Sunday, April 18, 2010

American Experience: Vogue US May 2010

Peace, war, and what they wore. Historic archetypes of American styling, ringing down through the years, continually inspire modern designers' dreaming. Here's how six quintessential American looks are born (again, and again) today.

The Gibson Girl
Vogue pulls together a modern sporty take on the Gibson Girl with her curved silhouette and hair piled high.

Before the start of World War I, the Gibson Girl was the rage. She was the personification of a feminine ideal as portrayed in the illustrated stories created by illustrator Charles Dana Gibson during the late 19th and early 20th century in the United States. The Gibson Girl was tall, slender yet with ample bosom, hips and bottom in the S-curve torso shape achieved by wearing a swan-bill corset. Her neck was thin and her hair piled high upon her head in the contemporary bouffantchignon fashions. The Gibson Girl was feminine but also broke through several gender barriers for her attire allowed her to participate in sports, including golf, roller skating, and bicycling. The most famous Gibson Girl was probably the Belgian-American stage actress, Camille Clifford.

The Bohemian
Vogue's version of the artistic bohemian.
Bohemianism is the practice of an unconventional lifestyle, often in the company of like-minded people, involving musical, artistic or literary pursuits, with few permanent ties. Bohemians can be wanderers, adventurers, or vagabonds. The term bohemian, of French origin, was first used in the English language in the 19th century to describe the non-traditional lifestyles of marginalized and impoverished artists, writers,journalists, musicians, and actors in major European cities.

The Flapper
The Flapper girl of one of my favourite fashion era, the roaring-twenties. 

In the 1920s, flappers broke away from the Victorian image of womanhood. They dropped the corset, chopped their hair, dropped layers of clothing to increase ease of movement, wore make-up, created the concept of dating, and became a sexual person. They created what many consider the "new" or "modern" woman. A skinny boy's figure was suddenly de rigueur on grown women... and has remained popular (with a few ups and downs in the bra-cup department) for nearly 90 years.

The Patriot
Dressed in military greens and camouflage prints. 
War-time work drove waves of women into factories and offices. Ornamental frills and frippery gave way to pockets, plain colours and freedom of movement.

The Screen Siren
Lara Stone, resembling a young Kim Basinger.
The formula is simple - hug the figure, reveal the best Lana Turner assets, gesture big, and think Edith Head (the American costume designer who garnered eight Academy Awards—more than any other woman in history. 

The Heiress
The elegant debutante with heiress with her waved hair, diamond jewels, strapless gown and a crimson-lipped pale face. Few looks (save for, perhaps a perfect tuxedo on a clean-shaven man) have had such social longevity.


sameum said...

The Gibson Girl Camille's curves are frightening..

Unknown said...

I quite agree!
Her body proportions are of inhuman proportions, but not unlike the society's ideal models of today (with legs up to their armpits) =P

sameum said...

I've got a bunch of questions about fashion..

1. More often than not, why do they try to make the models ugly?

2. Whats the point of a cat walk? Is it supposed to make people want to wear the clothes? If so, why do they do point put forth in question number 1?

Unknown said...

Runway clothing is supposed to look theatrical and unobtainable, that’s the glamour I guess.You see the more outlandish designs, those are more like art creations, just to show off the designer’s skills and creativity. After they show those, they usually go to the more 'normal' clothes, watered down for the season’s ready-to-wear lines.
So designers don't really "try to make the models ugly" models are just blank canvases. Karl Lagerfeld says that he views models as blocks of wood on which he hangs his creations.
The point of a catwalk is ultimately to sell the clothing, which sometimes means creating a more theatrical display to catch the eye, not necessarily showing the practicality of the clothes. The designer uses the fashion show to convey a mood and concept that inspired him/her in creating the collection.

There, I tried my best to answer your questions :)

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