The 60s were famous for more than a few fabulous things: the struggle by women and African-Americans for social equality; the British Invasion of American music by the Thes...Stones, Beatles, Kinks, Who; much fashionable grooviness. "Designers of clothes and textiles celebrated modernity," explain the vintage textile & fashion experts at London's Victoria and Albert Museum. For example, the bright, primary colors that made up the Pop and Op Art palette were mixed with the signature metal of the Space Age: silver - giving clothes a surprising and fresh feel.
Wet-look "futuristic" fabrics with a celestial shine - PVC, perspex and anything glitzy and waterproof - caught the fancy of fashion designers that epitomized the decade, particularly Paco Rabanne, whose crafted dresses from chainmail and plastic discs that were less dresses than wearable sculpture made from metal. A distintinctive design statement that Rabanne arrived at almost by accident. "Unlike designers like Yves Saint Laurent and Christian Lacroix, I have never been a great colourist," the designer has admitted. "I have always been somewhat brutal, even primary in my use of colour. Contrasts I like include red and blue, black and white, gold and silver."
Interesting, during the recent Spring 2015 couture shows, Raf Simons seemed to pick up where Rabanne left off. He showed sheeny materials usually associated with the fringe and fetish types on, yes, the Haute Couture runway - the models' legs encased in that other current-day fetish fave: wet-look legwear. "I wanted to go back in time," says Simons. "I wanted to see if I could bring three decades together. The 50s for its romantic feel and hidden sexuality. I like the 60s for its experiments on all levels: shapewise, materials-wise, a fashion experiment in the way it was presented. I like the 70s for its liberation: the way it was really taking fabrics like 'normal' wool and not following any structure any more, and just going wild and crazy - druggie, party....So I thought it could be challenging to put all these things together, romantic materials like guipure lace and fuse them together with metallic hardware and plastic. Fuse everything together into a new kind of language. Why do I say this? Because this is how I see David Bowie. And this is how I like to take the liberty in approaching Couture. It's also an experiment, a kind of trying out of something that can then maybe lead to a new language."
- Lesley Scott
NOTE: Honoring the past to help us pave the way forward, fashionwise, is a signature of the Folkspun fashion tribe. For more of my posts & podcasts about this tribe, CLICK HERE. To learn more about each of fashion's four mega-tribes that I track, START HERE.