Resident style guru and trend-spotter Susan Muncey looks at the garish world of candy kitsch…
Candy kitsch is a trend that won’t go away. From the 1960s to the ‘80s, American toys like Barbie, My Little Pony and Care Bears transformed the colour palette of the young wardrobe. During the 1990s, when many international brands opened their first branches in Japan, Harajuku-style fashions were adopted by Europeans, and designers like Servane Gaxotte started making jewellery from recycled toys in the form of miniature teddies and dolls.
Taking its cue from art and design (such as the Campana brothers’ teddy bear chair), today’s candy kitsch look is very much inspired by Fairy Kei fashions from Japan and other parts of Asia, some of them imported directly, others created by local designer-makers. From Lady Gaga’s Hello Kitty dress and doll-like makeovers to Katy Perry’s fairytale princess gowns, popular youth culture has embraced and embellished this trend.
Textile designer, Dale Hume, was inspired by Japanese Street style to create a “fun textiles collection that would appeal to young women.” She sourced materials from her childhood toy box, charity shops and car boot sales to use for her degree collection in 2012.
Since UK based Lush Cosmetics launched their handmade fruit and flower scented bath and beauty range in a rainbow of pastel shades in the 1990s, bath and spa products have been taken to a new level in their bid to tempt hungry customers.
Pastel shades of lemon, pale plum pink, powder blue, peppermint and frosted cream feature in textiles and product design. Accessories are inspired by childhood memories of play, sugarcoated cakes and confectionery.
In an age when children’s entertainment and eating out are major economic considerations, it’s no surprise that colours, textures and aromas are designed to mimic their edible counterparts and draw upon the nostalgia of childhood to tempt adults to spend.
Candy striped fabrics have progressed beyond tea-towels or deckchairs, and are now popular as upholstery textiles in interior design. Colours will increasingly take on a more tribal flavour. Meantime, expect to see plenty more vintage style dolls on clothes, bags and jewellery. But might we have overdone the cake? According to the Daily Mail, too much cake can make you hairy, so best not be too greedy.