Thursday, January 12, 2012

Back to the Future Fashion?

Some photographs, one is shown at left, from fashion designer Jil Sander's ad campaign for spring/summer 2012 rang a bell in my memory bank. More than one bell, in fact.

The bell ringing nearest the surface: early 1960s fashions in Mad Men, the TV series we're in the midst of watching on DVD. See below....Christina Hencricks as Joan; and full cast.

Deeper down a bell rang reminding me of a post from the past which had touched on a possible resurgence of 1960s fashions. A little digging revealed a post of mine from 2008, an extract follows.

Deepest-seated ringing bell of all: my own experiece of 1960s fashions.

Back in 2008 I'd spotted an article by Judy Licht: "The Frill of It All" . The writer had seen hints of an upcoming trend in fashion harking back to the 1950s and 60s.

"Another Fashion Week here in New York, another frenzy. But hidden in all the hairspray, hubbub and hilarious air kisses are clues not only to what we'll be wearing next season, but what that says about us as a society right now, what we're feeling, and where we may be heading. Fashion historians have long known that clothes are just as accurate a barometer of the culture for which they're created as any political or literary histories.........

Everybody is craving comfort clothes....... the kind that reminds everyone of the late fifties and the early sixties, the last time, it seems, when everything was truly right with the world. The last age of innocence.

With an economy that seems scary, but still a bit of an enigma; an election that for the first time in decades seems to be providing an unknown factor (i.e., choices), everyone wants it to be simple again. ..................... great trilby hats and slim single breasted suits for men..they've embraced the sheaths, the full skirts, swing coats and sweaters that screamed oh so subtle under-the-girdled-sex, for-women."

"Sweaters and under-the-girdled sex", said Judy Licht...she obviously hasn't experienced the reality, which had more in common with suits of armour and chastity belts!

Well now, that article appeared just before the 2008 election, after eight years of Republican rule with George W. Bush at the helm. Here we are, four years on, another election year, this one seeming not to offer the "choices" Ms Licht had noted in 2008. Are we seeing another hint of a yen for early 1960s fashions? We could still be wanting to be reminded of (as Ms Licht put it) "the last time when everything was truly right with the world". I see that as questionable in respect of the 1960s - but I do understand what she was getting at.

Any re-birth of circular skirts with stiff petticoats, or the hobbling sheaths and too-tight pencil skirts which required contortionist-like skills for the wearer to be able to sit down at all, nevermind elegantly, will not be greeted with open arms by 2012's "woman in the street". Matching shoes, gloves and handbag? Not a chance! Comfort clothes? Trust me, I'm old enough to know from bitter experience that those were not comfort clothes! Your friendly neighbourhood blogger, at right, in the early 1960s, in Rome, remaining as comfortable as I could manage. I did possess a couple of those "poured-into" dresses, but photographs have not survived.

Back to astrology ~~~ In 2008 I wrote:

Two of the outer planets, thought to influence the collective: Uranus (change, inventiveness, novelty) and Neptune (imagination, creativity, dreams) - correspond with the ingredients involved in fashion trends.

Using tropical zodiac, and covering the period mentioned in Judy Licht's article: from early 1950s to 1956 Uranus was in Cancer, Neptune in Libra. From 1957 to 1962 Uranus was in Leo, Neptune in Scorpio.

The 1950s followed a decade of grinding restrictions affecting almost everything, including clothing in Europe and, to a lesser extent in the USA. In Britain people were allocated "clothing coupons" a form of rationing. When World War 2 was over, the fashion industry re-grouped, and by 1950 it seemed like party-time for them. Uranus moving from comfortable, homely Cancer into more extrovert and showy Leo, and Neptune slipping from elegant Libra to passionate Scorpio heralded some style changes during the later part of the period in question.

Circular skirts and easy little dresses, (a la Doris Day) characterise the easy, homely "apple-pie" phase, of Cancer/Libra, followed by Audrey Hepburn's and Jackie Kennedy's sleeker, more sophisticated looks during the phase of Leo/Scorpio.

Now, in 2012, Uranus is in Aries and Neptune in the last reaches of Aquarius, ready to move into Pisces. The atmosphere is somewhat different from the way it was in 2008 - when I wrote:

I'm surprised that fashion needs to look backward for inspiration during this astrological atmosphere. Neptune and Aquarius in mutual reception (in each other's ruling sign) ought to be breeding creativity of the highest kind. Why would fashionistas want to look back to this era? It's a mystery......I suspect it will be a short-lived affair

A trend wasn't established in 2008. Maybe the election of Barack Obama to the presidency blew away all need for "comfort clothes". With benefit of knowing that President Obama's reign has not been startlingly different from that of his predecessor, will a yen for the 1960s catch on in 2012?

I'd not be surprised to see a return to longer skirt lengths. Neptune in Pisces might bring on some pangs of nostalgia, if nostalgia can be experienced by those whose memories don't reach far enough back to recall the originals. I cannot see young women nowadays willingly wearing the kind of foundation garments needed to make 1960s fashions look the way they did then, but we might possibly be about to see a return to generally more graceful styles.


Vanilla Rose said...

Corsets are quite fashionable, along with other burlesque type items.

Twilight said...

Vanilla Rose ~~~ Ah, you mean the tight bodice laced top - it's a kind of corset, I guess. Yes. I've seen those in evening "dress-up" situations (on TV not in real life though).

The corsets of real life, such as our parents/grandparents wore every day were something else entirely! YIKES! It was only the development of lycra, spandex and other types of elasticated nylon materials that brought slight improvement and did away with the need for bones and laces.

Vanilla Rose said...

I think that both the corset top and the real "boned" corset have their fans. A friend of mine is quite fond of the latter type, but assures me that metal "bones" are more comfortable than they sound. Of course, it would be much less fun being expected to wear them.

Twilight said...

Vanilla Rose ~~ Bones and wires drove me nuts- can't even stand the relatively gentle wired bra these days. Your friend is a brave woman! ;-)

Diane L said...

Girdles . . . **shudder** I'm old enough to remember wearing them occasionally in high school. My mother's favorite threat if I didn't stand up straight & hold my tummy in was I was going to have to wear a girdle. Horrible, horrible torture devices. I'm with you on wired undergarments. :-)

Twilight said...

Diane L ~~ Hi! Yes! The girdle - I'd forgotten that term. Another rerm, the "roll-on" came to mind as well. It was, I recall, the first non-boned foundation contraption available. there was great difficulty getting into the darned thing - easy to slip a disc on a cold morning! Still, I've managed to almost do that just putting on tights.


Rossa said...

In the UK we're just coming out of the craze for the maxi dress but not sure where 2012 will take us. In fashion you can buy clothes from all past decades so apart from designer stuff there's no one look that is everywhere.

There's a bit of a return to the shoulder pad era of the 80s though. Joan Collins and Stephanie Beacham are reprising their Dynasty/The Colbys days in an ad for Snickers, the peanut filled chocolate bar. (Can't remember what it's called in the US).

With Dallas coming back on TV, if it is a success, maybe Dynasty will be next. So not just repeats on TV, remakes look like being a trend for the year.

Twilight said...

Rossa ~~~ That's interesting! Maxi-dresses! I'd not have seen that coming, though I loved the look first time around. Shoulder pads - not so much - I used to rip them out before wearing anything with those attached.

We're isolated from fashion of any kind here in small town deepest Oklahoma. We wear jeans, tee shirts, shirts, jackets - and occasionally trousers or shorts 90% of the time. Fashion doesn't exist here, except perhaps the fashion for tattoos. So my post had to be highly speculative; and due to the vast size of this country it's unlikely that any given fad or tend would hit nation-wide.

Twilight said...

should be "trend"