Backstage With the Designer Who Made Selena Gomez’s “UGLY” Barrette


Ashley Williams - Backstage - LFW September 2018

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Earlier this week, Selena Gomez stepped out in a bejeweled barrette. Encrusted with white rhinestones, it was glamorous, glittery, and the subject of much discussion. After all, it said UGLY in giant gleaming letters.

Selena Gomez Ugly Barrette

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The accessory was by the London designer Ashley Williams, and it served as a shiny clap-back to online trolls, including Stefano Gabbana, who wrote “she’s so ugly” on an Instagram spread of Ms. Gomez. (In the words of another famous troll: “Sad!”)

Ashley Williams - Backstage - LFW September 2018

Georgia May Jagger in WITCH and DEVIL barrettes by Ashley Williams.

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The barrette went viral, landing on blogs and newspapers worldwide… and now, there are even more. This Friday at London Fashion Week, Williams rolled out a pile of new bon mot barrettes, worn by models like Georgia May Jagger in straight-up spiked ponytails that looked, from the side, like unicorns.

Ashley Williams - Backstage - LFW September 2018

Unicorn or London Fashion Week model?

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New phrases included choice resistance words like JUSTICE, WOMAN, FEAR, TECH and OZONE, along with ex-bashing insults like PSYCHO, WITCH, MENTAL, CRAZY, and DAMAGED. (For good measure, there were some Romeo + Juliet throwbacks, too, including ANGEL, DEVIL, and VIRGIN.)

Ashley Williams - Runway - LFW September 2018

A standout dress from Ashley Williams S/S 2019.

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But if Gomez wants to swap out one message for another, there are two she might enjoy: RELAX, because everyone should just chill instead of attacking girls online, or HAPPY, because that’s what every girl deserves to be. (She could also do WIZARD because of her OG Disney role, but that might be a little too on-the-nose.)

Ashley Williams - Backstage - LFW September 2018

Nu Rave Retirees backstage at Ashley Williams.

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As for the rest of Williams’ collection, Gomez—or any woman with a mandate for fun—would look cool in most of the runway looks, especially a sheer black burnout dress and a shiny silk party frock with satin tie-dye trim. But the street style standout was definitely a pink fleece jacket, shaggy and stamped with black zebra stripes. It was like Patagonia and Versace had a cozy oversized love child, and there’s only one word for that: DIBS!

Ashley Williams - Runway - LFW September 2018

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