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Eurovision 2021 was the camp fashion extravaganza we all needed

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The Met Gala called, it wants its wig back

With the Met Ball postponed for the second year running thanks to the virus that needs no introduction, fashion week relegated to digital presentations watched from under editors’ duvets, and a distinct lack of drama on the red carpet at the events that do still go ahead IRL, it’s an understatement to say we’re severely lacking when it comes to full-on fashion fantasy right now. That is, until Saturday night rolled around and the Eurovision Song Contest took over our tellies. 

Roaring back onto screens after a COVID-induced break circa 2020 (truly, the worst year), this time around the contest landed in Rotterdam with a live, screaming, flag-waving audience who got their life

The whole thing was a riot from start to finish, a bumper year in the show’s long and frankly berserk history, full of pyrotechnics, emotional EDM bangers, and exuberant dance routines – but it was the wild, campy fashion that stole the show. After eons spent in hoodies and sweats, the sequins and feathers that Europe’s finest offered up were a joyful antidote to a year of dismal grey-tinged drab.

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First came what we’re taking to be a job lot of Beyoncé’s cast-offs worn one after the other by contestants including Elena Tsagrinou of Cyprus, Albanian contestant Anxhela Peristeri, and our new queen – whether she won or not – Destiny from Malta. Encrusted with crystals and trimmed with beaded fringing, the silver-doused European showgirls were seemingly also doing their bit for the EU economy by single handedly keeping the American tan tights industry in business for at least another four years.

France’s entrant, Barbara Parvi, meanwhile, went for a look that felt like it could have come straight from Maria Grazia’s back catalogue. The runner-up injected a little Gallic chic into proceedings in a simple black corset as she belted out her track “Voilà” – but though she might have looked great, this is Eurovision, darling, and we want more. Giving us exactly that was Serbian entry Hurricane, who served up a touch of Walthamstow Market Mugler to perform their banger “Loco Loco”. 

With studded bodysuits and silver sparkles satiating our need for a touch of the ol’ razzle-dazzle – shimmering orange hosiery aside – things got really fun when the fashion got weird.

Heroes of the night Måneskin, who scooped the top prize and secured the song contest a trip to Italy come 2021, stepped out in a series of glam rock looks that would put Marc Bolan to shame. All lace-up metallic leather, matching skinny scarves, and stacked platform boots, the band turned to Italian label Etro for their looks, which (cue Carrie Bradshaw voice) got us to thinking: how great would it be if more of fashion’s biggest players got involved? 

Perhaps unsurprisingly, given his propensity for the unexpected, Rick Owens invited Estonian Eurovision metallers Winny Puhh to perform at his SS14 show – how good would it have been if he’d kitted out Finland’s entrants Blind Channel in a bunch of signature tunics and wide-shouldered coats? Or Norway’s TIX, who some might argue (okay, I might argue) was Eurovision 2021’s answer to longtime Owens collaborator, Tommy Cash. 

While Italian icons and former X Factor contestants Måneskin may have taken home the crown on the night – getting themselves into a bit of trouble doing what looked like a sneaky line off the table as votes rolled in – there was one clear winner in the style stakes. Step forward Trinity from The Matrix lookalike Kateryna Pavlenko of Go_A, who threw a radioactive green feather and fur jacket over a slick leather catsuit as dancers brandishing ring lights(?!) darted across the stage to careening folk techno bop “Shum” – and to quote Nicki Minaj, I don’t think you understand, I’m obsessed

With everyone else so exuberantly embracing the campery, Brit James Newman’s turn in the spotlight was lacklustre to say the least. Stepping out in a plain leather jacket – sans sequins, sparkles, or a hint of even a chicken feather – the UK’s entrant failed to take home a single point (lol). Yes, everyone probably hates us because of Brexit, but there’s a fashion lesson to be learnt here, too. After the year we’ve had, reader, it’s time to get dolled up – so throw a little glitter on it honey, and go dancing.