My 80's affair with chintz
I'm feeling nostalgic, I recently came across some old photos of life just before leaving the nest in the mid 80's. Growing up 45 minutes north of NYC made it very easy to zip in and out of the city. A welcome distraction from all the preppy dullness life in the suburbs guaranteed for this antsy teen girl. In my world in those days in Greenwich, CT, Laura Ashley was queen but Madonna the punk princess was hot on her tail.
Making the rounds through the village up and down Broadway, St. Marks, 8th Street, Astor Place to all my favorite haunts: Unique, Canal Jeans, Antique Boutique, Pat Fields, Trash & Vaudeville, the flea market near Tower Records all in search of vintage rhinestone jewelry, second hand tweed overcoats, WW2 military surplus, combat boots, the perfect red lipstick (think it was Covergirl Cheeries Jubilee), back for some more rubber bracelets, a studded belt here, cat glasses there.
The Slits and The Clash phptgraphed by Jane Ashley (Laura Ashley's daughter).
With Mom wearing Laura Ashley before my bad girl transformation.
On the constant hunt for cool cheap stuff to layer over mother approved good girl classics. Oh so desperate to give off a bad girl vibe without actually crossing the line.
Mick Jones from the Clash with Viv Libertine from the Slits. Photo by Jane Ashley
My hero, my muse! The girl responsible for pushing me out the door and on to cooler things with ratted hair, red lipstick and bad girl pearls.Thanks for the inspiration Madonna.
By the 1800s, women were openly advocating to wear two-legged garments. There were trailblazers like "rational dress" reformer Amelia Jenks Bloomer, who advocated a practical and comfortable pants-and-tunic ensemble that came to be known as “bloomers.”
Men were once so controlling. It's hard to believe during the 19th century it was considered vulgar for women horse back riders to straddle a horse. Instead they were forced to adopt the challenge of sitting sideways in a dress and maintaining control over a 700lb beast, better known as riding side saddle. Certainly not an easy feat, in fact probably quite uncomfortable, so here's a big ups to the life changing, earth shattering, wonder garment invention we call ladies riding breeches.
The invention of Lycra by American chemist Joseph Shivers in 1958 eventually revolutionized riding breeches and a majority of the athletic sportswear we rely on today. Where would we be without the ability to stretch when we move? We know what our swimsuits used to look like. Thank you DuPont!
Ode to the 90's
Once "heroin chic" saw its final days we moved on to a "more is better" aesthetic in 2000. Shelling out the big bucks for "it bags" emblazoned in logos and being recognized for wearing stilettos with a signature red sole was luxe. That irritating word "bling" was coined, and being called a label whore was suddenly a compliment.
Keepin' it real
I like to plan ahead and if the Spring '17 runway is any indication of what's to come next spring I'm in trouble. Dots, stripes, folklore, crochet, ruffles & pouf in abundance just isn't my thing. Although I'm not a slave to fashion by any means, its nevertheless hard to resist trying a new trend when it slaps you in the face each season. I'm not so set in my ways or too old to just throw in the towel, but from the looks of what I've witnessed so far I'm not obsessed.
When I started out working in fashion in the 90's it wasn't a particularly exciting time to be a stylist. Wearing earrings and a necklace at the same time was pretty much frowned upon - it just looked busy and wrong! Calvin Klein & Donna Karan's minimalist simplicity was chic. Less was best. You really had to be a natural beauty to pull this off. Like the lovely Kate Moss when she made her debut; bare face, slip dressed, and uncomplicated pretty hair.
Slip it on
There are times I wish I could stay in my nightgown all day. Especially when the weather gets warm. Nothing feels better than a simple cotton or silk chemise slip against the skin. I'm a self-professed comfy cozy fabric junkie! I can't get enough or ever say goodbye to the chic simple 1990's - An easier time indeed.