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The biggest fashion news of the week? Cate Blanchett wearing an old dress to the Venice Film Festival, where she’s doing a tour of duty as a judge.
Note the linguistic distinctions here. This is not a vintage dress – although in past years, even a two-year-old outfit has sometimes qualified as vintage. In the current moral maelstrom however, wearing vintage might not seem quite as heroic as it did five minutes ago, given how extremely pricey and new-to-you vintage can be.
No, we’re talking old – albeit not really old. There’s a world of nuance in that. That navy sequinned white-ruffle- trimmed floor-length gown from Esteban Cortázar was first seen on Blanchett in 2015 at the London premier of Carol.
Then there was the navy blazer and cream trousers she arrived in at the start of the week. This is not new territory for Blanchett, who says she finds the amount of perfectly serviceable clothes that end up in landfill “wilful and destructive”. Most would agree with her.
She’s also donating the clothes she’s wearing throughout the festival to a charity auction. If fashion became entertainment in the first part of this century, it’s rapidly reinventing itself as some kind of moral crusader. Whether you buy this version of itself, it’s an interesting process.
It’s too early to say how much impact Blanchett’s re-wears will have on future red carpet peacockery (assuming red carpets have a future). The 51-year-old is a significant force in fashion. Gofugyourself.com, the celebrity/fashion website, was so excited by her touchdown in the city, it headlined its story “The Blanchett has landed”.
There are some practical takeouts from her tour-drobe. While most of us won’t have as stellar a back catalogue as Blanchett, a paid Armani ambassador, and a favourite of many designers, most of us can dig out a blazer, surely, and a pair of cream trousers. And maybe a jumpsuit or three. Or anything we’ve loved wearing which also makes us look and feel better.
This is the opposite of fast, fleeting fashion, but make no mistake, it’s still fashion.
There’s a blazer in most designer collections this autumn – including the H&M/Giuliva Heritage collaboration I wrote about last Saturday (the cream one sold out in the first hour, so yes, it seems tailoring is still relevant). Micro, one-season-only trends might be over for now, but overarching themes run and run.
Lisa Armstrong's column appears each Saturday in The Saturday Telegraph and is published online every Saturday at 7am on Telegraph Fashion.