Cramped seats, that awful plastic-y material that is always sticky and tiny little TVs that seem incapable of working properly- air travel is definitely not the most glamorous undertaking. However airports with their sleek minimalist architecture and literal moving runways provide the backdrop for some of the very best in shockingly wearable fashion, whether you are jet-setting or just trying to get to class on time.
The onslaught of street style blogs are undoubtedly a consequence of the obvious impracticality (not to mention impossibility) of wearing direct-from-runway looks in real life. Much in the same way, red-carpet fashion, though voraciously consumed, has little bearing on our real lives, after all how many times a year do you go gown shopping? (The answer is always “Not nearly enough”.) But as a recent- and highly controversial- T magazine piece by the formidable Suzy Menkes, as well as the equally eloquent rebuttals from bloggers Leandra Medine and Suzy Lau pointed out, street style has to some extent become a contest of who can look the most outlandish. So in addition to not wearing a see-through plastic skirt or a giant ball gown complete with backwards diamond necklace, you’re probably also not going to wear an entire peacock on your head. Fashion showers are probably not the most sensible option for everyday life- so out with the street and in with the airport.
The liminal space of the airport provides the perfect balance between runway and real life since some degree of comfort is required (you’re flight doesn’t go any faster if you have David Beckham waiting to pick you up- although it probably doesn’t hurt). It is often the most practical that celebrities are ever dressed, however the almost guaranteed presence of paps on the other end means that Lulu’s are likely to be forsaken for more fashion-forward wear. The resulting looks balance comfort and cuteness and are perfect to cop for everyday life. Airports also tend to be a major proving ground for trends. Hedi Slimane gave his very first handbag for the redesigned Saint Laurent- a gorgeously streamlined gray duffel- to Gwyneth Paltrow who brought it with her to LAX and started a frenzy of envy and want in fashionistas around the world.
The best part of airport style? Even though Gwyneth’s outfit probably costs more than your tuition, it’s entirely possible to recreate the look, or capture the essence of the style for much, much less. Take for example Emma Stone’s recent ensemble in Paris, hit up JCrew and American Apparel and you too can look the chicest anyone has ever looked in a baggage claim area. If you dance to a dressier drum, Victoria Beckham seems immune to that awful foot-swelling thing that happens when you’re 30 000ft in the air, and always looks immaculate. Bonus points if you eschew a handbag entirely and coordinate with an equally well-dressed toddler.
So get to stealing the best of celeb airport style for casual-yet-put-together day dressing. Or steal my million-dollar idea and start an airport style blog, I’m too busy drooling over that Saint Laurent Classic Duffel to care.
Claire Pierce, Online Contributor