I’ve had my suspicions for a while now, but it’s finally time to go public with my very niche fashion theory: that Gigi and Bella Hadid have been unconsciously channelling the style of the cast of ITV’s definitive Noughties melodrama Footballers’ Wives for a while now.
For those in need of a refresher, cast your minds back to 2002. The Wag phenomenon hadn’t quite reached its 2006 apex (best encapsulated in that image of Cheryl Cole, Victoria Beckham and Colleen Rooney watching from the stands in Baden Baden) but was certainly perculating through our collective consciousness when Footballers’ Wives arrived on television. The best-worst show of the Noughties, it centred upon fictional Premier League club Earls Park, dramatising the increasingly bizarre exploits of the players and their wives. Sample storylines included the spontaneous combustion of one wife’s breast implants (we’re guessing the show’s writers took inspiration from Dickens’ Bleak House), a wedding where a page boy sang the definitely not festive, famously wedding appropriate ‘Walking In The Air,’ and an instance where another wife tried to disguise the paternity of a baby by dousing the child in fake tan. We never said it would stand up to rigorous critical analysis.
At the show’s Swarovski-crystalled heart was Tanya Turner, wife of the club’s captain and an iconic chain-smoking schemer habitually decked out in leopard print slip dresses, diamond chokers and high, high ponytails. Sound familiar? That’s because Bella Hadid and, to a certain extent, her older sister Gigi have been playing around with these particular style tropes for the past couple of years.
Yes, the likelihood that the fashion industry’s premier sister act has ever caught a two minute clip of Footballers’ Wives in low resolution, let alone considered Zoe Lucker’s formidable on-screen ‘Tanya’ wardrobe, is doubtful in the extreme: as far as I’m aware, it never landed a US broadcaster (though an NFL remake was briefly mooted but eventually canned). But if anyone is carrying on the show’s style legacy, it’s these two, who’ve almost single (or should that be double?) handedly pioneered a renaissance for the choker and high-pony combo, with Bella deserving a special shout out for her strong work in the field of diamanté slip dresses (see her Cannes red carpet moment in 2016 for a case in point).
After Gigi’s 23rd birthday party last night, we have a couple of new and compelling pieces of evidence for the file. While Gigi chose a gold Versace mini dress with semi-transparent side panels, which we imagine is exactly the sort of thing the FW cast would have worn if the costume budget had stretched to couture rather than Kookai, it’s Bella’s outfit that’s a real (if accidental) tribute to Tanya: a leopard-print slip style dress, with a handkerchief hem and gold embellishment that’s so reminiscent of an actual Footballers’ Wives ensemble (even down to the choice of hairstyle) that we did a double take. Time to crowdfund an LA screening of Footballers' Wives season one__ with a PA from Bella? See you on Kickstarter.