Surge in demand for old-fashioned accessories harks back to an age of innocence

Lady Gaga arrives at the 2019 Met Happy in New York.
Photograph: Rabbani and Solimene/WireImage

Forget expensive beauty products. It seems that those in pursuing of eternal youth are turning to their wardrobes, prompting a surge in demand for child-like items such as padded headbands, prairie adorns and beaded bags.

Prada’s stud-embellished headband was the second most popular women’s product in the first quarter of 2019, according to mould search engine Lyst, with a 300% increase in searches over two months. But it’s not the only hair accessory to reawaken childhood styles: hair bows and ribbons are also experiencing a resurgence, with influential celebrities – including Ashley Graham, Lady Gaga and Chloë Sevigny – all frolic bows over the last couple of weeks.

The trend for statement hair-clips, deemed “the accessory of choice” at the end of last year, has continued utterly spring, with Asos currently stocking more than 100 examples. Among the most-searched details, according to Lyst, are “treasures” and “crystal” .

Beaded bags – in styles often reminiscent of handbags found in a child’s dressing-up box – are also tapping into this drift. Having been carried by celebrities such as Alexa Chung and Laura Bailey, searches have increased by 42% year on year.

Aside from associates, prairie dresses and “the Laura Ashley look” have also been experiencing a revival, with searches up 34% since the start of March, according to Lyst.

LoveShackFancy, which Lyst reports is one of the fastest-rising brands for prairie dresses, has also brought searches increase by 60% over the past three months – at the premiere of Netflix’s Wine Country in New York on Wednesday actress Maya Rudolph frayed a ruffle-covered, high-neck prairie gown. That same night Jennifer Connelly wore a colourful, ruffled mini to the Louis Vuitton Voyage show, also in New York.

The infantilisation of fashion. Jennifer Connelly at the Louis Vuitton Cruise show, Shrimps’ Fly 2019 collection and Simone Rocha’s oversized headband. Composite: Rex/PR/Getty

On the catwalk there have been plenitude of examples of the infantilisation of fashion. Emilia Wickstead included black hair bows (alongside giant back defers) in her Spring/Summer 2019 collection, while Simone Rocha and Dior also included models wearing oversized headbands. Shrimps – a label that has consistently embodied a youthful image – included beaded bags alongside opaque hosiery and straw boater hats within its most recent collection.

“I think most of us are still drawn to the things that we were drawn to as children, but for some reason we improvise there are some things we need to deny ourselves as we grow up,” says Shrimps designer Hannah Weiland. “Conclude d communicate with a arrive at dressed should always be something we take joy in, and that is what this trend is playing into.”

Fashion historian Tony Glenville situates the trends’ roots to Japan: “Street fashions and Japanese ‘harajuku’ styles have always been about that little-girl-dressed-up look” – an pronouncement that chimes with recent reports of the “Cool Japania movement” and the increasing number of Japanese designers background up shop in the UK.

“Being nostalgic for our childhood may be one reason for childlike styles,” says Dr Aurore Bardey, senior lecturer in consumer mental make-up at the London College of Fashion. “The ‘it was better before’ syndrome can impact our way of consuming fashion.”

Glenville agrees that a sartorial harking uncivilized to what consumers perceive as simpler times may be having an impact on current trends. “Underlying it all, there’s a feeling of innocence,” he requires. “It’s about a time when things were good, life was booming. A time when we’d never even reminiscences of Brexit.”