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Vreeland, the 70s, kindness - Laura Wise

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March 29th, 2015


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09:44 am - Vreeland, the 70s, kindness
Because of the week's tiredness and general bleah, I found myself relaxing by watching fashion documentaries on the various streaming sites (Amazon, Netflix, Hulu Plus). As one does.

The 2011 film Diana Vreeland: The Eye Has to Travel, co-directed by the director of the new documentary Dior and I, was fascinating in its portrait of an eccentric icon, and in its explication of the link between the 1920s (when she made her mark and entered fashion) and the 1960s (when, as editor of American Vogue, she was a prime mover in covering the Youthquake of music, fashion, and art). Drawing heavily on her autobiography D.V. which was written with George Plimpton, the film nevertheless omitted some of the less appealing facets of her -- such as her casual racism -- which appear in the book. Still -- fascinating. (The Youtube trailer for the film: here.)

Vreeland also shows up, of course, in the 2013 HBO documentary In Vogue: The Editor's Eye, a celebration of 100 years of American Vogue. (The trailer is here; the whole film is on Youtube as well.) This film also showcases extraordinary, larger-than-life women, like Polly Mellen and Carlyne Cerf de Dudzeele, with female editors' voices from the 1950s to now. It's really telling in terms of the ways fashion and image-making have changed over the years -- and the way in which these strong women were not always kind or good bosses. (Vera Wang on Polly Mellen, wow.)

What both these documentaries highlight is something that Lisa Armstrong notesin her Daily Telegraph article "What did the 1970s ever do for us?" -- spirit without necessarily spending a lot of cash, or, "Style had far less to do with labels than verve." Click through to the essay, which is headed with an AMAZING photograph of Diana Ross on an NYC street in the 1970s. Miss Ross looks cool, collected, and absolutely modern. That is indeed spirit.

As I think about these women, these images, these evocations of style, I find a lot to emulate. But I do keep thinking about kindness too. For me that has to be part of style -- something beyond self-expression, thinking about how one lives in the world.

What's your favorite piece in your wardrobe? May you wear it with spirit and joy... and kindness.

(16 comments | Leave a comment)

Comments:


[User Picture]
From:janus_74
Date:March 29th, 2015 05:37 pm (UTC)
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I'm not sure I have a favourite piece in my wardrobe...it's all pretty plain, but I am trying to push my comfort zone. I bought mint coloured skinny ankle trousers while we were in Phoenix this week. And Vans with flowers on them :)
[User Picture]
From:laurawise
Date:March 29th, 2015 08:42 pm (UTC)
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Vans with flowers! How super-cute those sound -- and florals are on trend, as they say. :)

The trousers sound fun too.

Cheers for you!
[User Picture]
From:paratti
Date:March 29th, 2015 09:11 pm (UTC)
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I love hats. Hats for the win.

((Hugs))
[User Picture]
From:laurawise
Date:March 29th, 2015 10:55 pm (UTC)
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You look great in a hat! [applause]

[hugs]
[User Picture]
From:mamculuna
Date:March 29th, 2015 09:22 pm (UTC)
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The seventies were such a liberation, of course, after the fifties (the sixties were some kind of dream...) I remember a pantsuit I made, the only sort-of tailored thing I ever did well. The colors were the biggest problem for me (that suit was a sort of plum that wasn't hideous, but I'd never wear it now). But flared pants were definitely a gift to women of a certain shape! I still go for boot cut, which is a little less jokey looking, but still brings some balance.

Thinking about how one lives in the world...yes. Buying from consignment and thrift still makes me feel a little less bad about the women who made the clothes I wear, but everything I wear makes me wonder, sometimes, no matter who owned it before me.

Favorite piece in my wardrobe? In the winter just passed, it was my blue mock-down jacket, like wearing a cloud. In the summer, it will be something I'm sure I've forgotten right now that I own-change of seasons/change of closets is always a surprise, when I find things I forgot I bought at the end of the last season. Maybe there'll be something green and soft and drapey in there, or some sandals with great colors that make me happy to look down at my feet.

One more edit: What I really, really liked about seventies clothes was the body I had to wear them on! Not that I'm so bad for my age, but nothing like my early thirties. Ah, the 25-inch waist!


Edited at 2015-03-29 09:39 pm (UTC)
[User Picture]
From:laurawise
Date:March 29th, 2015 10:57 pm (UTC)
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I really liked Lisa Armstrong's point that 70s fashion, with its floaty dresses AND its pantsuits, was kinder to women's bodies and allowed women to move more freely than many later fashion moments! And yes, boot-cut trousers are great.

Your thoughts on buying consignment and thinking about who else wore the clothes are great.

Cheers, and hopes that you find wonderful treasures in your closet!
[User Picture]
From:gwynnega
Date:March 29th, 2015 09:43 pm (UTC)
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My green sweater-jacket with lavender velvet trim is probably my favorite piece in my closet, though I can only wear it when the weather is cool!

That article about seventies fashion is excellent.


[User Picture]
From:laurawise
Date:March 29th, 2015 10:58 pm (UTC)
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That jacket sounds perfectly you! :)

(I think of you whenever I put green and purple together.)

Cheers and hugs!
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From:freixenet
Date:March 30th, 2015 11:33 pm (UTC)
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I don't have anything I would call a piece in my closet. :hangs head: you, however, are a style icon and deservedly so.
[User Picture]
From:laurawise
Date:April 1st, 2015 12:18 am (UTC)
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You have amazing jewelry, F. And tango shoes! Those count! :)

[hugs]
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From:roguedemon
Date:March 31st, 2015 03:46 am (UTC)
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My most prized pieces are my scarf, hat, and jewelry collection. Accessories FTW! ;) Also, this winter I finally found a pair of black lace-up flat-heeled boots that I can actually wear comfortably (as long as I don't try to walk for miles in them) with my orthodics so I'd say they are pretty cherished.

I have a collection of what I call Agent Carter style hats, and I wear them with a slight tilt, as they should be. That always makes me happy. :) ((Hugs))
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From:laurawise
Date:April 1st, 2015 12:20 am (UTC)
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Scarves make me v.v. happy, although we're nearing the season where I only wear them indoors, in restaurants, offices, or similar; it'll be too hot to wear them walking around. Sad, I know.

Agent Carter style hats are so FIERCE, as are you! :)

[hugs]
[User Picture]
From:mobile_alh
Date:March 31st, 2015 04:59 pm (UTC)
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I dread the day when my caramel leather blazer finally bites the dust...DKNY at 75% off (thank you Nordstrom Rack!) and I've worn it season in and season out for well over 10 years...maybe a lot more, I can't remember anymore.

It's good to have clothes we can rely on.

Edited at 2015-03-31 04:59 pm (UTC)
[User Picture]
From:laurawise
Date:April 1st, 2015 12:20 am (UTC)
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That blazer sounds absolutely divine. Yay for it, and yay for you! :)

[hugs]
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From:claudia_yvr
Date:April 2nd, 2015 04:22 am (UTC)
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I would LOVED to have been in my teens, 20s or even 30s in the 1970s. So much freedom! You could dress up or you could walk around with hairy legs. Having sex was as casual as going bowling, to hear it told -- plus the pill was freely available, all STDs could be cured by antibiotics and the soft drugs were benign. The mind, it boggles.

And the cost of living was so much lower. Back in the early 1970s my parents had a combined income of $20,000 a year and were able to buy a very nice house with water and mountain views in a nice neighbourhood for $57,000 (or maybe it was $59,000) -- anyway, for roughly three times their income! Nowadays you have to pony up more than 11 times the average income here to afford a not-so-nice house without view in a crummy area.

Incidentally, Diana Ross looks amazing in that outfit. The absolute epitome of style. I have a photo of my mother during that era in a short white dress and thigh-high white boots; she had the figure to pull it off and looked fantastic.

My favourite piece is currently a black maxi skirt made of some of stretchy material that's oh-so soft. It's can be worn any time of year, dressed up or down depending on my choice of top and footwear. The waist is elastic, so it's forgiving yet flattering. It washes like a dream, just has to be hung to dry and doesn't require ironing as it never wrinkles. It goes without saying that it travels well.

::hugs, hugs::
[User Picture]
From:laurawise
Date:April 3rd, 2015 04:48 pm (UTC)
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I think the 70s in North America didn't have the same economic challenges as in the UK, but yes, housing was definitely more affordable!

That maxi-skirt of yours sounds fabulous. That's a proper pretty-but-practical prize! Love!

(I had to do the alliteration, I couldn't help myself.)

[hugs]

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