Archive for May, 2010

Then/Now: Nuns

Monday, May 31st, 2010

Left: Model Agneta Bylander in a Paris fashion show.  Bill Ray, 1968. Via Life’s archives on Google.

Right: Hun Head, POP Magazine.  Sebastian Faena, 2000.  Via Haute Macabre (NSFW).


Friday, May 28th, 2010

Seems every time you turn around, the disciples of design are moving hemlines.  Well, now you can have your maxi and wear it too—but don’t put those minis in mothballs.  This season, anything goes.

New York Magazine. February 24, 1992.

Popular as they are with the nose-ring and chunky-boot set, maxi-skirts have only lately surfaced in the influential fashion glossies. . . . Will the street-length skirt endure? Even its most ardent proponents will tell you, that depends. “People are waiting to see trendsetters like Kate Moss wearing it,” Ms. Borissova of Curve suggested. “Then they’ll take a chance.”

She maintained, nonetheless, that by fall, a long, lean silhouette could be driving sales. “Five years from now,” she insisted in a whoosh of enthusiasm, “we’ll all be wearing maxis.”

Ruth La Ferla, New York Times. May 27, 2010.

Last summer’s revolution in skirt lengths—so mini they stopped just short of perdition—has provoked a counterrevolution.

Life. November 7, 1969.

More tellingly, perhaps, they represent a seductive — make that subversive — alternative to the jeans, leggings and showily girly micro-minis that pop up like ragweed with the first mild breeze. They are “fashion’s backlash to the short skirt,” Ms. Yakus suggested.

Ruth La Ferla, New York Times. May 27, 2010.

Gradually by degrees the skirt lengths on dresses gave the illusion of being first long and then shorter with dipping, scalloped and handkerchief hemlines in floating fabrics. It was only in 1925 that skirts rose 14 to 16 inches (45 to 50 cm) from the ground making the shorter hemline we associate with the era. . . .
By 1929 uneven hems and asymmetric skirt hemlines again helped the transition to longer skirts. Longer sheer overskirts and semi sheer top skirts were worn over shorter linings. By 1930 the hemline was several inches below the knee.”

Less common but perhaps appealing to women still on the fence about the full-on maxi are versions like one by Yohji Yamamoto for Y-3, hiked to the knee in front and pooling in a train at the rear. Mr. Yamamoto, it should be noted, is one of the Japanese provocateurs who introduced more voluminous versions of the look more than two decades ago.”

Ruth La Ferla, New York Times. May 27, 2010.

I keep referring to this retro-retro thing as a “feedback loop.”  I’d like to think it was less self-involved and transient and actually more of a reinforcement with some sort of learned end.

In general, the feeling is for peaceful coexistence for all lengths and for letting women wear whatever they please, all of which should sooth the frayed nerves of shoppers, merchants and husbands alike.

Life. February 16, 1968.

Then/Now: Microshorts

Monday, May 24th, 2010

Left: Female short pants.  Allen Grant, probably ’50s, ’60s. Via Life’s archives on Google.

Right: Lindsey Schickner, for the Stylelist.  Jolie Novak for AOL, 2010.  Via the Stylelist, ‘Testing the Pantsless Trend in New York City‘.

(According to Life magazine, short shorts became “permanent in U.S. scene” in 1956).

Seen About Town: Layers

Thursday, May 20th, 2010

What I liked most about this outfit was that, if it got colder, she could un-scrunch the leggings and cover her knees.  And if it got warmer, she could take off the sweater and go with the tank underneath.  Surprisingly few people seem to dress for the severe weather changes the NW early summer brings.

This guy was just great.  I have been in the shops that awesome Mexican men go to and I still don’t know where the hell they pull out the purple jeans.

And bless windbreakers.  Those seem to have gone the way of the brontosaurus.  They were these things that we all grew up with and are now just endless printed hoodies and those jackets from Columbia Sportswear or somewhere sporty/technical.

Review: Goody Spin Pin

Friday, May 14th, 2010

Innovation is rare.  It’s a common descriptor, but normally hyperbole.  So when something actually innovative comes along it’s rather a joy.   We were at a hotel on the coast and I see a commercial (we don’t have cable, so I only see commercials when we travel) for this thing called the “spin pin” that was said to do the work of twenty bobby pins.  It’s not a clip, it’s not a comb, nor is it like any regular hairpin I’ve seen.  It totally looks like science.

I mean, seriously.  So, I figured it might be worth trying out.  Bravo to Goody, by the way, for having a commercial that actually intrigues the consumer about a product.  It must be awful to think of hair product commercials, since the ‘90s were full of seen-on-TV devices that stuttered into oblivion (anyone remember the Topsy Tail?).

The problem is, the damn thing was so new I couldn’t find it at my local and had to go into the city to get it.  At about $6 for a set of two, it was a splurge.  But I am all about science.  And the temptation was strong to find a hair device that doesn’t snag, pull at or get lost in my easily mattable mane.

Guys. It works.  I’ve been wearing ‘em endlessly, the days are getting warmer and I want my hair up—and I can now do it without the half-dozen pins and hair ties normally necessary.  I’ve been showing them around the office and the keys to using the spin pin seem to be these:

  • Your hair has to be long enough to make at least a small bun.
  • Thick, heavy or slippery hair will need to use both pins.
  • It helps a lot if you can make a bun or French twist without thinking about it.

Using the Rapunzel-like hair of Chase, I’ll show you how it works. (more…)