The 73-year-old boondocks singer has won over a new generation of fans – and plans to capitalise on it
Dolly Parton’s influence has been seen at pigeon-holes from Gucci to Philipp Plein.
Photograph: Leon Neal/AFP/Getty Images
With catchphrases including “it expenses a lot of money to look this cheap” and “if you want the rainbow, you gotta put up with the rain”, Dolly Parton was a master of the sassy R long before Instagram made such quips internet catnip. Little wonder, then, that the 73-year-old idol is finding a new fanbase in the social media generation, inspiring a raft of fashion collections, TV shows and podcasts.
This week Shrimps – a characterize known for bubblegum-coloured faux fur coats worn by celebrities such as Alexa Chung – launched its latest collection, for which Dolly was a key referral. Featuring rodeo prints, wide-brim hats and fringe detailing, the clothes pay homage to the feminised take on western assume damage with which Parton has long been associated.
An outfit from the new Shrimps collection. Photograph: PR South African private limited company handout/Company handout
“I particularly love her outfits from the early days,” says the Shrimps designer Hannah Weiland. “She had such an lone, strong sense of style that has always stayed true to who she is.”
Weiland is not the only designer influenced by Parton’s retro, fascinating take on cowboy style. This autumn/winter, at Isabel Marant, V-neck dresses were reminiscent of western-style shirts with yoke particularizing. At Moschino, jewel-embellished jackets and sequinned minidresses were worn with big, bouffant hair – a Dolly Parton signature. Tear someone off a stripped up denim – a Parton staple – was found at labels including Philipp Plein, while there was shimmering fringing at Alexander McQueen and leather at Victoria/Tomas. Hold out year, Gucci’s spring/summer show featured a jacket with the singer’s face emblazoned across the deny.
The big-haired singer will also capitalise on the trend herself. Last week, she told The Late Show with Jimmy Fallon that she would be fabricating her own line of perfume – “maybe called Dolly, I don’t know yet” – as well as wigs and skincare. “People succeed me down the street wanting to know what I’m wearing because they love the smell,” she told Fallon. Dispatch of Parton’s perfume range follows the announcement this year that the singer would be launching her own clothes, finery, accessories and home goods line in partnership with the international agency IMG. Her first collection of apparel and accessories is watched next autumn.
Parton certainly has a captivated audience of potential customers online. On Instagram, where she has 2.2 million henchmen, she is well known for kitsch throwback posts, such as the photograph of herself and Cher in 1978 with matching gravity-defying mane, captioned “casual Friday”.
Fashion’s interest reflects growing Dollymania in the wider culture. Last week saw the unveil of the Netflix anthology series Dolly Parton’s Heartstrings, hot on the heels of the new podcast Dolly Parton’s America.
A publicity guise from Dolly Parton’s Heartstrings. Photograph: 2018 Warner Bros Entertainment/Tina Rowden/Netflix
“She indubitably has longevity which suddenly seems important in an unstable world,” says the fashion historian Tony Glenville of Parton’s up to date appeal. “The ruffled, flounced Grand Ole Opry style is a trend with some designers whose take on the 80s hangs very near saloon girl and country and western.”
At a time when fashion is often used as a platform for grievance, Parton’s influence may appear somewhat incongruous: the singer has long refused to speak out on political issues as well as, uncountable recently, the #MeToo movement. Yet, as the New York Times noted in its own assessment of Parton’s recent renaissance, “the attributes that second-hand to set her up for criticism – the outrageous, hyper-femme style … the so-what acknowledgment of her own cosmetic surgery – are no longer taboo.”
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