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