It’s the first official week of summer, and we’re feeling optimistic. In that spirit, we bring you news of fashion’s sweetest accompaniment: the humble pompom or pomme-pomme if one likes to be French about these things. I know, last week it was all minimalist stark white trainers and navy t-shirts and now we’re advocating small multi-coloured Mexican fluff-balls. It must be the promise of vitamin D. Disclaimer: we never said we weren’t capricious. Then again, even Phoebe Philo, the mistress of minimalism adorned her Celine trouser hems with pompoms last year, so arguably (like most trends) she started it.
Reassuringly, for those of us who like a little historical weight to our affectations no matter how flighty, the humble pompom has been a de rigueur touch to national costumes for centuries. In South America, small vibrant-hued ones line the edges of dresses, whilst larger fluffier sorts bounce cheerfully from the neck. The Hungarian cavalry popped them atop their helmets, as did Norwegians and Scotsmen (those jolly red poms known as a Toorie).
Pompoms effectively are the point at which ceremonial and silly meet, bringing with their little flouncy selves a jolt of light heartedness. No one could be in a bad mood in the presence of a pompom which is why we’re all for their encouragement.
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“I call them happy shoes that make you want to go on holiday. Isn’t that all you need?”
The ever-jolly Edgardo Osorio, designer of the fast rising shoe label Aquazzura which this month hosts a pop-up store at Harrods, has covered his spring summer collection in sweet raffia confections. “I was inspired by Barbara Berger, she’s one of the world’s biggest jewellery collectors, and her house in Mexico is full of pompoms” says Osorio. “She has a lady in her house who makes pompoms all year long. I’m obsessed with them right now; we’ve made disco ball paillettes pompoms and these raffia straw ones. Each pompom is made by hand out of natural raffia then dyed, it takes 25 minutes to make each individual one. They look quite simple but there’s a lot of work in them. I call them happy shoes that make you want to go on holiday, isn’t that all you need?”
He’s not alone in his pompom-ery: Rae Feather’s traditional straw baskets are be-pommed, and offer the chance for your own stamp on them – literally, they will personalise with your initials. Pomme Pomme London have fun hooped pompom earrings as well as hair accessories, Zara have raided their Spanish roots and come up with this artisanal necklace which is just the thing to jazz up tired or plain T-shirts. For those who would chafe against too much colour, try Uterqüe for these grown up espadrilles, or & Other Stories’s subtle-y enlivened grey knit (we’ve really not forgotten our minimalist leanings).
If you’re frowning at the thought of splashing out on what could be seen as a child’s rainy day activity, try V V Rouleaux or take yourself back to Sunday School with Christine Leech’s wonderful book Pompomania in which she offers updated techniques (plastic pompom makers now exist for all those not in the crafty know) and patterns (stripey, spotty, or even emoji-based) so you can create your very own adornments.
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