The news has been so stressful that I’ve had a hard time concentrating on fashion history. But in times like these, is it somehow wrong or shallow to think about frocks and pajamas and pretty shoes? Truth is, and I probably don’t have to tell you this, fashion is more than just what we wear.
Politically, my teen and early adult years were also stressful. From the time I was ten years old in 1965, I was aware of the war in Vietnam, and as soon as that ended, Watergate and the threat of impeachment of Nixon became the chief source of anxiety. No wonder fashion in the late Sixties and into the Seventies looked to the past. Even as a preteen in 1967 I was aware that fashion was flirting with looks from the wartime Forties. That’s because my mother pointed out to me how the gathered sleeved blouses and dresses, and the above the knee dirndl skirts we saw in stores reminded her of the clothing she was wearing when she was my age in 1943.
I have a theory that one of the big appeals of nostalgia in the Sixties and Seventies was that so many Boomers saw the stark contrast between our parent’s wartime experiences and that of our own. My mom described feel-good stories of community sacrifice in order to help defeat Germany and Japan. My wartime memories involve protest and the horror of Kent State. Who wouldn’t give that up for a country seemingly united in a common cause? At least we could wear the clothes.
And now for some news…
- The middle-class collector is being priced out of the art market. I can see this in the vintage market as well, but on a smaller scale. There are, at least, bargains still to be had.
- Esther Williams: The Swimming Queen of the Silver Screen will be on view in the Catalina Island Museum through March 8, 2020.
- Idiocy is alive and well in the fashion industry.
- The Eastern Band of Cherokee Tribal Council’ approved the Native Arts and Crafts Bill, which outlaws the sale of fake Cherokee-made crafts.
- I loved this short video about the men characters and their shirt collars in The Maltese Falcon.
- Remember that church altar cloth that turned out to probably be a fragment of a dress belonging to Elizabeth I? It will be on display at Hampton Court Palace starting October 12, through February 23, 2020.
- Moths and old clothes just don’t mix.
- Fans of Jane Austen will be interested in a new book, Dress in the Age of Jane Austen: Regency Fashion.
- The US has Madeleine Albright, and the UK has Lady Hale.
- Illustrator Mac Conner has died. I saw an exhibition of his work last year at the Upstate History Museum in Greenville, SC.
- Time to burn your Vans.