful disregard for the male gaze”. Personally, I thought this was just dressing like a regular person as opposed to dressing like Elizabeth Hurley. But hey, I’m fine with the idea that dressing like a regular woman is, if not exactly a feminist statement, than as close as fashion gets to one. Carry on, Gucci.Once upon a time, if you got set up on a date by a friend, you would ask, at most, a few questions: what’s their name? What do they do? Are they a psychopath? Do they have a hairy back? And then, questions answered to your liking, armed with this and only this information, off you would go to meet this potential swain. Now, I wouldn’t even think of meeting up with someone without having memorised their Instagram feed, their sister’s Facebook and their best friend’s Twitter account.
“Oh really? You have a brother?” I say on the first date, all the while vividly picturing the said brother’s wedding photos I have been studying for the past week from his Facebook page. Date me, know that I will have been deep cover in your life.
It’s a truism that most romcoms are actually terrifying stalker movies, with the protagonist spying on and manipulating the emotions of their desired quarry.Sleepless in Seattle, for starters, is completely terrifying, with a deranged (and engaged) Meg Ryan stalking poor widowed Tom Hanks, studying details of his late wife’s funeral, hiring a private investigator to photograph him on dates, even turning up at his flipping house. Now, however, this looks like small fry compared with the amount of spying on one another we do.
There’s no stopping this train now – we do it because we can. But with great power comes great responsibility, and the responsibility is on all of us to know when to stop. So to keep things simple, here are some rules to stop you from tipping over from “harmlessly curious” to “deranged obsessive stalker”: don’t go back further than page two on a person’s Google search; look at their Facebook and Instagram photos once – then step away; don’t look at the social media accounts of any of their friends, family or, most of all, exes; don’t follow them on Twitter until you are actually in a relationship. Put your phone down, people.