In 2012, on a day that will spawn thousands of memes, Lenny Kravitz bundled up for a grocery run, choosing a scarf as his primary mode of protection from the elements. Why did it spark so much attention — so much, in fact, that we’re still discussing it almost a decade on? It was huge — as in truly gargantuan — and that’s saying something considering Kravitz’s wardrobe is widely composed of oversized scarves. This scarf, though, was bigger than the rest.
“I cannot escape this,” the singer told Jimmy Fallon, of the memes and articles that followed photos of him wearing the scarf, during an appearance on The Tonight Show in 2018. Mostly residing in the Bahamas, Kravitz claimed on the show that he wasn’t used to the cold in New York, where the photos were taken. “I put on a little scarf to protect my throat, and that’s the scarf I had,” he explained, to which Fallon countered: “Lenny, this isn’t a scarf. This is a blanket.” Two years later, the scarf was brought up again, this time during an interview with GQ. When asked if he still owned the scarf, he replied, “Absolutely,” before acknowledging that the scarf was big. In his defence, though, “it was cold.”
The big scarf’s redemption tour began in January, when The Row released its fall ‘21 menswear collection in the form of a lookbook full of big coats, sweaters, and trousers. At the very end, was a photo of a male model wearing a cable knit sweater so oversized, it looked more like a throw knit by your grandma — albeit an expensive one — than a sweater. Around the model’s neck (and perhaps attached to the sweater itself) was a scarf only comparable in size to Kravitz’s own. Just under a week later, a similar scarf-sweater hybrid showed up in Ganni’s lookbook during Copenhagen Fashion Week. Like The Row’s take, Ganni’s iteration was cream, cable knit, and blanketed its model’s entire upper half.
Big scarves continued to show up on runways throughout the month. In New York, Ka Wa Key served up scarves in a myriad of colours, wrapped around the heads, necks, and torsos of its models. In Milan, Kim Jones debuted his first ready-to-wear collection for Fendi, in which he included oversized scarves made of fur and fringe. On Thursday, Rick Owens gave the trend his stamp of approval at his fall ‘21 show during Paris Fashion Week, which included puffer takes on the scarf in mauve and army green. With that, Kravitz’s scarf is now a runway success. It only took nine years and countless memes to get there.
Oversized scarves have long held a place in our winter wardrobes, but the scarf selection for next fall isn’t just big — it’s huge.
Maybe by then, it will be cold enough for Kravitz to bring back his scarf.
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