Saturday, 3 August 2013

Decades Apart

I loved the sixties from an early age. It began with an interest in beehives and mini-dresses. Like many I adored the images of Twiggy, all large eyes and long legs. Other cultural touchstones fed my fascination: Mary Quant, Biba, The Beatles, Carnaby Street, The Kinks, Flower Power, the CND peace sign, brightly coloured VW camper vans. After the visuals came the movements. Feminism. Youth Rebellion. Martin Luther King’s marches.
I’m reducing the fleshed-out figure of a decade to a few rib bones, but it gives a taste. Besides, to many my age the sixties is composed of this skeleton-like assortment of bits. I guess it’s the case with any decade. With the seventies come flares, glam-rock and NHS glasses. With the eighties it’s shoulder pads and Thatcher. So much happens in the course of ten years. Music, fashion, film, politics, cultural output, revolutions, economy, wars, trends, technology – the list of changes and transitions stack up quickly. Labour to Conservative. Rock n’Roll to Pop to Punk. The cinema to TV to computer to tablet.
A varied set of recognizable markers usually stands in for the whole. The whole can only really be gauged if one is a historian or a keen enthusiast. It requires books and research and plenty of interest.
I wonder what the 2000s or the decade we’re currently living through will be condensed down to? There will be the major global events, of course. But what if we focus on fashion? There are no unifying looks – no style that seems so unique that it could become a symbol. Or maybe there are. Maybe we can’t pinpoint what will represent our times because we’re still living through them. But it seems that it will be different from before. Where the sixties could be distinguished by certain patterns of fabric or the length of a hemline, now is the time of constant change. Things don’t alter by the year, but by the month – or even week. What was considered trendy in May has already moved on. A look that once took time to develop is now produced, publicised and deemed passé within a short time span.
The advantage of this is greater acceptance when it comes to wearing what you want. Rigid conformity does exist among the most serious of style devotees (and perhaps remains strong for many young adolescents still trying out an identity). But we plunder the past more than ever before. Twenties' flapper dresses rub shoulders with seventies' lurex. Whatever you’re interested in, there will be something to suit you. Technology advances have also given rise to Mary Katrantzou’s extraordinary prints, with interiors and postage stamps transformed into wearable items.
We live among great possibility. But is there just too much of it? Every day thousands of new snaps are uploaded and comments made. You're reading this on one of the millions of blogs that currently exist, with new ones springing up every single day.
I’m fascinated to know how the years from 2010 to 2020 will appear to the next few generations. Maybe we’ll look back and find ourselves distinguished by an obsession with reality TV and Twitter (I hope not). Maybe it’ll be seen as a time of immense change, for better and for worse. Or maybe so much of it that feels important right now will be forgotten, filed away, left for academics and obscure books. That’s a lot of maybes. But then again, nothing is definite.  

This multicoloured sixties two-piece was picked up in a local charity shop for £10. The dress and little coat were actually on separate hangers in different parts of the shop. I fortuitously found both and bought them together. The sandals are from Jones bootmakers and all accessories are vintage - including original sixties clip-on earrings from my paternal grandma. 


Ivana Džidić said...

fantastic outfit dear! I agree...the 6oties are something special.

I also something thinks what will we think of this age we live in...of our obssession with reality tv and etc...

Will we think that Farenheit and The Brave New World have come to life...or even Big Brother?

I hope not...I do think there are many good things happening right now...not just the superficial stuff. There are still writers that make me think, photographs that amaze me and songs that make me cry...I think there is still hope for us:)

Cloud of Secrets said...

I wonder a similar thing. What will my (grand)children wear for fun to evoke the Millennium years, or the 2010s? The 90s were also a fashion-diverse decade that saw lots of changes, but I feel like that can be evoked with flannel shirts, combat boots, and holey jeans; silk slips worn as outwear with rhinestone baubles; or overalls and Birkenstocks.

When I think of a 2010s woman, what immediately comes to mind is skinny jeans, a flowing top, maybe a fitted jacket, and ballerina flats or power heels. A piece of costume jewelry. And a statement handbag of some sort. But that is just one tiny slice of our crazy-diverse style pudding.


What a marvellous colour palette in this sixties dress. I love that you managed to find the matching overshirt as well. I suppose for these times we are in technology will defintiely be a major reflection on our era, especially the influence on 3D printing lately. A beautiful rainbow of colour on you! :) x/Madison

Melanie said...

Wow, that's one outstanding outfit! Incredible. My friend saw a child trying to enlarge a photo in his colouring book by doing the reverse finger pinch that you do with an iphone. Shall I laugh or cry? I try to be optimistic about the future and also trying to perfect my filtering skills.

Vix said...

How fortunate for you to reunite both fabulous pieces for such a bargain!

Sofie Marie said...

I've definitely considered this many times, and it really feels like technology and the pace of change is truly exponential, and that we're living in the fastest decade yet. But, as you say it is so hard for historians to really analyse a decade until a few decades have passed, and even then it purely becomes an "interpretation"- a bare bones thing, like how you described our view of the sixties now. It all just becomes a bunch of icons.

(well done on your recent successes, I've been reading but not commented in so long! And the two piece is amazing)

Emalina said...

Fabulous psychedelic outfit, what a great find!

It's certainly worth considering what this decade/ generation will be remembered for. I for one hope it won't just be the speedy technological progress that defines and shapes our society...

Izzy DM said...

Really fabulous colors, and so funny I just posted this on Facebook: "Was I pregnant for ten years? I went shopping in Soho today...Really acid-wash is the new thing? And bellies out everywhere and neon everything? Oh wait, maybe I travelled BACK ten years. [And then in response to a friend] Oh these kids these days. I mean they're all gorgeous in Soho. They could all wear Hefty bags, but it was still a major shock to the system: "La la la, I'll go buy a dress for a wedding I'm going I come, off the subway, la la la, emerging to street level...WHAT THE HECK are people wearing?" It was like when McFly woke up in the 50s. (Back to the Future ref, just in case it's not as big in England.)

Willow said...

Fascinating article. I often ponder how we will look back on this decade (and hoped it won't be associated with social media addiction, "selfies" and an obsession with technology). It's also interesting to consider how fashion will be viewed. I suppose we'll have to wait and see.

Great 60's ensemble, I was actually listening to 'Sunny Afternoon' by The Kinks while looking at these photos (they went together quite well).
What fabulous charity shop scores both the dress and coat were. Gorgeous shoes, too.

Anonymous said...

True, things change so quickly in the course of ten years. Did you ever think how odd it is that we lump cultural ages into definable, ten year chunks of time? As you so well stated, "A varied set of recognizable markers usually stands in for the whole."

I do hope the 2010s don't become distinguished in later years as a time of obsession with social media, reality tv, pop culture and the like.

Nice ensemble, Roz, well done as usual.

OrigamiGirl said...

I think that we'd be surprised at how there are set patterns in the last few years. We have certain prints like galaxy, an a fascination for making pastels look more grown up and classy.

But I do agree, we copy and switch trends and styles all the time, but I bet the 90s thought it was all very different too and yet we say things like scrunchies and denim jackets are that period. Some how it was dictated that those useful items belong to that decade!

Anonymous said...

I'm not sure what's defining the decade we're currently in, but I feel there are watered down trends from the 'naughties' - no where near as visually strong as the likes of the 60s and 70s though. Typically I'm thinking about straightened hair, handkerchief/asymmetric tops, ballet pumps/flats and skinny jeans.

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