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Unlikely Style Icon: Eddie Monsoon

Jennifer Saunders and Joanna Lumley as Eddie Monsoon and Patsy Stone in BBC TV series Absolutely Fabulous

There are many reasons to love Eddie Monsoon – her commitment to a life of fun, her enduring and affectionate (if odd) friendship with Patsy, her great taste in kitchens, her absolute lack of shame in barging up to celebrities and introducing herself.

Sure, there’s a question mark over her moral compass, and the way she treats her family is erratic at best, but the charismatic character inhabited by actress Jennifer Saunders turned the television show Absolutely Fabulous into one of television’s most beloved comedies.

Jennifer Saunders as Eddie Monsoon in Absolutely Fabulous

If the three special episodes screened this year weren’t quite as sharp or ambitious as those in the series’ Nineties heyday, they did still remind us quite how hilarious this satirical take on the fashion industry once was.

Fashion is the key word there – for fabulous as Eddie might have been, her wardrobe was never something that viewers coveted quite as much as the piles of money that her PR job seemed to accumulate. In fact, the show’s most consistent running joke was about her total lack of taste when it came to clothes.

Jennifer Saunders as Eddie Monsoon in Absolutely Fabulous which ran sporadically from 1992 to this year

But now the tables appear to have turned. In one classic episode Eddie adopts a 3rd world baby as a fashion statement –met by howls of laughter at the time because of how ludicrous and over the top it seemed. Yet fast forward twenty years and everyone from Angelina Jolie and Madonna to Charlize Theron has done just that. Eddie was ahead of her time on that one, and judging by this season’s catwalks, it looks like she could have been ahead of her time on sartorial matters too.

There was so much rainbow-hued fur on the Milan runways that Fashion Week could have easily been mistaken for a very chic Muppets convention. Bright, wacky, fluffy coats that Edina would have thrown on with glee made appearances at Armani, Moschino Cheap and Chic and Fendi amongst others.

Blumarine A/W 12 and House of Holland A/W 12

But perhaps the most enthusiastic adopter of that signature Monsoon look was Blumarine, where designer Anna Molinari sent out a procession of eye-catching pieces in a Beanie Baby palette, among their number an eye-wateringly tight metallic ensemble that could have been lifted right out of Eddie’s wardrobe had it not fitted the willowy model quite so well.

Blumarine A/W 12

Bold patterns and clashing colours form the cornerstone of this look, with Eddie often breaking the rule that a loud pattern ought not to be worn top to toe. The playful prettiness of House of Holland’s candy hued dogstooth trouser-suit proves she might have been onto something.

Over-sizing, one of A/W 12’s most significant trends, was also featured regularly in Ab Fab, usually because Eddie was trying to cover up a failed attempt at another crash diet, but asAcneand their roomy coats proved – it works just as well as a stylistic choice.

Acne A/W 12

A love of gaudy, outlandish accessories is something Ms Monsoon has in common with Marc Jacobs – from the furry, floppy hats to the large gilt buckled shoes, the American designer’s main line was dripping in Nineties excess.

Marc Jacobs A/W 12

And it looks like Eddie’s influence extends to menswear too – a red jacket with black leather sleeves she once wore appeared in almost identical (though reversed) form at Maison Martin Margiela.

Eddie Monsoon and Maison Martin Margiela A/W 12

And we’re sure the lady herself would be thrilled, after god knows how many years in the romantic doldrums, it seems she is finally a hit with the boys. Sort of.

by Hollie Moat

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