January 31, 2008

"I’m thrilled that Grace Kelly is being talked about in fashion circles...."

"... absolutely without irony." (David Wolfe, fashion forecaster.)

So fashion is suddenly getting very conservative. What does it mean?

"There is an energy about being proper. It’s not about wholesomeness, it’s about respectability, about having manners again." (Thakoon Panichgul, designer.)

24 comments:

Paddy O. said...

Children are always rebellious against their parents generation. Especially when it doesn't work like their parents expected and different problems are caused, causing kids to look for yet different responses.

Fashion is an expression of the soul.

Bissage said...

No “feminism” label?

rhhardin said...

Women are such slaves to fashion.

I recommend Bermudas and to hell with it.

George said...

People are literally tightening their belts because of the economy.

Pogo said...

1. "Unlike previous portrayals of the late ’50s and early ’60s as a time of unalloyed optimism, fashion’s latest embrace of the past appears to reflect the nation’s darkening mood."

A time of unalloyed optimism? Only if your history was learnt from magazine ads. People were pretty nervous. Communism was on the rise and kids were being taught to duck and cover in school to escape the atomic blast. Civil rights was becoming a contentious issue.

The economy had turned sharply downward in the summer of 1957 and reached its low point in the spring of 1958. Industrial production fell 14%, corporate profits plummeted 25% and unemployment rose to 7.5%. By 1958, the Eisenhower Recession was worldwide, prices were rising, and the Democrats were elected in a rout, including young John Kennedy in his second term.

2. Optimism doesn't lead to conservative clothing.

3. "the nation’s darkening mood."
At the NYTimes, the nation’s mood has been darkening since 2000, about the time their sales began to tank. Anyway, what a stupid conclusion.

Middle Class Guy said...

rhhardin said...
I recommend Bermudas and to hell with it.



Little tough when the temp is in the teens.

rhhardin said...

Wear sweatpants over the Bermudas. Any bicyclist knows that. 39F is about the lowest for bare bicyclist knees in the wind.

Superdad said...

I like it. But I think it is a reaction to the Britney, Paris, Nicole Richie skank/slut inspired fashion, which I hope is on the way out.

Dust Bunny Queen said...

Most likely a reaction to the tanking clothing sales. Women who work and who are older than 16 refused to buy the butt ugly fashions (there is a misnomer) that were being foisted on them. A quiet rebellion.

Ugly colors, pregnacy looking tops, flimsy fabrics and just basically unflattering looks. No thanks.

knoxwhirled said...

I love the idea that fashion might take a turn away from the slut look for a while. We've been stuck in the age of J Lo/Britney/Paris for way too long now.

With that said, that NYT article is so predictable. There is this weird prevailing wisdom in pop culture that the 50s was this naively happy-go-lucky time; yet there's also the pervasive "dark side of the suburbs" theme: see "American Beauty" "The Ice Storm" "Sex, Lies and Videotape" "Mad Men" ...or about a hundred other examples that inexplicably win all sorts of accolades.

Its a tired revisionist history invented by the Boomers to make it seem like everything sucked before they came along. The article's use of the word "bourgeois" says it all.

[ Sorry but I just have to add that I really, really, really hate the movie "American Beauty" ... horribly cliched and full of ridiculously contrived situations. ]

Roger said...

does this mean no more bare midriffs--down to the nether regions even--, exposed navels, and womens undergarmets quite apparent in the rear view? if so, I am totally against any move to conservative clothing.

Pogo said...

I really, really, really hate the movie "American Beauty"

Hear, hear!!

Roger said...

Chanelling Elaine Benes, was it worse than the English Patient?

Pastafarian said...

I think the styles from the 40's, and 50's are very sexy, and "grown up". The whole conservative look always kinda makes you wonder what was going on underneath. What's the big mystery if you're half naked? And let's face it most people shouldn't walk around looking like Britney Spears. Even Britney Spears.

former law student said...

Fashion goes in cycles, duh. And while I will miss the lavish display of cleavage, I will look forward to a renewed emphasis on shapely legs.

Balfegor said...

I think the styles from the 40's, and 50's are very sexy, and "grown up".

I prefer the late 1890's myself. '98 or '99 or so. Actually, the styles from the late 1890's right up until the War are in general quite attractive. There's a certain sportiness, you know?

rcocean said...

Grace Kelly is mentioned -but NO PICTURES. Talk about bait and switch.

George said...

Also means hemlines are coming down, along with the economy....

ricpic said...

Grace Kelly had tremendous sex appeal. It just wasn't blatant.

Adrian said...

amen, knoxwhirled, and don't forget Pleasantville! ugh.

my senior english class in high school spent weeks, weeks i tell you, on American Beauty. We all had to buy the dvd and watch it over and over, including one group viewing with the prof snapping his fingers to point out each oh-so-profound symbol. i hate that movie so much. why is it that blatantly obvious, contrived, cliched movies like that (and, almost as bad, coming soon to a miniseries near you, Crash) win such praise?

Speaking of Grace Kelly's fashion, I was watching To Catch a Thief the other day, and there's this inadvertently funny moment when she changes from a wet bathing suit with wet hair into an impeccable, gorgeous dress with a beautiful hairstyle in, oh, about forty seconds. that was her secret! she was a speed-dresser! no bead-clocks for her.

Blake said...

I loved American Beauty. In its defense, I'd say of course it was cliché-ridden, it's largely about Kevin Spacey's rather unusual movement through a clichéd situation. Worth a watch.

I loved Pleasantville, too, and that one I can watch over-and-over again. I think the pun on "colored," which is sort of funny the first time you hear it, is way too ham-handed if you try to apply it literally. I don't get this as an idealized view of the '50s, though: It's more an idealized view of the television of the '50s. We use to aspire (in a way) to Pleasantville and now it's camp or boring or invalid because it's unattainable.

Plus, Don Knotts!

To Catch A Thief I can watch right up until Grace Kelly starts careening down that winding road. It's probably not the same road she died on but it's still bums me out.

Bad Penny said...

Hooray! I look forward to buying a blouse with a waist.

dick said...

It is fun to remember who were the sexy ones then. Marilyn Monre, Sophia Loren, Gina Lollobrigida, Anita Ekburg, Ann-Margaret, Audrey Hepburn, Grace Kelly, Rita Hayworth, Doris Day, Ingrid Bergman - and for the men Cary Grant, Jimmy Stewart, Gregory Peck, Henry Fonda, Marlon Brando, Jimmy Dean, Humphrey Bogart. Now compare to the ones today and then tell me which you would pick. They were adults then by comparison. Not just because I grew up then but it was a different time, a very exciting time, a troubling time as well. There were problems and life was not all peaches and cream but there was a very different attitude in the country then with regard to what you were responsible for. I am just glad that I grew up then rather than now. I would not trade places for anything.

rcocean said...

"i (American Beauty) hate that movie so much. why is it that blatantly obvious, contrived, cliched movies like that (and, almost as bad, coming soon to a miniseries near you, Crash) win such praise?"

Truer words were never spoken. But Kevin Spacey is a great actor.