Shabby chic seems to have been popular for ages. I'm not a follower of fashions, but nobody could possibly miss all those shops selling shabby chic - mostly fake admittedly, but the market seems to be there.
What's it all about, all that painted furniture, mass-produced objets trouvés and hand-crafted imports obviously made in bulk to strict standards?
I don't dislike the style myself, although it can be far too chintzy, but why it is so popular I don't know. As far as I can see, every single town in the UK has at least one shop selling the stuff. Little painted cupboards, chunky glass vases, artificially distressed bits of wood studded with coat hooks, cake stands, imitation baroque mirrors and picture frames, cake tins with fake vintage designs, imitation Victorian boot-scrapers, whole dining suites in painted wood - pastel shades of course.
Uncomfortable metal chairs, folding patio chairs with distressed paintwork, modern copies of Victorian four-legged stools and candlesticks in riotous profusion, often debased versions of older styles - as is so common with shabby chic. Lumpy notebooks with covers made from recycled straw, scented candles and so on and so on. You must have seen hundreds of shops stuffed with it - I certainly have.
What happens when it goes out of fashion though? Does it go genuinely shabby as buyers cling on to their first foray into domestic style, or is it all deeper than mere fashion?
Is shabby chic our way of preparing for the inevitable - the day when shabby becomes a way of life for those of us left outside the charmed circle of political power?
Shabby - but not chic.