First they came for our retro Ireland soccer jerseys. Then they came for our humble GAA shorts. Now, it’s a far most unsuspecting piece of Ireland’s culture that the fashion world has its eye on: our old Telefón boxes.
In its Spring/Summer 2021 collection, Hermès promises to transport us to “a fantasy city built of collages” and in one of those cityscapes pictured in its advertising campaign we can see model Amar Akway walking in an all-orange ensemble. But wait, what’s that over her shoulder?
Featuring prominently in ‘The Faubourg Odyssey’ campaign is an iconic green and white Telefón box.
The distinctive means of communication were first installed in Ireland in the 1920s and dominated Irish towns and cities for decades. In the 1980s they were joined by private telephones and, with the dominance of mobile phones, all phone boxes have been disappearing from our streets.
Hermès describes its advert, put together by set designer Herve Sauvage, as capturing “the tumult of a street, the energetic bustle of a city.”
“In a fantasy city built of collages, the Spring-Summer 2021 looks stand out with ardour and impetuosity. Graphic elegance, inspired materials… the women’s looks are liberated to roam the streets.”
The Telefón box is only the latest in a series of Irish items to be reinterpreted by the global fashion industry. In 2018, 17-year-old Japanese student-com-street-style-aficionado Ryoki paired a pair of Ralph Lauren chinos with a 2002 Irish soccer jersey.
Shortly after, Irish model Oisin Murphy appeared in the pages of Vogue Paris in a Cushendall, Antrim GAA kit. Last year saw searches for ‘GAA Shorts’ jump 90% in the US, according to Google Trends, no doubt inspired by Sally Rooney’s TV adaptation of Normal People.
Will the haute couture claim the Irish Mammy's fleece jacket next?