The Regencycore subculture is ripe for retailers to capitalize on, infusing nostalgia, escapism and the well-established Vintage Femme theme.
Move over Cottagecore and Dark Academia, Regencycore is the latest subculture on the block and it’s here to save your trend assortment. The trend holds longevity thanks to recent celebrity backing and the confirmation of the second season of Bridgerton. It offers commercial scope for both occasion and casual ranges from apparel to accessories and also has opportunities within the homeware market.
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The Bridgerton effect
Regency romp Bridgerton has propelled the subculture into popularity, with Netflix confirming the series as its most-watched to date after it was streamed by 82 million households worldwide. Following the confirmation of a second series, the hype around the show is yet to die down, cementing the longevity of Regencycore. Other influences from the small screen include Netflix’s The Crown, which spotlights style icon Princess Diana, and Hulu’s satirical period drama, The Great.
It embodies the Vintage Femme theme
The Vintage Femme story aligns with the subculture’s aesthetic. They champion a similar style, including ultra-feminine looks, cinched waists and vintage prints. Femme looks have continued to rule the runway in the recent Pre-Fall 2021 and Haute Couture collections at notable designers including Erdem, Dior and Fendi.
It offers consumers nostalgia & escapism
Nostalgia is a long-established retail trend and has become more paramount over the past year as consumers look to bygone eras as a form of escapism. The Regency era (1811 – 1820) serves as a fresh source of inspiration, with period dramas giving further weight to the aesthetic – the film adaptation of Jane Austin’s Emma celebrates its 25th anniversary this year. When we see a more normal occasion season resume, the trend’s fantastical and dressing-up elements will be even more important.
An evolution of Cottagecore
Regencycore is Cottagecore’s dressier counterpart. The regal-inspired trend has similar roots to the outdoors-centric subculture that dominated across 2020 – both embrace the British countryside, whimsical dresses and fresh-faced looks. Keep tabs on developments to the theme as it progresses and serves as a key update to Cottagecore looks.
Its impact so far
1. It’s taken off on TikTok
Cosplay and fashion history is a growing trend on the social platform, seeing users dress up in their favorite periods. While more recent decades like the 60s and 70s are also encompassed, the Regency era has proven especially popular since the release of Bridgerton.
2. Celebrities are getting on board
Bella Hadid has been a recent champion of the glove trend, ranging from playful Bernie Sanders-inspired mittens to glamorous opera gloves layered with diamond jewelry at Haute Couture week. Elsewhere, it girl Daisy Edgar-Jones has endorsed H&M’s latest collaboration with Simone Rocha, starring in campaign photos wearing pearls and Regency-inspired pieces.
3. Consumer interest has piqued
Across platforms, Regency-related search terms have risen dramatically. On Pinterest, interest in corsets is steadily climbing, while searches for 1800s fashion and Regency dresses peaked in January. Lyst has also reported a spike in searches for corsets (+123%), pearl and feather headbands (+49%), long gloves (+23%) and empire line dresses (+93%).
4. H&M is collaborating with Simone Rocha
The high street giant’s latest collaboration is due to drop on March 11th. A collection rich with the designer’s signature nostalgic silhouettes and feminine detailing, the partnership will bring Regencycore to the masses, and is already garnering plenty of hype online.
How to invest
Apparel: premium blend cardigans • turtlenecks • check/tweed boxy blazers • argyle sweaters • crisp white shirts • high-waisted straight leg denim • neutral & classic hues • midi dresses & skirts • jodhpurs
Footwear & accessories: wellington boots • Mary Janes • ballet flats • baker boy caps • berets • top handle bags • pendants • pearl jewelry
Inspiration: Princess Diana • The Crown
Apparel: corsets • empire line midi & maxi dresses • pastel hues • petticoats • square necklines • capped puff sleeves
Footwear & accessories: embellished heels & flats • heeled mules • evening gloves • embellished/pearl/feathered headbands • pearl jewelry • crystal drop earrings • vintage-inspired bags
Inspiration: Bridgerton • Cottagecore • Classic period dramas – Emma, Pride & Prejudice, Sense & Sensibility, Jane Eyre
Regency-inspired looks tie into the natural beauty trend so popular among Gen-Z, centering on strong brows, softly rouged lips and cheeks and a radiant complexion. Multi-purpose products work well here – natural-toned lipsticks can be promoted to double up as matching cream blush. More playful options include the curled micro fringe worn by Daphne Bridgerton and beauty moles, which can be created with freckle pencils.
This trend is not limited to apparel and beauty. Etsy has reported that Regency-style tea trays, vintage cocktail glasses and mirrors have seen interest increase by approximately 100%, signaling a real opportunity within the homeware space. Antique effect mirrors, satin soft furnishings, jacquard patterns and pastel colorways such as Wedgewood Blue are key trends that will translate well to the mass market.
The designers to know
Shrimps Fall 2020
The label embraced the Vintage Femme and Regency aesthetic last fall, manifested through pearl necklaces, beaded mini bags, statement collar and neckline dresses and corsets. Not just limited to softer shades, the collection was awash with neon pinks and royal blues.
Simone Rocha Spring 2021
As aforementioned, the designer is known for nostalgic silhouettes and feminine detailing, which were plentiful on the SS21 runway. Outerwear and dresses had voluminous silhouettes, and the color palette spanned soft pastels, champagne gold and deep reds. Playful details included jewel and pearl trims, while beaded bralettes offered a contemporary twist.
Erdem Pre-Fall 2021
The London designer’s range was brimming with nods to regal fashion. Pieces included jeweled headbands and chokers, beaded ladylike handbags and puff sleeve mini and maxi dresses. Fluffy cardigans and preppy V-neck sweaters evoked a casual side to the trend.
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Contributions by Aoife Byrne and Katharine Carter.