Keeping up with the cycle of fashion trends is both daunting and exhausting, especially since new aesthetics are popping up on TikTok every day. Generation Z love a micro trend – dressing for living in a cottage? Sure! Listen to Rosalia Motomami in the middle of biker cosplay? Absoutely! Buying box-dye to channel your inner e-girl/boy? Why not!
While this all sounds fun, not everyone has the stamina – or interest – to keep up. Enter auntiecore, the latest and greatest stylistic pursuit that is exactly what you think it is: channeling aunt’s unique, well-lived and idiosyncratic energy into an aesthetic. Auntiecore isn’t just another hot trend – it’s been around for generations, after all. In fact, you could say that tantecore is anti-heart.
But what East an aunt? Although we all know the dictionary definition, in cultural terms an aunt is much more than that. The urban dictionary alone contains 28 pages of suggestions. Generally speaking, it’s a term of endearment for a constant figure in your life who can be relied upon to spoil you and provide good advice; someone you can really look up to. An aunt can be anyone, really – your best friend, your mom’s good friend, your drag mom, your older co-worker, etc. Being an aunt or uncle is a spiritual pursuit, a lifestyle, a vibe.
Culturally and stylistically, the term is quite specific to POC cultures. People of color typically use “aunt” and “uncle” to refer to any of their elders – even strangers – and it’s a term that carries both love and respect, regardless of lineage. The Aunty and Uncle style is quite classic, sometimes old-fashioned, often opulent, but always individual. Aunties don’t follow trends and hope to catch the next viral wave from TikTok; they are not only dressed for the current season; they have a style that transcends everything in favor of assured comfort in one’s own skin.
From left to right: Glemaud AW22, GmbH AW22, Saint Laurent AW22.
Think Latinx tias, always be cold and wear a shawl – in the same way that some aunts in Eastern cultures tend to wear a pashmina; or chappal-style sandals worn across Africa, the Middle East and Asia (similar to the infamous chancla in Latin American cultures). aunts and uncles love a sensible shoe. See also the church-going black aunts in the American South, dressed to perfection as they match everything for their Sunday Best; or how these women always have a bag to match their sensible kitten heel shoes. This classic sensibility is now spreading both on the runways and in the closets of some fashion designers, often through POC designers themselves taking this cultural element and integrating it into their work from their own points of view. distinct cultural views.
New York-based brand Commission — with its meticulously tailored tracksuits, bomber tops and jackets, midi dresses, and general knack for perfecting classic basics — has really sharpened the energy of Asian aunts. Their bias-striped monogram, often printed on silk, is a prime example of Aunt sensibility. Brand designers Dylan Cao, Jin Kay and Huy Luong honor their shared East Asian heritage by celebrating their own mothers or elders, while reflecting on the history of their region. “Our mothers worked in all these different professions, but it was very interesting to see that there was a lot of commonality in the way they dressed,” they said. Tatler Asia. It is in this intersection of practicality and comfort that they achieve a unique and intimate portrait imbued with East Asian Auntie sensibility.
Benjamin Alexander Huseby and Serhat Isik often sum up the uncle’s energy at the Berlin-based GmbH, drawing inspiration from their own fathers and the elders of their cultures. Their AW22 collection directly engaged with their heritage through signifiers of Islamic culture in calligraphy prints, tunics, interpretation of taqiyah (caps worn by men during prayer) and careful tailoring. This last element, they say, was informed by “the ceremony of dressing up for the mosque; thinking of older gentlemen like our fathers who put on their finest suits for Friday prayers,” – a distinguished sense of dress that is the very essence of Uncle. The sumptuous faux fur-trimmed coats (very Auntie Dominique Deveraux) and leather thigh-high boots that made up the rest of the collection, however, lean closer to aunt, creating a degendered image that balances heritage and modernity.
London designer Priya Ahluwalia also often plays in this space, drawing inspiration from her family history, photographs and even the couture her Punjabi grandfather wore in the 1960s – which she reinvents through her own eye. contemporary and its sustainable techniques. In New York, Peter Do’s SS22 collection ‘Home’ saw him draw inspiration from his grandmother and aunts and their no-nonsense outfits for an exploration of Vietnamese tradition ao dai. This collection, he told us late last year, was in service of “meeting women’s needs with functionality and practicality”, which in itself is a fundamental tenet of auntiecore. Coincidentally, all of these designers are immigrants or come from immigrant families – there is a fascinating story here of cultural reconnection through respect for family tradition and elders.
You can see the aesthetic elsewhere in Christopher John Roger’s primitive monochromatic tailoring – with its roots in Southern church dress in America – recontextualized in the wardrobes of New York’s it-girls. Much of Christopher’s work draws from his experience growing up in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. “Going to church was a big part of my life,” he told Law Roach in a chat last year, noting that his family always had to look perfect. “There’s this idea of sudness, or blackness, that informs how I think about presenting myself and presenting my ideas to the world, which is as polished as possible,” he said. He’s not wrong – the thing about an aunt is you’ll never see her with a hair out of place.
From left to right: The Row AW22, Ahluwalllia AW22, Christopher John Rogers Pre-Fall 2022.
The feeling of wiser, classier aunts and uncles is also felt in the models of Raf and Miuccia parading down the runway holding their coats up (very “aunt felt a thrill” vibes); and in the 1995 Prada Re-Edition, as the aunty equivalent of the downtown it-girl bag. It’s in Hari Nef modeling for JW Anderson in a very nice wig – as a tribute to Cher in Moonstruck (1987), an iconic cinematic aunt – and in the bizarre but incredibly effective style of The Row’s AW22 lookbook by Brian Molloy, which featured a tank top layered over a t-shirt layered over a cashmere sweater. Wear tights without irony? Aunt vibe at its best, courtesy of two of the world’s chicest pashmina-wrapped aunts: Mary Kate and Ashley Olsen. Elsewhere, auntiecore takes on the looks of artful print mashups at Dries Van Noten (a real fashion aunt has certainly bought their Dries perfume before) and in the luscious fluffy fur coats that take center stage at Balenciaga shows. and Saint Laurent AW22.
Auntiecore is also bleeding into the cast. Amber Valletta, Karen Elson, Debra Shaw, Yasmin Warsame and Marie Sophie Wilson, among others, parade down the runway as the epitome of the ambitious sophistication that only comes with age. Of course, the zaddies also take over – older, distinguished gentlemen have been spotted walking for Prada, Marine Serre, Ralph Lauren and others (the shows were all the better for it). Auntiecore even made its way into the wardrobes of 2010s fashion cool kids, now adults – their style serving as a high fashion parallel to that of real aunts: the classic aunt bag replaced by LUAR’s Ana; their shawl, a Prada AW21 faux fur number; and Hermès sandals, of course.
Left to right: Peter Do SS21, JW Anderson AW22, NYC SS21 Commission.
All of this demonstrates that while there will never be an appreciation for subversiveness and anti-fashion, there is now a rediscovered love for the finer things in life. Simply good clothes that to see as expensive as they are (thanks to Matthieu Blazy’s Bottega Venetta debut). After all, aunts and uncles always want good value for their money – and have been known to inspect every seam, lining and seam for a cut-price flaw.
However, auntiecore is less a singular aesthetic than a matter of principle. It is an approach to dress that is idiosyncratic and authentic; the kind of look that comes with knowing who you are, on the inside. Stylist Amanda Murray’s eye for mixing Dries, Celine of Phoebe Philo and Rick Owens comes to mind; or TikTok star Carla Rockmore’s talent for making the most of every piece in her closet. The eccentric sartorial eye of LUAR’s Raul Lopez and the opulent elegance of director Osman Ahmed (similar to that of André Leon Talley, fashion’s ultimate uncle) are also prime examples of auntiecore. Devin Halbal’s (aka @hal.baddie) pashmina and selfie stick—along with his philosophy of “elevating,” “thriving,” and staying on his “Met Gala demeanor” at all times—couldn’t be more auntiecore.
A true aunt seeks self-expression rather than just trendy style, almost always opting for something timeless and, in most cases, comfortable. Perhaps that’s exactly why it’s become so popular to pursue aunt aesthetic principles and rebel against endless fads in favor of what works and what will work. always to work. After all, we all have to grow up one day, and as we do, so does our style – “in fashion, style is eternal”, in the words of Yves Saint Laurent. So instead of chasing all the micro-trends, why not wrap yourself in a shawl, invest in some chunky sunglasses, and slip on a pair of sensible shoes? It’s time to embrace your inner aunt, both in life and style.
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