Skip

Sixties Seventies
January 2, 2011 8:02 PM   Subscribe

The miniskirts, hotpants, bellbottoms, boots, sunglasses, and hairdos of the Sixties Seventies as worn by the famous and anonymous beauties of the time. (some images NSFW)
posted by Joe Beese (60 comments total) 43 users marked this as a favorite

 
more stuff from under the mattress. cool.
posted by clavdivs at 8:03 PM on January 2, 2011


Oooh, those were the clothes that were so fun to take off!
posted by nickyskye at 8:28 PM on January 2, 2011 [6 favorites]


Everyone likes a look
posted by hortense at 8:32 PM on January 2, 2011 [1 favorite]


Say all you want about the baby-boomers, but this is one thing they got very right. I would kill to be a 20-year-old in the 60s.
posted by i_have_a_computer at 8:38 PM on January 2, 2011 [8 favorites]


I blame MST3K for creating an entire generation of geeks for whom women in boots and high hair represent the first blush with nudity.
posted by The Whelk at 8:39 PM on January 2, 2011


This was one of the only times in human history when everybody tried to live by Wilde's maxim that one should be a work of art or wear one.

We look back on the 60s and especially the 70s now and scoff at how gaudy and tasteless it all was then. All our scoffing tells us is how dull we have become, and Lady Gaga can't save us all by herself.
posted by Astro Zombie at 8:40 PM on January 2, 2011 [22 favorites]


I say that fully enjoying the long-boom 60s look currently laying down deep roots among the Older Youth set. So many kicky skirts and yellow tops.
posted by The Whelk at 8:41 PM on January 2, 2011


the dudes are all rocking the Slick Gentlemen look, once someone introduces them to paisley and lavender it'll all gel together and then everyday life can just look like Modesty Blaise all the time. .
posted by The Whelk at 8:43 PM on January 2, 2011 [1 favorite]


I, uh, heh, might have seen this website before. The girls all look like they were drawn by Nick Cardy! Truly this must have been a magnificent time to be a guy to be alive.
posted by kittens for breakfast at 8:43 PM on January 2, 2011 [1 favorite]


The first page of the skirts section, halfway down the page - the big hair, short skirts and skinny legs...they sort of look like kewpie dolls to me. Weird. I think it's the big heads to little bodies ratio.

That said, there are some wonderful shots in here. Thanks for posting Joe Beese!!!
posted by ninazer0 at 8:46 PM on January 2, 2011


We look back on the 60s and especially the 70s now and scoff at how gaudy and tasteless it all was then. All our scoffing tells us is how dull we have become, and Lady Gaga can't save us all by herself.

Yeah. It seems like today's clothes are notable chiefly in how much they try not to be notable.
posted by vorfeed at 8:52 PM on January 2, 2011 [3 favorites]


It's interesting how the miniskirt developed from the A-line look, which was itself an austerity measure during WWII. A huge amount of this fashion has those straight triangular lines sweeping out from the hips or shoulders. The 70s fashions that followed were much less stingy in their use of fabric, but continued the A-line idea... bell-bottoms were A-lines for the legs.

I personally love the look of men's 60s suits, with the peg-legs and the thin lapels and the skinny ties, again a reflection of the expense of fabric. In men's fashion too, the 70s added volume to everything... lapels, pants, waists, ties.
posted by unSane at 9:04 PM on January 2, 2011


“Fucking?” he says, “Well I think there was just as much of it going on as now, you just didn’t talk about it.”

-Henry Miller (witness), Reds.
posted by clavdivs at 9:07 PM on January 2, 2011 [1 favorite]


oh my
posted by clavdivs at 9:07 PM on January 2, 2011


Yes, I think fucking is much like the speed of light, a universal constant. The more historical research you do, the more you realize it's true.
posted by unSane at 9:09 PM on January 2, 2011 [2 favorites]




the dudes are all rocking the Slick Gentlemen look, once someone introduces them to paisley and lavender it'll all gel together and then everyday life can just look like Modesty Blaise all the time.


GOOD. We could use some more contemporary dandy foppery.
posted by louche mustachio at 9:12 PM on January 2, 2011 [1 favorite]


I'm shocked there was no photo of Elizabeth Montgomery. She out-shown many that are there.
posted by Goofyy at 9:33 PM on January 2, 2011 [1 favorite]


vorfeed: "Yeah. It seems like today's clothes are notable chiefly in how much they try not to be notable."
Alexander described for his classmates a nightmare in which every teenager bought identical outfits at the same three or four stores at the mall. The clothes were poorly made with low-quality material; they were ill-fitting because an XL of twenty years was now labeled an M. The uniform of the American Teenager was jeans that didn’t fit, paired with a cheap cotton T-shirt adorned with the logo of the store where they’d bought it on clearance.

There was a time, he said, when the young, educated, and reasonably attractive actually dressed and acted as though they were these things. But no more…today the gravest sin was to stand out from the crowd. Now, in the Age Of Comfort, equality had been achieved at last, not by lifting up but by stooping down. Sweatpants and baseball caps for all, and let anyone who refuse them be labeled arrogant, pretentious, elite.
-- The Darling Budds by MeFi's Own Ian A. T.
posted by Phire at 9:41 PM on January 2, 2011 [7 favorites]


It seems like today's clothes are notable chiefly in how much they try not to be notable.

These pictures show "high" fashion from a certain age - basically 1950s skirts made shorter in the following decade. Things got a lot more creative in the 70s, 80s and 90s. There's a certain conservatism about these pics. Not that I don't appreciate legs and short skirts, but I wonder if much of the appeal of these pictures is they are beautiful people to begin with, regardless of what they are wearing (or not). But to get right to the point, I like Daisy Dukes which are the real boomer innovation.
posted by stbalbach at 9:41 PM on January 2, 2011 [1 favorite]


Snark aside, these photos are really amazing. (I've saved a whole bunch of them in my art inspiration folder.)
posted by Phire at 9:42 PM on January 2, 2011


Posted previously.
posted by oneirodynia at 10:01 PM on January 2, 2011


Yes, I think fucking is much like the speed of light, a universal constant. The more historical research you do, the more you realize it's true.

heh, saltpeter lite.
saLAM!
posted by clavdivs at 10:25 PM on January 2, 2011


Don't miss Nick Drake's sister, Gabrielle.
posted by davebush at 10:36 PM on January 2, 2011


We look back on the 60s and especially the 70s now and scoff at how gaudy and tasteless it all was then. All our scoffing tells us is how dull we have become, and Lady Gaga can't save us all by herself.

No, to me, these look... clumsy? Like they knew the right direction to go in, and finally had the freedom to head that way, but hadn't figured out how to do it yet.

All the elements of these garments come and go in and out of fashion, but the overall trend seems to be using them more effectively over time. Over the decades, gradually stripping out more of the ham-handedness and getting a more concentrated dose of the active ingredients. More punch.

Technology plays a big role too. Some of these things look better today because they're made with better materials than were available back then.
posted by -harlequin- at 10:40 PM on January 2, 2011 [3 favorites]


Posted previously.

Old fashions never die, they just get reposted.
posted by stbalbach at 11:00 PM on January 2, 2011 [2 favorites]


The thing I love about 60s fashion as depicted here (besides the short skirts) is the lack of logos and advertising emblazoned everywhere. Even the people dressed in uniforms have simple understated branding and that is for their employer not whom ever was willing to pay.
posted by Mitheral at 11:12 PM on January 2, 2011 [5 favorites]


I would kill to be a 20-year-old in the 60s.

Ever think the material from that time which you now see is either the best/worst due to humans applying filters to the material?

Odds are you'd be disappointed. Although your stock picking should do ya well.
posted by rough ashlar at 11:47 PM on January 2, 2011


born in '59. this is my pre-puberty basically, by which I mean various babysitters, about as strange and alluring as I remember them.
posted by philip-random at 11:49 PM on January 2, 2011 [2 favorites]


Tasteless? Of course they can't taste anything, everyone smoked. And don't get me started on their computers. Yup, the past pretty much sucked.
posted by ryanrs at 12:03 AM on January 3, 2011


I say this as a woman who is old enough to have seen the shift in aesthetics for myself, but after the fashion, makeup and hair, what I notice is the pronounced lack of muscle tone, even in the skinniest models, (with a few exceptions--mainly dancers.) Looking strong, having visible muscle, was considered mannish, or low status--maybe the sign of a job doing physical labor? Exercising was about losing weight, not getting getting definition---may as well take dexedrine as do jumping-jacks, right? Being physically strong or having endurance just wouldn't have entered the mind of most women. Being athletic and being sexually desirable were opposite goals.

This all changes in the late 70s and especially early 80s, thank you Jane Fonda, etc.
posted by tula at 12:14 AM on January 3, 2011 [4 favorites]


Count me as one of the few who think the years between 1968 and 1988 were an utter travesty in fashion, with the 70s being the absolute nadir. Polyester, garishness, just all kinds of trends that make my stomach churn. I look at stuff worn by Marlene Dietrich (sp?) or by the younger Katherine
Hepburn or Greta Garbo or other pre-1968 actresses and I am just astounded by how classy and tailored and gorgeous everything was. What happened? The men looked fucking sharp as hell with their hats and shirts and coats. Even casual 50s jeans and white Tees still have a beautiful, timeless
vibe to them. I hate what happened to clothes after 1968. The world may have improved in many ways since then...but in fashion, arguably not so.
posted by The ____ of Justice at 12:53 AM on January 3, 2011


The nuns in miniskirts? Yes, ma'am.

"right menu: access denied"? Please.
posted by maxwelton at 1:01 AM on January 3, 2011 [1 favorite]


You could not pull off those sixties mini skirt fashions if you had anything less than gorgeous, cellulite-free legs. And those hairstyles are not achievable unless you have fairly straight, biddable hair. So for me, although I'm sure the sixties would have been hugely exciting, they would also have been a sartorial nightmare.

As for today's clothes being boring: well yes they can be. They can also be hugely flamboyant if you want them to be. There's a lot more choice now. Not everyone wants to go around making an aesthetic statement.
posted by Summer at 2:00 AM on January 3, 2011


I guess to me (born in '84) the sixties always conjure up a futuristic vibe. Probably because of my Star Trek obsession and the Space Age. That has only been reaffirmed as I discovered classic Doctor Who, classic Avengers and stuff like Danger Man and The Prisoner... the sixties are just cool.

I could maybe write something about this being obviously a very narrow view based solely on what has filtered through to me via Hollywood. But then I saw Diana Rigg.
posted by Harry at 2:03 AM on January 3, 2011 [1 favorite]


I look at stuff worn by Marlene Dietrich (sp?) or by the younger Katherine
Hepburn or Greta Garbo or other pre-1968 actresses and I am just astounded by how classy and tailored and gorgeous everything was.


The forties was actually the golden era of fashion. Even government-issued wartime austerity fashion was elegant. And it looked good on everyone. We lost a lot when we chucked good tailoring away.
posted by Summer at 2:07 AM on January 3, 2011 [4 favorites]


Summer--no kidding. Just one example. These looks aren't even high fashion, but they are still hella sharp. The women look like they communicate mostly through witty banter and they take shit from no one.

Compare this with the vibe given by somebody wearing...bellbottoms. Gah.
posted by The ____ of Justice at 2:50 AM on January 3, 2011 [2 favorites]


Well, T_oJ, that's because they weren't taking any shit from no one. They were driving lorries and making weapons and running farms and dodging bombs and living on powdered egg and spam. Those women were tough.

It's one of those weird things - women have more legal rights and higher social standing now than they ever did, but on film they're Cameron Diaz and Renee Zellweger. Back then they were Jean Harlow, Mae West and Lauren Bacall. What's going on with that?
posted by Summer at 3:23 AM on January 3, 2011 [3 favorites]


I tried my best to be a fashion plate, back in my youth. This substantially hindered by the fact that we were on a family-wide austerity plan while my father poured everything back into our burgeoning business, and the simple reality that I existed in a strange gap in the extended family's child-bearing plan that ensured that all my hand-me-downs were five years old and came mostly from my cousin Betty.

She was a busty girl, so I was used to wearing tops that were curiously roomy up top. My favorite was a t-shirt printed with a huge face of a leering tiger with inexplicably large and baggy eyes, and I'd wear that with double-knit checkered bell-bottoms and Jesus sandals with recycled tire soles that I thought looked best with brightly-colored socks, usually of contrasting colors. I loved moccasins, too, and my mother would make us our own pairs from Tandy Leathercraft kits, so while the other kids were sporting stylish violet suede Jox sneakers with chartreuse accent stripes, I was flapping around in homemade shoes that belonged in a play about Pocahontas.

They were damned comfortable shoes, though.

When I'd outgrow my double-knit checkered bell-bottoms, my resourceful mother would occasionally revive them for another season by stitching a band of lace to the bottom hem to extend their reach. I was subtly made aware of the fact, one day while I was unsuccessfully playing baseball in my usual position of far, far outfielder, that I was beginning to look like a forward-thinking drag queen with a wry sense of style when my mean gym teacher called out to me in the middle of a play.

"Lynda!" he yelled, and I resumed standing around being bored, because I was fairly certain he wasn't speaking to me. "Lynda Taylor! Pay attention!"

He seemed agitated, or at least I thought so, seeing him as an ant-like, tiny figure somewhere near the horizon, until he stomped over, stalling ten feet away like he'd suddenly run out of gas.

"Lynd— Oh...Wall. I thought you were Lynda Taylor."

I was wearing a white peasant blouse that I insanely thought to be a sort of Edwardian shirt, one of the few things I'd actually picked out of my cousin's clothes because it looked so rakish and elegant I was sure it summed up my inner Errol Flynn. I looked down, realized that I was more or less wearing girl clothes from head to toe, and flushed a painful red. After that I insisted on jeans, or better yet, lush, velvety corduroy, in rust-colored wide-wale when it was available.

Usually, though, I got stuck with factory second Tuffskins from the Sears Surplus store that were labeled with a thick rubber plate in place of the usual fake leather patch and were as blue as the deep ocean, bounded by stitching as orange as 1977, and were so stiff for the first year that wearing them was essentially a resistance-training exercise program comparable to Marine boot camp.

Besides, we were making a little more money by then, and I was starting to be asked what I wanted to wear, rather than just dressed in the leftovers of my hipper and more successful cousins. Unfortunately, velour was rising, and particularly v-neck velour tops with ribbing cuffs and futuristic asymmetrical contrasting velour insets with high-fashion piping, and worse, I loved Space:1999 and was convinced that I could be living in a colony on the moon if I just emulated that style as best I could. I'd always pick the most out-there velour, and the most skin-tight rust-colored wide wale corduroy trousers, and I was certain that I'd be living in the future very, very soon.

Our school was new and experimental. No windows, classes in huge open pods, carpet everywhere, even on the walls, and a library full of beanbags and space-age white Saarinen tulip chairs. I wasn't dressed like a regular girl from '73 anymore—I dressed like sexy, sexy Tony Verdeschi and I was properly sportin' until I saw the episode "Dragon's Domain" and was so completely traumatized that I had to start dressing like a normal kid, lest tentacles fly out of a doorway and turn me into a smoking skeleton.

It's best not to elaborate on where my fashion sense went in the eighties. By the nineties, all I wore was a uniform, with jeans and black t-shirts each day, every day, and my closet was like a darkroom. I went through a phase of wearing everything so large that it looked like I'd woken up tangled in my bedlinens and just said "fuck it," and went out on the street that way, dressed a little better in the last half of the oughts, then fell back into my uniform tendency.

This year, I've sworn to dress more like Michel Moers, the snappily-attired vocalist for Telex, who always made me blush and giggle like a schoolgirl as a young man-about-town. I'm collecting white silk scarves and looking for a cheap pair of clear-framed glasses as we speak.

I never seem to learn.
posted by sonascope at 4:31 AM on January 3, 2011 [8 favorites]


oh thanks, make me feel even older. Just what I needed for the new year!
posted by Old'n'Busted at 4:32 AM on January 3, 2011


No love for Mary Quant?
posted by MonkeyToes at 4:48 AM on January 3, 2011


I'll tell you what it was like. 1966. One morning, every young woman comes walking out the door in one of these A-line mini-skirts, showing acres and acres of beautiful leg. But what you can't see from these pictures, is that simultaneously, they have abandoned their brassieres.

This dual, no-bra/miniskirt attack was the cruelest, most effective tactic in the generational war. It absolutely destroyed middle-aged men. The sexual dreams of every fellow who'd come of age in the depression and fought in WWII came true -- but not for themselvs. For their good-for-nothing sons! This drove the middle-aged men of the 60s absolutely insane. Every marriage in the country literally or figuratively broke up at that moment. The middle-aged man, couched in monogamy, committed to supporting a family, mowing the lawn, earning a paycheck, looked like a complete ass as the streets sprouted thousands -- hundreds of thousands of beautiful young women, bouncing along nearly bare-legged, boobs a-bobble, hair hanging free, their little purses holding little mandala packs of birth control pills.

Unfortunately, the constancy of middle-aged, middle-class men is what holds society together. And the collapse of their self-confidence in the face of this assault, basically destroyed everything. We are still crawling from the wreckage.
posted by Faze at 4:59 AM on January 3, 2011 [23 favorites]


I would kill to be a 20-year-old in the 60s.

Depending on your draft and economic status, you might have had to.
posted by jonmc at 5:11 AM on January 3, 2011 [3 favorites]


Miniskirts ruined America! I knew it!
posted by r_nebblesworthII at 5:48 AM on January 3, 2011


I would kill to be a 20-year-old in the 60s.

If you were a guy, you certainly could have killed, and/or been killed, in Vietnam.

Let's not romanticize the 60s as all LSD and Mary Quant. They were ugly times.

I hate these clothes. I'm glad fashion has democratized for most of us.
posted by fourcheesemac at 5:53 AM on January 3, 2011


To see all these fashions in action, I highly recommend The 10th Victim. A whole film dedicated to mod miniskirts driving middle-aged men insane.
posted by bendybendy at 6:12 AM on January 3, 2011


Cripes, more public camel toe and bulges than your average porn site.
posted by clvrmnky at 6:14 AM on January 3, 2011


the constancy of middle-aged, middle-class men is what holds society together

No, the constancy of middled-aged, middle-class women is what holds society together. The men just covered their erections with the racing pages and became this.
posted by Summer at 6:55 AM on January 3, 2011


And those hairstyles are not achievable unless you have fairly straight, biddable hair.

The Jeannie C. Riley pictures have an almost Inception-like surreality to them. I don't think today's hairspray could even produce that look. You would need vintage cans still powered by fluorocarbons.
posted by Joe Beese at 6:57 AM on January 3, 2011


This drove the middle-aged men of the 60s absolutely insane. Every marriage in the country literally or figuratively broke up at that moment. The middle-aged man, couched in monogamy, committed to supporting a family, mowing the lawn, earning a paycheck, looked like a complete ass as the streets sprouted thousands -- hundreds of thousands of beautiful young women, bouncing along nearly bare-legged, boobs a-bobble, hair hanging free, their little purses holding little mandala packs of birth control pills.

Fortunately, Faze, it also drove one Brit writer Kingsley Amis to brilliant comic creativity.

Your lovely, acid comment pretty much perfectly describes the typical Amis anti-hero of novels like Lucky Jim, Take A Girl Like You, I Want it Now and Girl, 20.

(Amis may have been a shit in his private life, but his fiction from the 1950s & 60s is still wonderful).
posted by Jody Tresidder at 7:28 AM on January 3, 2011 [1 favorite]


I put on some holiday weight and now I stand before my closet Moaning that my carnaby red pants are all bulgy and the matching red gloves are sweaty and my vests are all bunching out- winter takes such a tool on fashion and preposterous foppery. Oh well, I'll make it up with the white and brown golf shoes - cleats make excellent snow and ice shoes and you get that oh so desirable bump in height.
posted by The Whelk at 8:10 AM on January 3, 2011


jonmc writes "Depending on your draft and economic status, you might have had to."

I think i_have_a_computer is Canadian; we didn't have a draft in the 60s.
posted by Mitheral at 8:11 AM on January 3, 2011


I've lived in houses built in the 50's; lots of Canadians suffered from drafts in the 60s. Oh Pearson sashless windows, how I hated thee.
posted by bonehead at 8:29 AM on January 3, 2011


I want to download that entire website, and may just do so. I love the 60s aesthetic. Those are fabulous pictures.

It must have been so shocking to the war generation. It took me until I was well over 40 to understand a bit what the 60s and 70s changes must have been like for people who fought Hitler and won, and then saw their children turn so very, very strange.
posted by Savannah at 9:03 AM on January 3, 2011


Say all you want about the baby-boomers, but this is one thing they got very right.
Well, except for the piled-high hair, fake nails, and the troweled-on makeup. Scary stuff, actually.
posted by Thorzdad at 9:35 AM on January 3, 2011


Every marriage in the country literally or figuratively broke up at that moment. The middle-aged man, couched in monogamy, committed to supporting a family, mowing the lawn, earning a paycheck, looked like a complete ass as the streets sprouted thousands -- hundreds of thousands of beautiful young women, bouncing along nearly bare-legged, boobs a-bobble, hair hanging free, their little purses holding little mandala packs of birth control pills.

The sexiest Malthusian population explosion on record.
posted by edguardo at 9:52 AM on January 3, 2011


My favorite -- the Ducati ad part of the way down the hot pants set. You'd never, ever, see those legs sans a crazy amount of photoshopping in today's ads, but they're real here, and pretty fabulous.
posted by bizzyb at 10:11 AM on January 3, 2011 [1 favorite]


Unfortunately, the constancy of middle-aged, middle-class men is what holds society together. And the collapse of their self-confidence in the face of this assault, basically destroyed everything. We are still crawling from the wreckage.

Haha, good one! MeFi pony request: Instant rimshot auto-appended to all of Faze's comments.
posted by speicus at 11:21 AM on January 3, 2011


The middle-aged men of the sixties were a puzzle to me, and I want to just sort of snicker at the hubris that left them grousing around the cooler in their short-sleeved button-down shirts like widening ties, except there's so much more to it all than that. I want to laugh a cynical, mean sort of laugh at how they must of felt when the bras peeled off and the skirts rose until a stenographer bent over the hulking mass of the early photocopiers must have been like the grapes of Tantalus, forever out of reach, because they came back from the wars and the roaring industries of saving the world and then stomped their wives back in line, into the warped imaginary "traditional" gender roles that represented a comfort for them. The meanest, ugliest part of me wants to say "ha!" but I can't.

My childhood nickname, Joe-B, came from the confusion of living next door to Mr. Joe, a mild and amiable guy who lived in tidy little three bedroom ranch house with his older boys, Ms. Cathy, a sharp-tongued Catholic firebrand who collected glass hats and shoes and had a shivery Chihuahua named Toytoy that she dressed for every holiday. I'd stop over to visit, with a shuddering tiny Santa Claus perched among the hats and shoes in the picture window, and their life was just so different than the one we had just next door, in our two hundred year-old log house, where my parents differed from the hippies mainly in dress and musical tastes.

Mr. Joe was lovely, but so innocuous, and I always thought maybe there just wasn't much to him, or stories to be told. Most of the stories he'd tell were about the atrocities of my youth, and the Mr. Wilson sort of relationship we had at times, like when he stepped onto the carport to find me there, next to the open fridge they kept next to the station wagon, covered from head to toe with blue icing, which I'd meticulously removed from his kid's birthday cake.

It wasn't until later that the real stories would finally leak out.

At a picnic, I was breathlessly recounting disasters I'd read about in my youthful fixation on destruction, accidents, and calamitous occurrences. Describing the fate of the HMS Curacoa with lurid and pornographic detail about how it had been escorting the converted troopship RMS Queen Mary as it carried twenty thousand troops to the European theater, when it zigged instead of zagging. The immense bulk of the Queen Mary sliced the Curacoa neatly in half, and it promptly sank, taking hundred of British sailor with it.

I naively engaged Mr. Joe, hoping to regale him with my encyclopedic book learning about the event, and he looked back at me with a new kind of light in his eyes, and said.

"I know. I was there."

"What do you mean, you were there?"

"I was on the Queen Mary, shipping out for the war, when we hit the Curacoa."

"You were there? On the Queen Mary? For real?"

The tap opened and he started to tell a story that my father later said he'd probably never told, and it was rich and awful and amazing and terrifying, and the quiet, friendly guy you'd never notice in a crowd turned out to be a part of something so immense I couldn't really take in the scale of it. The tap opened, and for the next few years, he'd recount the moments, the crashing onto Omaha Beach and the blood and the death and the people and the power of those stories still gets me, reflecting on it again now, some years after his death.

You come up with the simplified version of the world, where the sixties were just an epic story of the peaceful hippies against the Blue Meanies, and the uptight white man's brigade against the advent of modernity, played out in the length of one's hair, skirt, car, and white picket fence, and yet it's just not real, anymore than the swirling mass of events roaring around like a never-ending hurricane in the oughts will make sense when they've been stripped down into fairy tales by the scouring passage of time.

All this makes these documents of history all the more fascinating, trying to unravel how people felt, and how they presented themselves, and how it was to be there, right then. Me, I crash-landed on the planet in the time of the Parisian student riots in '68, and it's taken years to piece together some notion of how it must have been for my parents then, with wars in the middle east and King assassinated and all the uncertainty and complexity of the world. I page through the photo albums and I see my mother standing there, holding my sticky little hand, in cats-eye glasses and a topknot and a homemade space age asymmetrical dress she'd made herself, caught in the half light between the fading world and the future, and I wonder if I'll ever know enough about that woman's world to make sense of who she is now.

Meanwhile, I keep my own collection, just to be able to explain it all. In the basement, my first computer, an Apple ][ plus, a few choice velour tops, and a flattened pair of homemade moccasins all wait with boxes of other artifacts, so the stories I tell will have a physical provenance, in case my memories drift too far afield of reality.

We look back and laugh, or lust for a fragment of the past without the actual baggage of the time, but it's all so much more than just that, more than just the skin-tight shirts and wild laced-up pants with a fringe, and that makes it all something else, just polyester icebergs briefly cresting in a deep, deep cultural sea.
posted by sonascope at 11:38 AM on January 3, 2011 [7 favorites]


For those interested in this sort of thing, check out Barbara Hulanicki's memoir of setting up Biba. V. interesting even if clothes aren't your thing.
posted by IndigoJones at 6:02 PM on January 3, 2011 [2 favorites]


It was amazing how rapidly things went downhill once Reagan got elected. I'm still bitter about it.
posted by warbaby at 6:46 AM on January 4, 2011


« Older POLENET   |   Is China eating our lunch, or not? Newer »


This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments



Post