Boho is back: Chloé show marks revival of hippy-adjacent style | Fashion

The jangle of a coin belt is the current mood music in fashion, because “boho chic”, the hippy-adjacent style made mainstream by Sienna Miller in the 00s, is back. While it has been clinking along in the background for a while, it was the recent Paris fashion week debut of Chloé’s creative director, Chemena Kamali, that signalled its official renaissance, via floaty blouses, high-waisted denim and Miller in the front row.

But it goes beyond the catwalk. Since the Chloé show, searches on John Lewis for “boho dresses’” have increased by 278%, while the search term “boho tops” has increased by 150%. For summer, Marks & Spencer is going big on the style, announcing this week an offering with lots of broderie anglaise, beading and crochet, as well as relaxed, wider-legged denim that chimes with the insouciant spirit. As boho is a vintage-inspired style, Depop has already started to feel its effects, with searches for crochet, fringing and maxi-lengths up.

Sienna Miller at Glastonbury festival in 2004. Photograph: Andy Butterton/PA

More of a vibe than a specific look, it encompasses frills, ruffles, suede, fringing, macrame and silhouettes that float off the body rather than fitting snugly. But if a look were going to sum it up, it would be Miller in Uggs, a hip-grazing coin belt and a pair of oversized sunglasses at Glastonbury in 2004.

Fashion experts have been predicting its return. In January, Vogue Runway’s José Criales-Unzueta wrote: “I think what we’re going to see next is the revival of ‘boho chic’. Enter the Olsens in the late 2000s (2007 comes to mind) running around NYC, enter Serena van der Woodsen in Gossip Girl.” Because while the look feels like a living embodiment of a Portobello Road market stall, it caught on down Rodeo Drive and the Upper East Side, too, with the help of the A-lister stylist Rachel Zoe, who dressed many of that era’s US “It-girls” in boho styles.

“This trend revival comes about at a time when people are leaning into nostalgia,” says J’Nae Phillips, the culture editor, writer and author of the Fashion Tingz newsletter. “Other trends may spark a sense of fear and dread for their often exclusionary ideals, but this time around boho-chic is getting a mature facelift as it evokes a sense of undone-ness and a carefree spirit.”

“Boho is always hugely popular for many reasons,” says Jane Shepherdson, who was the brain behind the cultural phenomenon of Topshop in the 00s, and therefore to thank for bringing boho chic to the high street. “It has attitude, is easygoing, relaxed and effortless with a real insouciance that few trends can match.”

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But some critics note the way the look can tend towards cultural appropriation. “We underestimate the power of fashion to shape thinking and attitudes that have real-life consequences,” says Mihaela Moscaliuc, an academic who explores issues of representation, appropriation and cultural identity. “In the case of the Romani people, whose clothes and ‘lifestyles’ are generally traced as original inspiration for the boho chic, the consequences have been quite detrimental.”

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