Thursday, July 30, 2009

80s fashion redux, part 4: The Japantheon

At first it may seem as if Japanese designers have receded somewhat, with Kenzo and Miyake retiring in 1999 (although their houses remain, under new designers) and Matsudo dying in 2008. The startling modernity of the Japantheon of designers is no longer so surprising, and therein lies its lasting influence: Large volumes, layering, asymmetry, artful folds (how many times have you heard "origami" in a description of modern clothing?), androgyny, and interesting and innovative fabrics now seem to be part of the global fashion vocabulary at least in part due to the impact of these designers.

Originally posted April 16, 2006:

Many think of 80s style as being ultimately romantic, with Princess Diana's wedding gown the icon of the era. In this context, the most surprising, refreshing, and least romantic clothing came from JAPANESE designers, with asymmetry, unusual colors, origami-like folds, and abstract shapes giving the wearer a look bordering on kinetic modern sculpture.

The Japantheon included Issey Miyake, Rei Kawakubo for Comme des Garcons, Yohji Yamamoto, Matsuda and Kenzo.

Issey Miyake in the late 80s

Matsuda, mid 80s

Yamamoto, mid 80s

Kawakubo in the late 80s or early 90s

Update July 31, 2009:

Checking in with the Japanese designers, I was pleased to see Issey Miyake's legacy supported by the fabric innovations, layering and volumes employed by Dai Fujiwara at Miyake.

I found Rei Kawakubo for Comme des Garcons thought-provoking, and a little disturbing, with diaphanous cocooning and military greens. I do think she made some pretty and interestingly-cut coats.

Yamamoto is still in the business of creating asymmetrical clothing in his dark palate:

If Japanese designers influenced fashion in the 70s and 80s, and if that influence can now be seen in many designers' work, then a slight trade balancing might be seen in the ebullient work of Yamamoto's daughter, Limi Feu. There's her father's (non) color palate, the volume and the androgyny, but there is also a new feeling of fun in playing with historical elements from around the world.

Monday, July 27, 2009

80s fashion redux, part 3: Humor

(In case you haven't read my recent posts, I have been struck by 80s influences while sifting through recent fashion trends, and am reposting my series of blogs about 1980s fashion originally posted in 2006, along with some updates. I started here.)

By the mid 1980s, prosperity (along with, frankly, materialism) may have helped drive a sense of fun in fashion that is almost unparalleled.

Will we develop a collective sense of humor in our style again soon? I think so, if the human need for escapism is still valid. Why else did we watch Busby Berkeley films in the 30s? Fashion does not live by bread-earning alone.

Originally posted April 13, 2006:

Out of alphabetical order here because in many ways Gaultier symbolizes and summarizes other 80s trends while pointing to the 90s. He gets the last word.

HUMOR As in the 1950s, the 80s were just manicured and fashionable enough to allow humor. In the Depression and War years fashion was molded (and often made more beautiful) by the constraints imposed by rationing and lack of materials. Humor would be over the top in that atmosphere. In the 80s, as in the 50s, there was room for a laugh in personal appearance, even in exquisitely made designer clothing. Francisco Moschino was the great master of whimsy in my book (last two photos).

Scarf by Steven Jones for Claude Montana. Shoe by Comme des Garcons by Rei Kawakubo

Outfit by Bazar de Christian Lacroix. Paper hat by Tracy Watts

Update July 28, 2009:

I recently showed off Eric Tibusch's shoe ornament:

For fall 2009 Alexander McQueen displayed a sort of post-fashion gallows humor, as if he had become disenchanted with the forward glance and wanted to pick through the past instead. Still, I had to smile at his umbrella hat (his tires and hubcaps were a bit too much for me, as were his models' overdrawn lips)

If I had to choose a design team displaying a jolly sense of humor without letting the joke overwhelm the clothing, it would be Dolce & Gabbana for fall 2009. Perhaps they wanted to forget the deep recession and the pain from which the high fashion industry suffers, and they would not be unprecedented. The 30s certainly had a heroine of wit in Elsa Schiapperelli, and her influence can be seen in various aspects of D & G's collection (along with the shoe hat of Eric Tibusch).

(Note the gloves scarf)

Outsized photo print of Marilyn Monroe

Saturday, July 25, 2009

80s fashion redux, part 2: Business clothing

Right now is a fine time to polish up one's work wardrobe, with so much competition for none too many jobs, along with fears over losing one's job. Unlike in the 1980s, the high percentage of women in the workforce is nothing new. Now we just need to get and keep jobs, and work on the 73-cents-on-the-dollar pay imbalance with men.

Originally posted April 10, 2006:

BUSINESS Although high fashion magazines didn't dwell on business fashion (some would call it anti-fashion), they couldn't completely ignore the throngs of women in the work force...more than ever before in history. Here are some wonderfully accessorized takes on male dress, work wear and traditional clothing. As you can see, if it is from the 80s, it quite likely has polka dots or stripes!

Skirt and jacket by Agnes B.
Dress by Valentino Miss V. Glasses, Anglo American Eyewear

Update July 25, 2009:

For fall 2009, designers produced a surprising number of outfits that would not look out of place getting off the subway at Lexington Avenue and heading into an office building for work. Donna Karan stands out for going back to her 80s roots with plenty of chicly powerful business suits:

At Prada, Miuccia Prada showed some particularly fetching and classic tweeds. See, they're even carrying briefcases!

A briefcase is also in the hand of a runway model in Bottega Veneta leather:

If all these seem a bit somber as compared to our sisters in the 80s, there's always Chanel...

Thursday, July 23, 2009

80s fashion redux

This is an 80s moment in fashion.

It has been coming for some time: First there was a shoulder pad or two, then some neon brights and outgoing prints. Now, for fall 2009, there is a veritable cavalcade of designers working with 80s themes. Of course, designers working in the 80s successfully mined previous eras' themes too, so even in that sense the 80s helped set the stage for current trends.

At the beginning of the 80s we were coming out of a recession and there seemed to be twin needs for classic quality and ebullient excess. Likewise, we are starting to see the first glimmer of light at the end of our current recessionary tunnel. Designers seem torn between responding to a woman's need to get and keep work, with quality work-worthy wear, and society's need to just forget about it all for a little while in a flight of sartorial fancy.

Gaultier for Hermès, 2009 and Louis Dell'Olio for Anne Klein II, 1986

80s Lacroix and 2009 Marc Jacobs

Several years ago I showed some of my clippings from the 80s and described my favorite trends of the 80s. Some of these are so relevant now that I am compelled to repost these, hoping not too many current readers of my blog will have already seen these.

I am adding a few new notes and photos to my previous posts.

Starting with my post of April 8, 2006:

I want to show you some images that I clipped as favorites in the 1980s, almost all from Elle Magazine, which had a heyday in the 80s. The black and white images are from the inspiring book Vogue Modern Style - How to Achieve It by Charlotte Du Cann, 1988.

I sorted my clippings into these topics, to be covered slowly but surely:

The Emergence of Gaultier
Japanese style
Non-traditional beauty
Outgoing jewelry
Vintage inspirations

ATHLETICISM was the look of well-exercised models, exuding health and fitness, even power. There was a huge uptick in stretch fabric development and use, lending an athletic fit to so many garments. Athletic looks were mixed with traditional clothing in eclectic combinations. Sporty stripes were everywhere, as were leggings and stretch pants.

July 23, 2009:

I'm sure we've all witnessed the return of leggings over the past several years, and for fall, many designers are leaning on, well, lean. A particularly 80s feel is achieved by Alexander Wang in his Ready-to-Wear collection, such as with this outfit's geared-up narrow pants and bolero jacket.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Heels over head: The shoe hat returns

Shoes have reached new heights again, approximately 5'11", atop the heads of models in the Paris 2009-10 Haute Couture show of Eric Tibusch.

Ah, nostalgia.

In 1937-38, Elsa Schiaparelli, in collaboration with Salvador Dalí, created a shoe hat that has surprised and bemused ever since.

A shoe hat also makes a most appropriate appearance on a surreal character in Terry Gilliam's movie Brazil (1985):

I tip my hat, er, shoe to Eric Tibusch's nod to the proud surrealist tradition...

...or might that be an oxymoron?

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Shop for good, vintage style

Usually in December I highlight a cause that I want to support by selling a certain percentage of my listings for that cause. Right now, I can't go so far as to take a month to do this as My Own Cause is a little needy too. But then this weekend I heard that food banks are in dire straits right now, and I know there isn't much to give for many of us, businesses and individuals alike. Many causes are hurting. Maybe if we all threw in a little, it would make a real impact.

I'll start: I have an early 50s silk dress on eBay, with an opening bid of $19.00, and 25% of the end price will go to Feeding America, which is a reliably top-notch charity. Their mission is to feed America's hungry through a nationwide network of member food banks. Each year, the Feeding America network provides food assistance to more than 25 million low-income people facing hunger in the United States, including more than 9 million children and nearly 3 million seniors.

See the dress here.

A seller that has turned to selling for her local animal rescue organization is Fuzzy Lizzie. Lizzie is among the all-time greats of online vintage sellers, I can absolutely vouch for her integrity and knowledge. Even better, 100% of the proceeds from her Etsy store will benefit her local animal rescue organization, sargeandfriends. A few of her extremely well-priced and cute vintage items:

Etsy: Your place to buy & sell all things handmade

Checking over on eBay, I discovered a great vintage eyeglass vendor michael10730 with several listings benefiting Dogs Deserve Better. Who wouldn't want these 1950s aluminum frames, (starting bid $15.50, and shipping is free) especially if a wagging tail goes with them?

Some of us can help by selling, some of us can help by buying, but I figure it takes a lot of people doing a little to make up for the shortfall from which virtually every cause is suffering.

Saturday, July 4, 2009

Toward a more perfect union

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.

Happy 233rd birthday, United States of America! Let's keep working on this great country!

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Go fishin' for vintage!

Catch some great vintage at denisebrain! I'm always reeling in something great for you, so stop by denisebrain and get hooked!
And to get inspired, please watch my monthly promo Go fishing