Wednesday, 7 January 2015

1990s: Style Features and Fabrics

The minimalists of 1990s sported a clean streamlined look with simple tailoring and a neutral colour palette. Plain white cotton t-shirts became staple wardrobe pieces. The minimalist palette consisted of black, brown, olive green, beige, navy and white. Sheer and shiny fabrics featured strongly throughout minimalist collection to compensate for the lack of colour. The growth of female professionals boosted the demand for minimalism as women wanted strong corporate styles. 

Meanwhile Grunge enthusiasts sported ripped jeans, threadbare flannel skirts, bobbly cardigans, converse trainers and Doc Marten boots. Courtney Love the girlfriend of Nirvana front man Kurt Cobain became a princess of grunge with her tattered dresses and ripped stockings. This redefined femininity of the 90s was brought to the catwalk by Marc Jacobs for Perry Ellis which gained him Womenswear Designer of the Year. The look was unkempt and laid back.
Marc Jacobs for Perry Ellis

Deconstruction brought about the use of synthetic materials such as paper and non-woven fabrics in clothing production. The process of production and techniques were left deliberately exposed such as linings and raw edges. Zips were placed in unusual places and garments were frayed in a dramatic decoding of construction methods. Deconstruction was a satirical take on the fashion 'trend' and aimed to break through the boundaries of style. Emphasis was placed on different components of garments rather than the finished look itself. Martin Margiela was the 'King of Deconstruction' showing his collections in cemeteries and fire stations. He made use of alternative materials such as bottle tops, plastics, coat hangers and broken porcelain. Rei Kawakubo was also a deconstruction genius working for Commes des Garcons. She played with form and silhouette creating pieces that were asymmetric, frayed, unfinished or crumpled. Fashion was being used as a tool of expression and designers wanted to challenge themselves technically.

Martin Margiela
Martin Margiela 1993

1990s Fashion

1990s Fashion

'Minimalism' is the epitome of 90s style. After the extravagance and abundance of the 1980s fashion needed and a clean break. There was no longer a need to brighten financial woes through bright clothes. Fashion waved goodbye to the pinch of the 1980s. There was no longer a pressure on what you wear but how you wear it. Being under-dressed was essential. From this permissive fashion attitude sparked Grunge, a look for the anti-fashionista. Bred from the fashion indifference of the alternative rock scene, bands like Nirvana became fashion icons. From Minimalism and Grunge began Deconstruction.  Designers drove to break down the tradition of the last century by creating extreme silhouettes and deliberately unfinished garments. While designers rebelled, music and celebrity culture was growing in fashion influence. Street style thrived on the emergence of Hip-Hop while red carpet events were becoming catwalk affairs. The impending millennium was a cause for experimentation.
one of the "pictures that perfectly capture the 90s"  Sassy?!

1970s Innovators: Von Furstenberg and Westwood

Diane Von Furstenberg: Von Furstenberg's invention of the wrap dress encapsulated the liberation of female fashion of the 1970s. The absence of zips and buttons gave women an unrestricting and feminine alternative. The simple slogan 'Feel like a woman, Wear a dress' shot the designer to fame and sale of the dress topped $5 million. The simple jersey dress became one of the best selling garments of all time. Speaking about her design she remarked ' the wrap dress is the most traditional form of dressing: it's like a robe, a kimono, a toga, it doesn't have buttons or zippers. What made it different was that it was jersey; it made every woman look like a feline. And that's how it happened.'. The simplicity and ease of the design appeared to be just what women were looking for not just in fashion but in their lifestyle as well. Woman wanted to dress for themselves and Von Furstenberg gave them what they want. Having made the cover of Newsweek magazine in 1976 she was deemed to be 'the most marketable designer since Coco Chanel'. Von Furstenberg is still in limelight with her own show on E! House of DVF which sees aspiring designers compete for a chance to work with the designer.

Vivienne Westwood: Westwood injected confrontation in to clothes of the 1970s. She showed punk enthusiasts what to wear and not to care. Punk was born from street style not the pages of magazines. Westwood and Malcolm McLaren turned their 50s revival shop in to a fetish haven under the name 'SEX' the shop delivered fashion guidance to the rebellious sub culture. At the heart of Punk was Westwood's use of fashion as a medium to express political frustration with unemployment, lack of opportunity and recession. Westwood  created human spectacles on the streets of London putting it back on the fashion map where it made its name in the swinging 60's. No Punk was complete without safety pins, sewn up zips, steel chains, PVC, tartan and a few intentional tears. Westwood compared her fashion  rebellion to that of Coco Chanel "Chanel probably designed for the same reasons I do: irritation with orthodox ways of thinking. She was a street fashion designer.".  Westwood's rebellious character of the 70's would probably sneer at the iconic fashion figure she is today. However she remains true to herself producing pieces that combine historical fashion with topical and controversial issues.

Vivienne Westwood SS15

Sunday, 16 November 2014

1970s Innovators: Clark,Birtwell and Halston

This is who I mentioned in class: Ossie Clark, Celia BirtwellOssie Clark and Celia Birtwell: Husband and Wife duo Clark and Birtwell brought the art and fashion world together in the 1970s. Due to their divorce in 1974 their career was short lived and often unappreciated but this pair were at the heart of the 70s bohemian movement. As an artist Celia Birtwell would produce textile designs inspired by art deco floral patterns and Clark would then create garments from them. He perfected the midi and maxi lengths of the time producing Birtwell's artwork in evening dresses, as sleeve features or as overdresses. Clark's free flowing cutting style was developed from his fascination with the 1930s bias cut which he reintroduced to the fashion world. The Hippie look could be achieved with his puffed out sleeves, narrow cuffs and chiffon trouser suits. Birtwell's bold patterns and colours created unique pieces of fashion artwork. The amalgamation of exquisite tailoring and unique artistic ability created iconic 70s style.
ossie clark

1969 Ossie Clark fashion
Roy Halston Frowick: Capitulated to stardom when he designed Jackie Kennedy's iconic pill box hat for John's inauguration. (He reportedly fitted it to himself because they wore the same hat size). Made simple chic.Roy Halston: Halston constructed the slender sex appeal of 70s fashion. He aimed to promote a modern silhouette by introducing the use of synthetic fabrics in high end fashion. Beginning as a Milliner in Bergdorf and Goodman catering to the rich and famous Halston established a star studded fashion flock. His sheep included Bianca Jagger, Liza Minnelli and Elizabeth Taylor . He was a permanent fixture on the disco scene during the 70s spending time with his clients in Studio 54. Halston became the U.S's first star dresser, he possessed an ability to tend to women's fashion needs, emphasizing their assets and masking weaknesses. He released collections that featured casual cashmere dresses and slender pantsuits. Perhaps his greatest success was his development of the shirt dress using Ultrasuede a synthetic mix of polyester and polyurethane. He preserved the luxurious simplicity of 1970s fashion. Halston,1970s

Thursday, 13 November 2014

1970s: Style Features and Fabrics

Another group of fashion anarchists in the 70s was Punks.  Rebellion was at the very heart of the punk trend. Invented by Malcolm McLaren and Vivienne Westwood the pair were inspired by elements of bondage gear like rubber and leather studs which they sold from their shop 'SEX' in the Kings Road Emporium. The pair spawned Kings Road as a fashion capital in its own right. Along with the traditional  components of bondage they combined the look with muslin and cotton t-shirts, vests and drain pipe jeans which were de-constructed and ripped then pinned back together to form a new silhouette. Tartan and leather were key elements of the trend. Malcolm McLaren began managing the Sex Pistols which combined with Westwood's fashion revolution secured Punk as not only a trend but a lifestyle during the 1970s. The Punk trend was a shock to the system of the fashion world and created a tsunami of trends featuring punk elements and fabrics which was seen in the A/W 2013 Tartan trend. Disobedience was the height of fashion.
 Sid Vicious & Johnny Rotten - Sex Pistols - 80s inspiration for CATs Vintage - 1980s style - fashion

Across the Atlantic something big was dancing its way around New York.  The Disco look was sophisticated and alternative.  The Disco crowd were disaffected by the destructive forces of crime and drugs devastating the streets of New York and partied harder in west 54th Street's Studio 54. To make the exclusive guest list the disco look was essential.  Leotards, metallic vests and dresses, high waisted spandex trousers, jumpsuits, footless tights with leg warmers and anything sequinned were staple wardrobe pieces. Preferred fabrics were satin, lamĂ©, polyester, velour, Lurex and spandex. Bianca Jagger became an icon of the disco trend. The slim line silhouette of disco was achieved using fabrics like silk jersey and crepe de chine which fell from the body in fluid shapes. Disco was the last iconic look of the 1970s and brought the most revolutionary decade in fashion to a close. 

Monday, 20 October 2014

1970s: Style Features and Fabrics

HippieWhen forecasting the 70s era Vogue announced, 'There are no rules in the fashion game now. You're playing it and you make up the game as you go, [...] you write your own etiquette. Express yourself.' Women were dressing for themselves. Styles had no limitations and women were ready to express this freedom. The emergence of prĂȘt-a-porter meant catwalks were no longer the only source for fashion trends. While synthetic fabrics were growing in popularity so were organic silks and cottons creating a plethora of iconic and contrasting 70s looks. Most significant characters were the Hippie, the Punk and the Disco Queen. Women were taking fashion in all directions and finding new ways to embrace their femininity.

photograph by david hewison the gentle-gypsies june 1970
Boho enthusiasts of the 1970s sported long lean silhouettes guided by the ethnic fashion movement. To achieve the gypsy look floor length chiffon dresses were worn off the shoulder with clog style shoes adapted from the Scandinavian folkloric romanticism which the movement longed for. Crochet ponchos and dresses displayed the appreciation of traditional craft and the boho dream of 'Back to Nature' fashion supported by designers like Bill Gibb. Hand dyed fabrics from India and embellished fabrics from Greece filled the 70s era with exotic colours and intricate craftsmanship. Afghan Coats made from sheep or goatskin became key pieces in any hippies' wardrobe. They became a uniform for the campaigning, peace-loving and protesting individuals that fought for change during the 70s. Gunilla Lindblad photographed by Zachariasen for Vogue, 1970.

Tuesday, 14 October 2014

Back to Reality: 1970s Fashion

Finally feeling recovered after the Wedding Journal final and getting stuck in to college work again. finding designing collections a lot more challenging than I thought so I've been neglecting my poor little FrockWatch. Fear not, my five decades of fashion continues with an intro to the 1970s and what an exciting fashion era it was. Enjoy!
Ro x

70s supermodel Jerry Hall with big wild hair #1970s #vintage
Jerry Hall
The 1970s was a time of cultural discovery and free expression. Individuals yearned for their own self identity and a more ethnic form of the 60s psychedelic trend. Fashion enthusiasts wanted something organic and wholesome. The politics behind the 'Age of Mass Consumption' which spilled over from the 1960s caused people to become aware of traditional methods of production and invest in them. A campaign sloganed 'Back to Nature' aimed to bring fashion back to its roots. With cheap airfares becoming available people had the ability to experience different cultures and push their fashion boundaries. This cultural awakening is also responsible for the emergence of the punk and disco trend. Led by Malcolm McLaren and Vivienne Westwood the outrageous street style of Punk turned the concept of a fashion trend on its head and challenged critics to shut up and deal with it. Meanwhile in New York the disco dance craze was creating trends of its own, Studio 54 its Mecca. The 1970s was a time to be yourself and dress that way.

Hitting their stride in the early 1970′s, Missoni started out as a small knitwear workshop in Gallarate, Italy, in 1953 opened by founders Rosita and Ottavio.
Missoni 1970s