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Posts Tagged ‘1980s fashion’

maxresdefaultQuite frankly, the way I see fashion after being in the business since 1967, fashion is out of fashion. And if fashion is what you look like, you do not represent the modern woman. Style can be fashionable, but this whole idea that the fashion industry is the same and fashion has the same meaning in a woman’s life, it doesn’t. It’s completely different. Today it’s instantaneous: “I want this now, I want it overnight,” if not the same day. I don’t want to wait for anything. I mean, I’m one of those shoppers myself, I only shop online. I never go into stores.

– Norma Kamali, American fashion designer, as quoted in an interview for Women’s Wear Daily.

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Norma Kamali fleece designs in the 1980s.

In the 1980s, way before the idea of ath-leisure, Ms. Kamali designed a line of women’s clothing using gray fleece. She used the sporty material for structured silhouettes – dresses, skirts, and oversized tops with shoulder pads. It was unexpected, it was chic and a big hit both with the fashion press and customers.

As for her point that fashion is not fashionable. (I think that is what she’s saying.) Well, there is much discussion going on about what fashion is these days. Currently there is a slight push-back against corporate fashion and name brands with people concerned about the environment, sweatshops, and blind consumerism. With a trend toward recycle/reuse, a desire for individual style has developed. Still, I’m seeing a lot of leggings and tunics out there, not to mention ath-leisure. I believe that despite the changes in the way we find our fashion and how we buy it, fashion is what it has always been –  trends that can come from designers, celebrities, or people on the street.

Congratulations to Ms. Kamali for her recent CFDA Lifetime Achievement Award.

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Gatsby Summer Afternoon 2015.

Gatsby Summer Afternoon 2015.

The Art Deco Society of California Gatsby Summer Afternoon 2015 was a big success with a record-setting crowd of over 1100. The weather was late-summer perfect (after a week of horribly high temps) and the Don Neely Royal Society Jazz Society Orchestra was in top form. The only thing was, “It ended too soon,” I heard people say as they wistfully packed away their vintage linens and picnic gear.

For me it was kind of unexpectedly special. Year after year I enjoy putting together outfits for Gatsby Summer Afternoon. With a collection of vintage from many eras I often cobble together looks from my closet but I have also gone shopping the season before at the Vintage Fashion Expo.

This year I decided to sport something I had been saving. It’s a dress that my older brother made back in the 80s and gave to me for my birthday one year. My brother and his wife started their fashion business Kiss of the Wolf in the late-70s and quickly became known in the wearable art world for their unique hand-painted silk clothing for women.

A simple sheath, I knew my dress had the right silhouette for the 1920s. Even though the colors of light violet and mauve are very 80s as is the diamond pattern, the combination worked just as well for the 20s. To emphasis the proper era, I took the accompanying silk sash and tied it below my waist at an angle. I added navy blue shoes and an actual 20s cloche hat, donned my grandmother’s long beaded necklace and I was Gatsby ready.

I knew it was an acceptable outfit for the very discerning crowd but I didn’t think it was anything more than that. Hey, I was wrong. Never before in all my years attending Gatsby Summer Afternoon have I received so many compliments. Both men and women made an effort to come up to me and say how fabulous they thought the dress was and how authentic. One woman said I should have won the costume contest (thanks for that!) and another commented that the whole outfit matched illustrations from 1920s fashion magazines. I mentioned, of course, that the dress actually was designed and hand-painted in the 80s by my brother, who died at a young age from cancer. People really understood then that this was indeed a very special dress.

I think my brother would have gotten a kick out of how I wore his dress and how timeless it is. I know he would be pleased that people were interested and appreciated his work.

Thanks to all the individuals who took the time to talk to me – you made my day!

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