Backstage during fashion week, one will likely find that nearly all the mood boards for fashion’s vanguard brands bear a few references to the past.
Some images are plucked from vintage fashion magazine or book specialists like London’s Donlon or November Books and some are resurrected from the designer’s own personal experiences.
Veruschka taking a stroll in Villa Borghese in micro shorts and wide-brimmed hat, Diane Keaton bickering with Woody Allen in baggy trousers and a loosely tied necktie in “Annie Hall” and Jackie Onassis with her coral red lipstick and summer capris on the Kennedy sailboat, somehwere between Hyannis Port and Martha’s Vineyard… These are all images endeared by designers and that have been reinterpreted in different ways time and time again.
And so many of the muses we see on the fashion street blogs are also trying to create their own iconic scenes, often standing out from the crowd in their vintage attire.
This week’s Vintage issue begs the question: Why does a sense of nostalgia have such a huge role in what is being produced and what we wear today?
Vintage garments, namely materials, are unique, because they tell a story and because more often than not, they are made better than the clothes that are available to us today.
Take the kimono for example. During the Heian period and up to Japan’s pre-western culture invasion, kimonos were crafted with over a dozen of contrasting layers of silk brocade or silk crepe. Today, the kimono is normally worn with a single layer of material on top of one or more undergarments and sometimes made with less-expensive easy-care fabrics such as rayon, polyester and other synthetic fibers.
In fact, a testament to the fact that a kimono is the ultimate vintage find, we feature Paris’ Romain Brau, who was actually dressed in a kimono when I met him. Wearing a silk kimono he found at a Parisian market over a vintage vest from the turn of the century, Brau made a huge impression on me with his concept of vintage couture and his romantic approach to every day dressing.
This week, we profile some of Europe’s most prominent vintage hunters and even some designers who rework old vestments to fit into today’s society.