Sunday, September 20, 2009

article | dressing as a statement

Article: Dressing as aStatement 
Current mood: Fashionable
Categories: #fashion #couture #photography #style #lifestyle #6os #activism #styling #fashiondesigner

"Dressing as a statement....
....or why we have some time before the social activism brewing like the sixties actually shows in popular culture....."
by stefan daniel bell | metacouture

originally published on June 5, 2007
couture, art direction, styling by stefan daniel bell

Many people, when they think of the sixties, think of the 'hippies' and their funky, hip, strange clothing. What many forget is that it was a time of radical changes in Fashion. The world, specifically America and Europe were in upheaval. The culture, beliefs and morays were changing and you could/can observe them in all classes, lifestyles, and social circles. Even the most 'conservative'- the non'-hippies' wore clothes that were strangely incongruent. They didn't match. Color became brash and contradictory or unusually intentionally bland. 

Wide lapels that were popular in the late Thirties and mid-Fifties got wider and were matched with strange fitting blazers. The natural progression would usually have been a raising of extravagance. As the lapels of mainstream shirts grew in past Fashion trends would have been matched and complimented by larger, almost fluffy, structured jackets as we saw in the French romantic clothing around the time of Louis XIV. Instead, we saw the wide lapels peaking out and laying flat on flat, boring blazers that were so tight that they looked like they were a size or two too small.

....and the so-called 'Hippies'? They removed the formal but plain, almost mournful black clothing of their older brothers and sisters- the Beatniks, and went ultra-casual. They revealed way more skin than their parents were comfortable with. They took the love of the laborers that they learned from the Beatniks, the Bohemians and raised the bar- they started wearing jeans in public. Jeans. So controversial. Many people forget how radical it was to wear these things around. Created as a fad for miners, cowboys, and workers in the mid to late 1800's, jeans were worn to work, but they would never have been worn to church.

By the late Fourties, bikers and outlaws found them to be the durable shocking thing that matched their black biker jackets to make the ultimate in cultural Fashion intimidation. So the 'Hippies', in my mind trying to impress their Beatnik elders with being 'hip' or 'getting it'- that workers of the world were ignored and mistreated, rediscovered jeans and wore them proudly. Maybe they were just trying to shock their parents, but I think it was deeper than that. Then there was the twist, like the contradiction of wide lapels with the boring blazers- they adopted velvet faux royal coats and accessories as the completion to their outfits. They wore crowns (of flowers), oversized glasses, big rings (made of plastic), and to top it off they adopted the royal crocheted designs of India and Latin America (crafted into plain cuts that were usually not too well fitted) and wore them with a bikini top- or nothing at all underneath.

The 'conservatives' with their wild shirts.

The 'Hippies' or Freaks (as was the term inside the counter culture) with their naked, rebellious styles crafted to appear royal.

The world of Fashion was upside down. It was a reflection of the social unrest.

I now yearn for that. The world is in a new time of change. Our outmoded ways of thinking need to change. I have this opinion that a lifestyle or Fashion statement ceases to be a statement when you can buy it in mainstream stores. The supposedly most radical members of the Sixties got a lot of grief for dressing the way they did. They got beaten up, spit on, thrown out of their family parties. "Hippies" were avoided and reviled by the mainstream. They made their clothes, or had them made for them by friends. They certainly couldn't buy their embroidered jeans off the rack at J. C. Penney's.

It is time for a new leap in Fashion. It is time for the avant garde Fashion designers of the world to embody these new radical ideas and mirror into Fashion a way to show people what is happening. Without Fashion, without Style, my fear is that it is all just a bunch of words.

stefan daniel bell | metacouture
music | fashion | art

1 comment:

  1. Your blog looks fantastic!
    Welcome to the fashion blogosphere!