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

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