Spring is all about rebirth and growth and the Lucite revival’s expansion into a full-blown transparency trend is redolent of such themes. Formerly the staple of London subcultures, the Lucite heel is returning to high fashion. Lucite, the polymer, was developed in the 1930s and became a recognisable fashion staple in the 40s then became a key trend in the 50s and 60s. A conservative lowering and thickening of the heel marked Lucite’s return to the mainstream fashion, perhaps to consciously differentiate it from the style favoured in London subculture. Diane Von Furstenberg’s Patmos heel is a prime example of this with its thickset low Lucite heel neutering the bright feminine pastel tone of the straps. Conversely Alexander McQueen’s staple Lucite heel, the Perspex and Metal Square, at 5.5 inches is typically high. However the cuboid heel provides a similarly neutralising effect on the elegant black suede of the shoe, taking the sultry evening shoe in a more artistic direction.
The direction of the Lucite revival is markedly clear. The birth of the transparent trend is an undeniable response to the growth in the number of polymers on the market and runway. Perhaps in order to address the rather counter-intuitive nature of a transparent bag, brands such as 3.1 Phillip Lim have introduced tonal panels into their bags, as seen on the clear Pashli satchel. Meanwhile brands like Chanel do nothing to address the practical issues of a clear bag with their SS13 Transparent Flap Bag and thus make, as always, a potent statement. Other brands, like Alice + Olivia have offered what one could call a meta-bag in which an opaque bag is placed inside the structured polymer. Dolce & Gabbana sought to personalise the theme in their Miss Escape PVC shopper by offering a detachable interior canvas patterned bag whilst the shopper was burnt orange. Their polymer bag is a standout amongst the masses: the colour evocative of sunset, the patterned inner bag of an Eastern spring. For a man-made chemical compound to be redolent of nature’s most creative season is to come full circle.