SMOKING IS BACK. VEGAN RESTAURANTS ARE STRUGGLING TO SURVIVE. FASHION MONTH WAS BOOZIER THAN EVER. AFTER MORE THAN A DECADE OF WELLNESS MANIA AND SELF-OPTIMISATION, A RAUCOUS ENERGY IS TAKING HOLD –AND IT’S ALL KINDS OF FUN
‘OVER DINNER LAST WEEK, A CREATIVE DIRECTOR WHO WE WORK with said she wants to stage, “the kind of party where people are f*cking in corners”,’ says Sophie Jewes. ‘It’s the kind of brief we live for.’ Jewes is the super-chic co-founder of London-based fashion-communications agency Raven. She’s thrown parties for clients including Adidas, Agent Provocateur and Flannels. ‘People are party-hungry,’ she continues. And who can blame them?
After the pandemic’s years of enforced solitude, followed by a war in Europe and the cost-of-living crisis, a febrile atmosphere has taken hold. Microdosing might be here to stay (and is now a staple in suburban circles) but, more noticeably, the air is filled once more with good, old-fashioned cigarette smoke: Kate Moss, Malia Obama, Lily Rose Depp and even David Hockney – who supposedly set off the fire alarm at the opening of his latest exhibition with his smoking – are back on it. Vegan restaurants are struggling to survive, and brands are pulling their meat-free products as the vegan bubble that health enthusiasts once embraced bursts. Meanwhile, Gwyneth Paltrow, the very beacon of wellness, can’t say anything about her ‘cleaner than thou’ lifestyle now without becoming an instant meme.
We may once have been obsessed with optimising our lives and bodies, but in 2023 the cult of wellness has finally begun to release its grip on culture. ‘I think it’s been happening for a little while,’ says Rina Raphael, author of The Gospel of Wellness: Gyms, Gurus, Goop and the False Promise of Self-Care. ‘Four or five years ago, a new over-hyped product or ingredient launched every single week, and you’d see an influx of ridiculous items like, let’s say, CBD-infused leggings. You really don’t see that as much lately. Commodified wellness that is productivity-focused, pressurised, consumerist and individualistic has fallen out of fashion.’
In place of clean eating, we now have those giant croissants from Philippe Conticini (TikTok has much to answer for) and the performative indulgence of caviar and champagne; in place of #selfcare we now have the distinctly less commodifiable #bedrot (when you luxuriate in a day in bed). From Drumsheds, the 15,000-capacity superclub that opened in north London in October,
to the forthcoming decriminalisation of psychedelics in California and the rise of anti-work ‘lazy girl’ careers, wellness as we’ve known it is out and fun is firmly back on the agenda.
‘Within the hospitality world, people are definitely shifting away from wellness-focused dining in favour of more hedonisti