It's Delta Week on Noisey Australia! To celebrate the fifteenth anniversary of her seminal debut Innocent Eyes, we'll be running Delta Goodrem-related writing every day. Check out the rest of the series here.
You know the scene from Devil Wears Prada where Meryl Streep explains to Anne Hathaway how the fashion industry works? Big name designer shows something new and interesting on the runway, the trend filters down to the high street, and three seasons later it’s so ubiquitous and basic that you wouldn’t be caught dead in it?
In the context of 2000s Australia, piano-playing singer-songwriter Delta Goodrem is the big name designer. In 2003, she wore a maroon velvet jacket in her music video for 3x Platinum hit “Born To Try.” With the help of what must have been several high-powered wind machines, she looked incredible. Fans noticed, and they wanted in. The Jacket started showing up in Myer and David Jones concessions. The teen market became thirsty for The Jacket, and within months you could buy variations on it from Dangerfield and surf stores. By 2005, you could buy it from Target. To be honest, I still see it around even now. The Jacket, dare I say it, has outlasted Goodrem’s actual music in terms of popularity and reach.
I’ve given at least passing thought to The Jacket once or twice a month for more than a decade. Its sartorial influence is vast. Velvet clothing in general has become tangled up with every key childhood memory I have. Most girls in my friendship group owned The Jacket at some point; mine was peach-coloured, with embroidered flowers on the back. Delta would have approved, for sure. It paired well with anything, but particularly flared jeans and a flirty sleeveless top. Some horrible little boots with oversized buckles, too. A choker would never go astray back then.
It was a look that said “I am a mystical urban princess, a traveller, a musician, a bohemian, someone a little bit different.” It was also a look that said “I am a 12-year-old white girl with long hair, and my middle class parents bought me this outfit from the mall.” The Venn diagram of adult women who own tarot cards and adult women who wore The Jacket at some stage in childhood is just a circle.
The versatility of The Jacket meant it stayed with me as I exited tweenhood and entered my vintage clothing indie phase. But all good popstar-inspired fashion trends must come to an end, and I still remember the sad day I decided to de-velvet my life and remove The Jacket from regular wardrobe rotation. Goodbye to all that, I thought to myself at the time. I am an adult woman now, with little time for frivolous fabric choices.
For a while, it felt like neither The Jacket nor the woman who originally wore it would ever make a mainstream return. But 15 years have passed, Goodrem is back with a banger new single, and yesterday I walked past a co-worker’s desk on my way to the kitchen and stopped in my tracks. There it was, hanging on the back of a chair, its deep rouge velvet unmistakeable. The sleeves were cropped a little, the vibe was less boho and more Melbourne warehouse office. Without a doubt though, it was still The Jacket.
That co-worker thinks they’ve gone to a store and made a choice. They think Delta Goodrem culture has nothing to do with them. They laugh at the fact that Noisey is dedicating an entire week to content about middle Australia’s underappreciated pop princess. They think they’re not a part of this.
Little do they know, that jacket was picked out for them 15 years ago by a room full of Sony execs from a pile full of Supré samples.