Chanel Classic Reborn

fallback-1280x720Imagine a time where social etiquette dictated that you match your shoes with your outfit.  Actually maybe don’t… it’s too depressing.

Well in 1957, after ‘inventing’ the little black dress, the braided suit and the much lusted after quilted bag, Gabrielle Chanel broke with convention again to bring her patrons the two-tone shoes, liberating women from the antiquated perception of elegance.

Starting with the signature black and beige, Chanel subtly varied the colour palette over the years, but continued to use the sling back silhouette until the 60’s, when the foot was enveloped completely.

This AW16, creative director Karl Lagerfeld re-embraced Gabrielle Chanel’s two-tone style sending every look down the catwalk in the classic heels. Whether the model was sporting a trouser suit, or an evening gown, the shoe stuck. Demonstrating, in Karl’s words, how ‘the slingback has become the most modern shoe’.

With the new collection launching in stores this week, the Parisian fashion house has made exclusive slingback videos on their youtube with the fashion world to celebrate the reintroduction of one of Gabrielle Chanel’s most underrated but revolutionary designs.

Levi’s Slump?

Levi Strauss, maker of the world’s most famous blue jeans, has said that sales of belts and other accessories are now growing significantly faster than sales of its denim clothing for the first time, amid stiff competition from the sportswear market.

The rising popularity of fashionable sports clothing, such as yoga pants, prompted a 5% slump in US jean sales last year.  “Every one of our categories outside denim is growing faster than denim,” said James Curleigh, president of the Levi’s brand.  Around 80% of sales still come from jeans, but Mr Curleigh said that the company was now working towards a 50-50 split between jeans and accessories.

Levi’s has recently relaunched its womenswear range and added more stretch into its jeans to respond to changing fashions.

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Levi Strauss is moving beyond jeans into Yoga

“We’ve launched more casual and more contemporary styles than ever, we’re back in growth mode,” said Mr Curleigh, speaking on the sidelines of the World Retail Congress in Rome. “No one traded their entire wardrobe for yoga pants,” he added.

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Mr Curleigh said that Levi Strauss was fighting back by attempting to harness the vintage clothing trend, rather than trying to compete with cheaper fast-fashion brands.

“Fast fashion helps drive energy in the sector, but what we’ve realised is the best you ever look in a fast-fashion item is the first time you wear it and then in a year it’s either not relevant for style or it’s lost quality. But in a pair of Levi’s the best you’re going to look is one, two, three, five, 10 years in the future,” he said.

Levi’s recently opened a concession in London’s Selfridges department store with vintage clothing specialists ReDone.  “I don’t believe that there is another jeans brand that will have been sold for $30 20 years ago that is now being sold for £250,” said Mr Curleigh.

What do you think about Levi’s current slump?  Do you believe it’s because vintage Levi’s are better than new Levi’s?  Why not head over to our London location or Etsy shop to browse our vintage Levi’s collection.  (Cause yes, vintage Levi’s ARE better than new Levi’s.  Why?  They are the most classic American trend.)

Dita’s Lingerie

As the Retro Wardrobe Queen launches her vintage inspired lingerie line in Harrods (it’s gorgeous, BTW) Dita Von Teese took time out of her schedule to talk about something she’s more than well versed about. Vintage fashion….

5806a41b440b3d9e3da388e1fe798856Q: What’s the most precious item of vintage in your wardrobe?
A: I have a suit by Christian Dior haute couture from the New Look era. It’s three pieces in tweed and is the kind of thing you see in the museums. with the red serial number stamped on the inside. It’s the real thing made in Paris and silk lined. The blouse has garters – it’s really incredible. It was expensive but I found out later I’d scored. Today it’s worth as much as a Mercedes.

Q: Do you have someone who alters your things?
A: I have one great tailor who can do anything. She’s great. I would really recommend finding someone for yourself if you are serious about vintage because. For almost twenty -five years, I used to go to any old tailor and there are so many things that have been ruined by not being altered properly. The lady I now use is very conscientious about keeping the style right and making some allowance for when your size fluctuates, and you can let it back out.

Q: What’s the best way to work out if something’s good quality?
A: A lot of my vintage dresses from the 40s and 50s are homemade. But with vintage clothes you need to be prepared to put in the maintenance. I’m constantly having things fixed because they’re so old: threads break, zips buckle. There’s upkeep involved for sure and you have to be prepared to restore things to keep the quality at a premium.

Q: Do you think there’s anything that’s better as vintage than modern.
A: I think the ready-to-wear clothes were more glamorous back then, for sure, and the fabrics were so much nicer. Before the era of stretch they had these beautiful fabrics like grosgrain satin and silk fabrics and beautiful prints – quality was much better than it is now.

Q: How do you look after and wash vintage items?
A: I have a really good dry-cleaner. Living in Hollywood, I have access to people that really know how to handle delicate things because of the movie industry. Back then, women used to wear slips or dress guards under their clothes so they didn’t have to clean them so often. I think this makes sense.

Q: Do you ever go into charity shops or just the top vintage shops these days?
A: My favourite event for shopping is twice a year in LA. It’s the Vintage Clothing Expo. The dealers from all over the country come to sell and it really is the best vintage shopping experience in the world, allunder one roof. It’s fantastic, and the prices are good. I don’t go to charity shops anymore because those people [at Vintage Expo] have already been there to clean those things out.

Q: Do you still get a buzz out of finding a great item?
A: I still love the thrill of the hunt. The reason I started dressing in vintage in the first place was because I couldn’t afford designer clothes so I started to find my own way to get like the look that I would see in fashion magazines and create that look for less. But I still like getting a deal. I get excited about scoring.

A: How do you do vintage on holiday?
Q: I like 50s summer dresses in crisp cotton dress or a skirt paired with a simple T-shirt. There’s a designer called Rachel Palley, who makes these delicious long Grecian style dresses who I love, so between the 50s dresses and the Rachel Palley dresses, that’s my holiday look, mixed in with vintage hats and bags.

A: What would you never buy vintage?
Q: I don’t buy vintage shoes anymore because I’ve ruined so many pairs that were so beautiful; I think they should be left alone. I don’t dress head to toe vintage anymore like I used to. I had a period in my life where I dressed head to toe vintage everything. I would have the hat, the gloves, the shoes, the stockings, the lingerie… even the car was vintage. I was really living in that period. Now I love to mix it up. My style has definitely evolved.

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Q: Have you ever worn vintage underwear before?
A: Yes, I have a big collection of it. I first started collecting vintage lingerie when I was about 17-years-old. I started collecting vintage slips and bras, mostly because I was trying to get the look of Jean Paul Gaultier. I always loved the bullet bras that he was doing in the early years so I would buy vintage lingerie to get that look and wear lingerie as outerwear because I didn’t have money to spend on designers. I definitely wore and collected a lot of vintage lingerie and I still do, mostly because I just love it but I don’t really wear it anymore – mostly I use it for reference.

Q: How has underwear changed?
A: It’s very different. I love some of the details [ of the old stuff] like I love button clasps instead of hooks and I love all the boning. In the 1930’s and ‘40’s lingerie was all lined in silk velvet; it’s so nice to have that against your skin. I use velvet in a lot of the straps in my current collection.

Q: You talked about underwear as outerwear. If somebody is a complete novice at doing that, what would you recommend?
A: Bustiers and bras with tuxedo jackets is a great look. Or under something sheer, like a sheer blouse, is a nice way to hint at underwear. Right now I’m wearing a Ulyana Shervinko [floral chiffon] dress with my Maestro bra [which you can see hints of.] With lingerie, I think there’s something about certain shapes that begs to be seen. For me, showing a little peek of beautiful lingerie underneath clothes is a little touch of femininity. It’s symbolic of womanhood and an example of what it means to be a lady.

d52458883234badb76832b3fa66e36beQ: I guess you were never a tomboy.
A: Never! When people said your child years are the best, that wasn’t the case for me. I could not wait to be a grown woman who could choose her own clothes instead of having them chosen for me. I was fascinated with lingerie from a very young age and used to go into my mother’s drawer and steal things and try them on. I think I really associate lingerie with something that we do that enhances our femininity and creates everyday moments of glamour and beauty. I don’t really think of it as something to seduce with. I don’t have my lingerie for a man even though I know the power of it.

Q: How would you recommend somebody introducing vintage subtly into their wardrobe?
A: I don’t recommend you go full on vintage but I think there are little classic hallmarks that look very modern. Red lipstick is one of those. It still looks very relevant and chic yet is very much of that time.

Q: Would you ever leave the house without a red lip?
A: I think I last left the house without a red lip in an emergency, taking my cat to the vets in the middle of the night. I put it on everyday because I’m just trying to maintain a degree of elegance. It’s about keeping decorum, about good manners.

Q: Last question, we can’t imagine you in tracksuit bottoms…
A: Ha! Me neither.

Source: Style UK

Newstalgia Psychology

Many clothing fashions and styles of previous decades have experienced resurgence in popularity, with Nike blazer trainers and 1970s-inspired floppy hats once again featuring prominently in high street retail stores.  Meanwhile, we have seen an explosion of second-hand clothing and vintage stores to cater for the demand in classic styles of clothing.

Nike's basketball shoe from the 1970's.

Nike’s basketball shoe from the 1970’s.

Psychologist Dr Glenn Wilson says Brits are increasingly embracing symbols of the past through fashion and other means but many aren’t necessarily willing to let go of modern comforts.

“In post-recession years of austerity, it’s not unusual for consumers to find comfort and reassurance in things that remind them of the past, from fashion to television programs and ironically even state-of-the-art gadgets. But at the same time people won’t compromise on the everyday modern technology they’ve become used to — giving birth to this new trend of modern products, but with a classic look and feel”, says Dr. Wilson.

“I think probably what’s happening is that technology is trying to move so fast, and people want to stay with it, but they begin to get anxieties and insecurities and are looking for a bit of driftwood to cling on to. Hence, modern technology with a classic design is the perfect way of compromising.”

The cherished Polaroid classic, the OneStep SX-70

The cherished Polaroid classic, the OneStep SX-70

However, it’s not just new products with a classic twist that are becoming sought after, with many old or antique electronic and technological gadgets also increasing in popularity, despite in many cases being technically inferior.

Following the announcement that Apple was stopping production of the original ‘classic’ Ipod, versions of the model were being sold for close to £600 — more than double their original retail price — on online sites like eBay and Amazon, amid a huge surge in demand.

This trend has also seen the resurgence of formerly popular products, like Polaroid cameras and vinyl records. Vinyl sales are at an 18-year high in the UK, with more than one million copies sold in 2014.

FSA agricultural workers’ camp. Bridgeton, New Jersey, 1942.

FSA agricultural workers’ camp. Bridgeton, New Jersey, 1942.

Dr. Wilson notes that along with ‘new-stalgia,’ traditional emotions of nostalgia are also well and truly alive in the Britain, and he says that the revival of the jukebox as a party novelty is seen as a sign of people wanting to enjoy something real and tangible as we move towards an increasingly digitalised world.

While nostalgia has always been around as an emotion, it seems that the pressures of modern society might be driving more intense feelings of longing for the past.

“I think there might be other factors that are tweaking or exaggerating it right now. Austerity could be one of them; again that often makes for insecurity. However all of the complexities in the modern world, terrorism being one, will lead people to look for familiarity and stability wherever it can be found,” Dr Wilson said.

With retro clothing, Polaroid cameras and vinyl records popular once again, it seems that more and more Brits are turning to the past for comfort as we continue along in this increasingly uncertain modern world.

Although a desire for past styles appears to be a constant in society, what isn’t known is just what will be the next ‘vintage’ trend, and when will our current fashion and style become becoming classic once again.

For more information on the psychology of new-stalgia , check out our source, Sputnik News.