As you get older, your tastes become more grown up. Or at least, that’s how it’s supposed to go. You learn to like olives, you develop a skincare regime, you become evangelical about the benefits of a memory foam mattress.
With the quiet confidence of age, your style sensibility will also probably mature. Probably, but not definitely. Not if you are me.
Here’s what I didn’t expect from 2022: to watch Love Island and actually care about the clothes, much less to want to mimic a contestant’s look (a phrase that would have been an oxymoron on any other year). I’m at an age (late thirties, AKA OAP according to Love Island ’s dog years metric of ageing) where my friends are thinking about school catchment areas, and here I am contemplating the allure of bedazzled, knickerless outfits. But that’s another thing a person learn with age – life is full of surprises.
I have worked in fashion for 15 years, and this year my summer style muse is not some aloof It-girl, not an esoteric artist, she’s not even French! Rather, it’s Love Island contestant Tasha Ghouri, the 23-year-old model and dancer from Thirsk who is currently coupled up with, ummm, can’t remember. Nor do I care, it’s the clothes I am here for.
Because did you see her this week in her snazzy little emerald green mini (micro! ) dress coupled with matching platforms plus slicked back, very editorial hair? Have you seen the girl in her psychedelic sheer cover up? What about her ombre knee-high boots? And what did you think about that men’s bomber jacket worn oversized, nonchalantly slipping off the shoulders, with a corset top? The latter look inspired new hunk Jacques to declare her the best dressed girl in the villa. Normally that would be a meagre compliment without weight – but this year has been an unusually well-dressed one (special shout out to Indiyah in Poster Girl), not least because for the first time ever the brand is championing pre-loved fashion in partnership with eBay.
‘When I met Tasha before the show, I could tell straight away that she is open to trying and testing different trends and to embracing pre-loved from eBay, ’ says the show’s stylist Amy Bannerman, who has been spearheading this season’s pre-loved revolution. ‘She revealed that a pair of vintage cowboy boots are her favourite item in her wardrobe, which she wears with absolutely everything – this gave me a good steer for her style’.
Ghouri’s look is, according to Bannerman ‘eclectic and stylish, she clearly has a really good eye’. That has given Bannerman a solid starting point. ‘Tasha’s great sense of personal style definitely stood out to me and I think is really shining through on the show. She told me that she loves leather dresses, so it was fab to see her in that amazing Diesel leather dress that we bought for her. Soft worn in brown leather really complemented her tan and paired with smoothed back hair – the girl knows what’s she doing! I also love how the lady wore the men’s vintage red Champion satin bomber jacket, which plays into both our blurred lines and dopamine dressing trends for the series. ’
Dopamine is the word. In a happy (if unexpected) moment associated with fashion kismet, the Love Island look is chiming with the wider style zeitgeist of the moment. The mood right now is sexy, glamorous and fun, a natural kickback after two years of lost summers. It’s feelgood. In her good times clothes – a bit wit-woo naughty, a bit fashion girl unpredictable – Ghouri sums up the vibe of the instant. Whether or not I can parlay it into ‘real’ life remains to be seen, but buoyed by the self-confidence of my third spray tan in as many weeks, I’m off out tonight sans underwear. I might be old enough to know better, but nobody ever had too much fun in something sensibly chic, did they?