Saturday, December 11, 2010

Street Trends vs. High Fashion

Zoot suit   
During 1930’s and 1940’s, a style of clothing known as ‘Zoot Suit’ was popularized by young male African Americans, Filipino Americans, and Mexican Americans.(1) There are number stories associated with its origin. The word "zoot" in the urban Jazz culture of Harlem means something exaggerated; either in style, sound, or performance. A zoot suit was an extravagant style, out of proportion to the norm; it consisted of very baggy high-waisted pants, pegged around the ankles, worn with a long jacket that came to below the knee. The jacket, also described as a killer-diller coat with a drape shape, reet pleats by Malcolm X had high, wide shoulder pads that jetted out from the shoulder. The outfit was accompanied by pointy, French style shoes, a long-chain dangled from the belt and a wide-brimmed hat.(2)
As per another theory of its origins, the zoot suit was imitated from the suit worn by Clark Cable in the movie Gone with the Wind. According to some people, Harold C. Fox, a big band leader and clothier from Chicago, designed the first zoot suit. Harold said that he copied the fashions of ghetto-dwelling teenagers. The story published in the New York Times in 1943 during the zoot suit riots, stated that a young African-American busboy from Gainesville, Georgia, placed an order with a tailor for the "first zoot suit on record." This story is the most believed one and according to this Clyde Duncan ordered a suit with a 37-inch-long coat and pants which was 26 inches wide at the knees and 14 inches at the ankle. After constructing the suit, the tailor took his picture and sent it to Men's Apparel Reporter for printing. Thus it was popularized and adapted by the masses.(2)

Vivienne Westwood’s spring summer 2011 menswear collection showed in Milan included zoot suit pants. The width and length of pants in menswear collection has been altered, whereas the jacket has the same lapel style with padded shoulder, but the length has been reduced as compared to the historic style.
Viktor & Rolf nod to the zoot suit, their spring 2010 men's collection had a reflection of 1940’s style. Keeping in mind the Hollywood stars of forties, they have revived the zoot suit with less wide, slightly shorter jackets in comparison to 1940’s mid-thigh length jackets. A leather jacket with zoot suit pant was twist and well thought reincarnation of zoot suit.

Teddy boy
Teddy boy was a significant style in the fashion history of the 1950s which came into limelight in post-war period. The young people who were deeply concerned about their looks and rejected the shabby but functional clothes styles worn by their fathers invented the Teddy boy style. With the rise of income after war the trend arose and young men began to long for elegant fashions. Traditionally Teddy Boys style was comprised of "Drape" a long knee length, single breasted wool jacket with narrow contrasting lapels and cuffs, either of velvet or satin and plenty of pockets. This jacket was worn with either contrasting or matching narrow drainpipe trousers, brocade waistcoats, stiff shirts and shoestring ties or bootlace slim Jim ties. Often the look was completed with suede shoes or crepe soled shoes, which helped with the dance movements of jiving. (3)
Paul smith in his spring summer 2011 RTW collection showcased women in teddy-boy haircuts and sporting men's style shirts rolled up over the elbow, green shiny suits, and ash-colored waistcoats and there were touches of velvety purple, a splash of Smith's flowery prints.(4) Overall the look was androgynous, revisiting the Teddy boy style where brocade waistcoat was replaced by checks and contrasting lapels and cuffs of velvet or satin with flowery print.
Bottega Veneta has clearly being inspired by Teddy boy for fall 2010 collection. The hairstyles were evidently portrayed Teddy boy and the collection included the single breasted jackets in variety of fabrics with lapels of monochromatic color and different fabric. The designers has replaced the narrow trousers with denim. There was one look in which velvet was also used on lapel and cuff of jacket.

In 1950's, a whole new generation of literary voices was born who had their unique way of self-expression and emerged as Beat generation. They emerged as a rejection for the conformity and materialism of the 1950's. (5) "Beat Generation" has a specific look comprised of black turtleneck sweaters and bongos, berets and dark glasses. (6)
For Fall/Winter 2010, Lyn Devon has embraced the theme “Beatnik Ballet.”(7) A black skintight turtleneck sweater and slim pant provides a refreshed look to beatnik. The turtle neck sweaters were combined with frock style sleeveless jacket and cropped cowl neck cape in knit was a twist to the 1950’s beatnik style.

Mod (from modernist) is a youth subculture that began in London, England, in the late 1950s. The Mod subculture was a working-class movement with highly stylized dress and short hair and was in full boom in the early-to-mid 1960s. Sophisticated tailor made suits with narrow lapels, thin ties, button down shirts and wool or cashmere sweaters defined the mod look for men. Color was one of the main characteristics of ‘Mods.’ The muted and pastel palette of 50’s was replaced by bright, bold color often splayed in geometric patterns. Minimalism was the key for Mod look and female began wearing miniskirts, men’s trousers or shirts, flat shoes and applied little make-up. (8)
A picture of female mods dressed in various outfits in 1962
 Marc Jacobs nod to mod in his 2011 resort collection. The classic lady like details, pretty party dresses, some lace, little tweed and bright colors peeking through pastels is elegant restoration of Mod of 1960’s.(9) The hats, sweaters and short minimalist dresses reminds of vintage Mod style.
Gucci’s impeccable suiting with a laidback, 60's the designer revives London Mod look.(10) Frida Giannini inspire by those iconic sixties mod style presented beautiful fit and lines of tailored suits and new version of neck ties and sweaters.


The etymology of the term 'hippie' is from hipster, hippie was a youth movement started in United States during mid 1960’s and eventually emerged as subculture that spread to other countries also.(11)  Hippie having its roots from Beat generation had direct global influences on music, television and film and made its mark on politics, fashion, hairstyles, arts, and religion. (12) Hippies clothes inspired by art with an optical illusionist nature served as inspiration for fabrics with enormous squares, zigzags patterns, massive circles within smaller circles of black and white patterns and hippie clothes. There were quite interesting three dimensional effects on the fabrics that presented a movement in the clothes. Tie and dye technique was a popular style in hippie clothes. (13)

Anna Sui’s twenty years old brand is still giving the industry the happy-go-lucky hippie spirit. She has always adorned this look and every time she successfully provides a fresh, new and exciting ensemble. A film named Days of Heaven was the inspiration for her spring 2011 collection presented at New York fashion week. The collection comprised of free-spirited and feminine clothing including dresses with fringe detailing, flared pants in printed chiffons, peasant skirts and so much more.(14)
Roberto Cavalli’s Spring/Summer 2011 collection showed in Milan fashion week has a 1970’ feel. The long, stick straight hair with center partition, done by Guido was inspired by 1970’s hippie girl.(15) Collection included some very innovative hemlines and fringe complimenting the hippie style.

Glitz, color and atmosphere are few words that can describe the 1970s disco style Polyester shirts, gold chains, hot pants with platform shoes were the characteristics which define the disco style. The look was meant to attract the spotlight and stand out on the dance floor. Fabrics such as spandex, polyester and lycra which could fit tightly and cling to the body and shiny, light-reflecting fabrics, such as satins and silks as well as gold lamé or sequin-encrusted garments, could make the perfect disco statement. (16)
Men's look comprised of high waist trousers, wildly flared at the bottom and tightly fitted around the waist and thighs combined with elastic band-roll waistband to ensure that the pants would stay in place through a night of dancing. Unbuttoned fitted shirts, to expose the chest as well as multiple gold neck chains, lapels on shirts, wide and exaggerated jackets, were the key styles for men.  (16)
Glitzy dresses with free-flowing skirts or bright, satin hot pants and sequined tops, jumpsuits made out of lycra or spandex accentuated were the popular pieces for women. All these outfits allowed them to move freely on the dance floor and were often counterbalanced by bold headscarves and oversized earrings. (16)
A pair of halter dresses designed for disco decadence in gold mesh beaded with stars, by Henry Holland for House of Holland spring summer 2011 RTW was inspired by 1970s glamour, disco and New York nightlife. The collection shown at London fashion week was sizzling, stellar, tight and sexy, including pleated skirts in metallic and chiffons, playsuits and fluid asymmetric dresses, in exploding colors like greens, pinks and blues.(17) The fabrics complemented the 1970’s style and the outfits were matched, with revived platforms to complete the disco style. The pom-pom fur earrings jog ones memory of oversized earrings of 70’s.
Marc Jacobs inspired by the seventies, included satin interlude, and voluminous peasant dresses with gold glitter platforms. (18)There were disco style suits with shorts and trousers, jumpsuits made in stretchy and shinny fabric.
During mid 1970’s, a punk rock music movement was witnessed by countries namely United States, United Kingdom and Australia. Punk rock music was a genre of Rock-n-Roll of the 50's. This movement originated a subculture that created clothing, hangouts, and a do it yourself attitude and lifestyle. The fashion introduced by this subculture was highly theatrical, including ripped clothing held together with safety pins and tattoos. Clothing was customized by applying paint or using markers. (19)
Punk fashion in the early 1980s included tight "drainpipe" jeans, plaid/tartan trousers, kilts or skirts, T-shirts, leather jackets decorated with painted band logos, pins and buttons, and metal studs or spikes. Converse sneakers, skate shoes, brothel creepers, or Dr. Marten’s boots were part of the punk fashion. (19)

Jean Paul Gaultier's Spring 2011 collection is punk inspired and 3D inspired. The spiky hairs are reminiscent of punk, girls accessorized with lace body stockings and Dr. Marten with the backs cut away could be seen in Jean Paul Gaultier's show in Paris.
Paris Fashion Week witnessed another punk inspired collection by Christophe Decarnin for Balmain. Punk Rock inspired studded sexy biker jackets, safety pinned to the hilt; tight, bleached jeans or shredded cut-offs; and holey T-shirts, torn fishnet stockings added to the appeal of proto-punks that Christophe Decarnin was going for.(20)

Hip hop dance originated in the African American culture and lead to the emergence of hip hop fashion. Hip hop dance was informal way of dancing with free body movements and often referred as street dance styles. Hip hop style was about finding the comfort out of stylish attire. During the early 80's to mid 80's, baggy pants, phat and over-sized athletic jerseys with sneakers, leather bomber jackets, bright colored tracksuits, were popular among the hip hop dancers. Jewelry worn by these dancers included huge necklaces, numerous rings and large belts. Women wore masculine costumes, large earrings, heavy metallic belts and braided hairstyles.(21)
During the late 80's, dreadlocks and braided hairstyles and neon colored clothing were introduced. The plaid shirts, low waist pants, baseball caps and clothing (that looked similar to the prisoners) was really very popular during the early 90's. (21)
Kimora Lee Simmons' hip hop line for Baby Phat included, New York Fashion week spring 2009, Jackets cropped short or long, bejeweled with gold trimmings in shades of tangerine, mint green and purple made the runway pop.  The plaids with studded belts and chains hanging on the waist are so reminiscent of 80’s hip hop culture. (22)
D square’s summer 2009 collection for men by Dean and Dan Caten did not bestow Jamel Shabazz's photographic history of hip hop. Black models wearing polo shirts, gym shorts, argyle socks, gold chains, Run DMC's Cazals tie-with-the-sporty-lower-half thing, leather vest, leather jacket with denim shorts all had a fresh and innovative version of hip hop.

Lolita Gothic
A subculture of the youth started on the streets of Japan in the 1970’s. Fashion associated with Lolita includes Victorian frills, umbrellas, knee high socks, petticoat. Young girls who did not want to adapt the fashion that show off skin initiated this fashion.(23)

Alexander McQueen Spring 2005 ensemble with the voluminous skirt and pretty Peter Pan collar is an updated nod to a classic Lolita outfits. Lolita prints, with vintage inspired blouse in sheer, gives the outfit a sexy take, yet it is still demure and wearable.  (24)
Alexander McQueen Fall 2008 collection had gothic influences, including gothic Lolita. The above two looks embrace the Lolita silhouette, former with puff sleeves and ornate neck details, later with a ruffle blouse underneath a fitted beautiful blouse. (24)


During 1967 – a movement marked another response to the decade as the young experimented with music, clothes, drugs, and a "counter-culture" lifestyle. In 1967, hippies preached altruism...-like fascination for beads, blossoms, and bells, strobe lights, ear-shattering music, exotic ...movement when young experimented with music, clothes, drugs, and a "counter-culture" lifestyle, hippies preached altruism. This was the time when young generation wanted to recognize "flower power" and love, the "psychedelic" color clothes and designs that resembled art nouveau came into existence.
Angela Missoni inspired by tribal shapes showcased a slightly psychedelic collection for her spring 2011 show at Milan fashion week.


Picture from : Goggle images


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