Buttons are one of those small, magical things. Like chestnuts that fall from the trees in autumn and of which you put one in your pocket every year. As a lucky charm, which you can lose at any time, just like a button. For the button there is needle and thread. It can be sewn back on. A proverb warns that you should never do this with your clothes on. Otherwise, there is a risk of trouble.

Out of respect for his powers, it is therefore necessary to ask: How is he, the button? In the trend lists, it usually appears on the sidelines. The French "Vogue" has mentioned him in preparation for the warmer season. Care should be taken to button and unbutton the buttoned shirt in the right places. Nice and strict at the neck, and open the buttons at the latest from the level of the navel. Just like on stage: curtain up, the body is coming!

Buttons not only decorate, they also tell

The cooperation of the buttons is also required for the second current recommendation, the now sour and conservative French Tuck. The last three or four buttons are open, so that part of the shirt can be tucked into the jeans, while the other half flutters around openly. Half inside, half outside.

Oh, the small, pretty, serviceable button that is called a detail of fashion, often without saying that without it a world would be lost. Christian Dior knew that the detail was as important as the core of the matter: "If it's unfortunate, it ruins everything." This quote appears as a dedication in a book about the history of buttons.

In it, one learns how each era produces its own buttons and how the formative attitudes and events of an era are reflected in the motifs, behind-glass paintings, portraits and engravings of the buttons. Buttons not only decorate, they also tell. What would Monsieur Dior have said about the missing button on Kurt Cobain's cardigan?

The nineties were a button-poor decade

A mohair acrylic cardigan with a five-button placket that sold at auction in New York in 2019 for a record $334,000. As I said, one of the buttons is missing. The same is true of the $87,000 velvet jacket that Cobain wore on stage in Seattle in December 1993, which gave him an almost chivalrous charisma with its shimmering brass buttons. The fact that there are buttons to close seemed completely absurd in connection with Cobain.

The nineties have been a youthfully haughty decade with no buttons. T-shirts, sweaters, cardigans wrapped themselves like a fluid around the body, which was constantly flirting with its own disappearance.

In the meantime, the buttons are no longer missing. However, they are not particularly numerous. Clean-chic and body-show-pleasure have a limited repertoire of tasks for him. But thanks to fashion, there are always more ambitious constellations.

Dries Van Noten, for example, presents a black coat for this spring, which draws attention to itself with three brass buttons. Each of the buttons is different. Immediately, the imagination feels stimulated to say something about it. Couldn't the coat with these buttons lead a secret life, independent of the person who wears it?