Archives for posts with tag: fashion police

As a knitter, the Intelligent Craftafarian, as I call Kate Davies, is at the forefront of the British fashion sustainability movement (I say it’s punk, and it is spectacular). She has been asked by the awesome women who grow and shear their own sheep at Juniper Moon Farm in Charlottesville, VA to design a sweater made from heirloom hardy wool suitable for outerwear. (Dr. Davies gently sneers at the little girlie merinos, silk blends yet, that I’m crocheting useless little girlie garments with, which, she assures me, will pill and look ratty before they’re off the needle. So femme, my bad.)

The straight skinny on sustainable choices for fashion design. My theory is that the British art and fashion schools developed these curricula from straight edge punk culture. Alexander McQueen was the apotheosis of this.

There’s nothing I love more than a process story, about how things go from the sheep’s back to my back. The women will shear, card and spin the hardy wool, commission sweater designs from masters like Dr. D and then commission master knitters to make them. All by hand, for a sweater of hardy wool, barely twigless, that will outlast hard wear on your herring dinghy in the North Seas, perhaps, or digging peat on top of Ben Bleak, for perhaps three generations. Dr. D’s post touches too on the celebration of 21st century sheep farming as women’s work in the logo the ladies have designed, featuring ladies as both shepherd and shearer. (And sheep, too, I think. No nasty horns there.)

Juniper Moon Farm logo for their sheep-to-sweater project.
http://www.fiberfarm.com/2012/11/the-big-announcement

I can’t wait to see the heirloom/21st century Ninja shepherdess sweaters Kate and her colleagues design. This has set me to thinking about my local heirloom Navajo churro sheep, their hardy wool, and getting somebody to design an undyed fisherman’s type sweater based on Navajo designs.

From To Walk in Beauty: A Navajo Family’s Journey Home, by Stacia Spragg-Braude.

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Another PhD Brit knitter, like Kate Davies, the original Intelligent Craftafarian, who explores the female proletariat (Ackworth Quaker School, peonage system for Shetland knitters) through material culture, and Felicity Ford, the sonic feminist and all-night walker, takes on “fashion”, and the political and aesthetic significance of rolling your own. I think of these British historiennes, all under 40, as the theoreticians of the straight edge punk philosophy of the new crafters, inspired by Marx, Armageddon or Fugazi, whatevs.
Amy Twigger Holroyd defines makers and deconstructers of factory-manufactured fashion as “fashion Diggers”, after the Haight-Ashbury socialists and their earlier incarnation as 17th century British communists. She writes,

Fashion well-being is an under-researched concept which could be placed within a broader debate around body image and definitions of beauty (Corner 2009); however, I define it more specifically as a positive sense of ownership regarding clothing choices, and a feeling of balance between the self and others in these decisions.

Amy Twigger Holroyd

In arguing for fashion as an ethical self-representation, Holroyd crystallizes decades of observation on my part about fashion as authenticity.  The American philosopher William James discusses as purity, a character trait of saintliness, the fashion revolution instigated by the Quakers, to whom the Diggers were connected, and how it enraged the oligarchy.*
Chumbawamba – The Diggers Song
These are the people Alexander McQueen came from, overcoming enclosure, as Holroyd defines it in her PhD abstract on Fashion Diggers: transgressive making for personal benefit.
McQueen is the most important fashion influence of the past 50 years, I think, aside from street fashion, which is always the engine of the designers. Watch McQueen deconstructing a man’s suit. If you are in doubt that fashion is of the essence, take a look at McQueen in this Bridegroom Stripped Bare video; Dada will not even make you tell what is the high art work and movement the title refers to.  Trust me, it is art. Scroll down for it.
http://blog.metmuseum.org/alexandermcqueen/video/
(Pause while contemplating the most influential people in the past 50 years of fashion, most all of it up from the streets: Yves Saint Laurent and the pantssuit, Stevie Nicks, the Pointer Sisters, Westwood, and Kissi and Gumbs, the black ivy guys over at Street Etiquette.
Yves Saint Laurent pantssuit, by Helmut Newton, 1975.
Helmut Newton’s shot of the Yves Saint Laurent pantssuit, 1975.
Travis Gumbs and Joshua Kissi perfect an aesthetic of dress that is as good for working women as it is for black men. TCB Sauce, you could call it, with Blade Runner/bicycle messenger elements.
http://streetetiquette.com/2010/09/23/the-black-ivy-2/
Personally I am thrilled that somebody writing about fashion cites John Clare and the whole idea of the commons. You can Google it. Power to the people.
The peoples' poet, John Clare.
The peoples’ poet, John Clare, 1793–1864, who lamented the privatized enclosure of Britain’s commons lands, where poor people grazed their livestock.
http://www.poetryfoundation.org/poem/173204
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*In the autobiography of Thomas Elwood, an early Quaker, who at one time was secretary to John Milton, we find an exquisitely quaint and candid account of the trials he underwent both at home and abroad, in following Fox’s canons of sincerity. The anecdotes are too lengthy for citation; but Elwood sets down his manner of feeling about these things in a shorter passage, which I will quote as a characteristic utterance of spiritual sensibility: — “By this divine light, then,” says Elwood, “I saw that though I had not the evil of the common uncleanliness, debauchery, profaneness, and pollutions of the world to put away, because I had, through the great goodness of God and a civil education, been preserved out of those grosser evils, yet I had many other


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evils to put away and to cease from; some of which were not by the world, which lies in wickedness (I John v. 19), accounted evils, but by the light of Christ were made manifest to me to be evils, and as such condemned in me.

“As particularly those fruits and effects of pride that discover themselves in the vanity and superfluity of apparel; which I took too much delight in. This evil of my doings I was required to put away and cease from; and judgment lay upon me till I did so.

“I took off from my apparel those unnecessary trimmings of lace, ribbons, and useless buttons, which had no real service, but were set on only for that which was by mistake called ornament; and I ceased to wear rings.

“Again, the giving of flattering titles to men between whom and me there was not any relation to which such titles could be pretended to belong. This was an evil I had been much addicted to, and was accounted a ready artist in; therefore this evil also was I required to put away and cease from. So that thenceforward I durst not say, Sir, Master, My Lord, Madam (or My Dame); or say Your Servant to any one to whom I did not stand in the real relation of a servant, which I had never done to any.

“Again, respect of persons, in uncovering the head and bowing the knee or body in salutation, was a practice I had been much in the use of; and this, being one of the vain customs of the world, introduced by the spirit of the world, instead of the true honor which this is a false representation of, and used in deceit as a token of respect by persons one to another, who bear no real respect one to another; and besides this, being a type and a proper emblem of that divine honor which all ought to pay to Almighty God, and which all of all sorts, who take upon them the Christian name, appear in when they offer their prayers to him, and therefore should not be given to men; — I found this to be one of those evils which I had been too long doing; therefore I was now required to put it away and cease from it.

“Again, the corrupt and unsound form of speaking in the plural number to a single person, you to one, instead of thou, contrary to the pure, plain, and single language of truth, thou


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to one, and you to more than one, which had always been used by God to men, and men to God, as well as one to another, from the oldest record of time till corrupt men, for corrupt ends, in later and corrupt times, to flatter, fawn, and work upon the corrupt nature in men, brought in that false and senseless way of speaking you to one, which has since corrupted the modern languages, and hath greatly debased the spirits and depraved the manners of men; — this evil custom I had been as forward in as others, and this I was now called out of and required to cease from.

“These and many more evil customs which had sprung up in the night of darkness and general apostasy from the truth and true religion were now, by the inshining of this pure ray of divine light in my conscience, gradually discovered to me to be what I ought to cease from, shun, and stand a witness against.”[175]

[175] The History of THOMAS ELWOOD, written by Himself, London, 1885, pp. 32-34

These early Quakers were Puritans indeed. The slightest inconsistency between profession and deed jarred some of them to active protest. John Woolman writes in his diary: —

“In these journeys I have been where much cloth hath been dyed; and have at sundry times walked over ground where much of their dyestuffs has drained away. This hath produced a longing in my mind that people might come into cleanness of spirit, cleanness of person, and cleanness about their houses and garments. Dyes being invented partly to please the eye, and partly to hide dirt, I have felt in this weak state, when traveling in dirtiness, and affected with unwholesome scents, a strong desire that the nature of dyeing cloth to hide dirt may be more fully considered.

“Washing our garments to keep them sweet is cleanly, but it is the opposite to real cleanliness to hide dirt in them. Through giving way to hiding dirt in our garments a spirit which would conceal that which is disagreeable is strengthened. Real cleanliness becometh a holy people; but hiding that which is not clean by coloring our garments seems contrary to the sweetness of


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sincerity. Through some sorts of dyes cloth is rendered less useful. And if the value of dyestuffs, and expense of dyeing, and the damage done to cloth, were all added together, and that cost applied to keeping all sweet and clean, how much more would real cleanliness, prevail.

“Thinking often on these things, the use of hats and garments dyed with a dye hurtful to them, and wearing more clothes in summer than are useful, grew more uneasy to me; believing them to be customs which have not their foundation in pure wisdom. The apprehension of being singular from my beloved friends was a strait upon me; and thus I continued in the use of some things, contrary to my judgment, about nine months. Then I thought of getting a hat the natural color of the fur, but the apprehension of being looked upon as one affecting singularity felt uneasy to me. On this account I was under close exercise of mind in the time of our general spring meeting in 1762, greatly desiring to be rightly directed; when, being deeply bowed in spirit before the Lord, I was made willing to submit to what I apprehended was required of me; and when I returned home, got a hat of the natural color of the fur.

“In attending meetings, this singularity was a trial to me, and more especially at this time, as white hats were used by some who were fond of following the changeable modes of dress, and as some friends, who knew not from what motives I wore it, grew shy of me, I felt my way for a time shut up in the exercise of the ministry. Some friends were apprehensive that my wearing such a hat savored of an affected singularity: those who spoke with me in a friendly way, I generally informed in a few words, that I believed my wearing it was not in my own will.”

When the craving for moral consistency and purity is developed to this degree, the subject may well find the outer world too full of shocks to dwell in, and can unify his life and keep his soul unspotted only by withdrawing from it. That law which impels the artist to achieve harmony in his composition by simply dropping out whatever jars, or suggests a discord, rules also in the spiritual life. To omit, says Stevenson, is the one art in literature: “If I knew how to


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omit, I should ask no other knowledge.” And life, when full of disorder and slackness and vague superfluity, can no more have what we call character than literature can have it under similar conditions. So monasteries and communities of sympathetic devotees open their doors, and in their changeless order, characterized by omissions quite as much as constituted of actions, the holy-minded person finds that inner smoothness and cleanness which it is torture to him to feel violated at every turn by the discordancy and brutality of secular existence.

That the scrupulosity of purity may be carried to a fantastic extreme must be admitted. In this it resembles Asceticism, to which further symptom of saintliness we had better turn next. The adjective “ascetic” is applied to conduct originating on diverse psychological levels, which I might as well begin by distinguishing from one another.

http://etext.lib.virginia.edu/etcbin/toccer-new2?id=JamVari.sgm&images=images/modeng&data=/texts/english/modeng/parsed&tag=public&part=all

I have been married twice, once at 23 in church, to somebody my own age, and once at 30 in the courthouse, to someone 13 years older. Both outfits were carefully chosen. I was amused to see another bride of my vintage, the Parker Bowles, reiterate the unspoken rules I followed on both occasions when she married Prince Charles — once at the courthouse where they were actually hitched, and later, in a different outfit, for a blessing in the church which would not marry them.

 
What the mature bride — not a virgin, or married previously, wears is an essay best addressed by the late, wonderful Elizabeth Taylor Hilton Wilding Todd Fisher Burton Fortensky.* Except, and this is a huge caveat, that one is not a movie star, whether one is being married in church or at city hall because doing it in church would be over the top. One is a woman taking a serious vow in front of the community to which she is also pledging allegiance. Modesty — humility would be the appropriate response to reality, I think, but is perhaps also over the top — is the semiotic sartorial respect one pays to this vow. One is conferring honorable personhood upon one’s self by standing up for one’s life as a parent, a member of a social and economic unit, and captain of one’s own happiness. You take a stand.

 
The number one thing wrong with Kate Middleton’s wedding dress, and this is essays too, is that it referred to a movie star, Grace Kelly, and a Catholic one at that. The number two thing wrong with Kate Middleton’s wedding dress was that, as a mature bride, the veil over her face was as impudent as her sister’s butt in another inappropriate dress. What white lace means to a Catholic bride like Grace Kelly, who was more famous for her unvirginal behavior in Hollywood than she was as a Catholic, is essays too, many of them referring to the exquisite handworked lace on priestly vestments and altar cloths. It is a Catholic trope, a most unwise reference for an aspiring Hanoverian, as thoughtless as the veil.

 
Now me, I hadn’t been shacked up with my boyfriend for eight years before we were married in a church. I’d only been living with him for three years. I knew I couldn’t pull off either an Indian bedspread wedding — the 60s were over — and nor could I wear a veil over my face. Clothing has a meaning; I was taking a vow. To do so pretending to be a virgin, even one so well-known as Grace Kelly, would have been a dishonor to the vow, to the people I was doing it in front of, and to the honorable person I was declaring myself to be by volunteering to undertake such a vow. Repeat after me: I am not a movie star.

 
I choose Tricia Nixon’s two-tiered wedding veil, in the same spirit I had registered to vote as an independent two years earlier. For ethical reasons. She’d been married three months earlier one block away. The actual Priscilla of Boston hat part was more cloche-like than Tricia’s. It was retro, it was foxy, it was a hat in church, and there was no veil over the face. I read you, Tricia.

 

Tricia’s.
Mine. It was a power hat.
Unlike Tricia, I did not choose more lace to go with this very elaborate head dress. I wore a simple, long-sleeved, floor-length linen dress with a modest v-neck, belted just above the natural waist. My many bridesmaids used the same pattern to confect flowered cotton dresses. They wore big straw hats. My bouquet matched their dresses. Theirs matched mine.
I married for a second time seven years later, older if no wiser. This was in the courthouse. It was long-sleeved. It was short, just below the knee. It was white, because it was the groom’s first wedding, if not my own. It was Halston, heavy white silk, with a bias cut skirt which, quite frankly, hugged the boots, and a kimono-esque wrap top, loose,  tied with an obi-esque white silk belt, with a gaping V neck, carefully and invisibly pinned together, which required there be not only no veil, but no bra. Over each temple I wore a tiny bunch of orange blossoms. It was foxy, it was not retro but it did allude to another culture rather than another era, it was white, it was armored, it was formal. My shoulders and arms and knees, if not precisely the heart chakra, if that’s what you’d like to call it, were covered. I wasn’t a big cleavage person in those days; there wasn’t any. There was no hat because of the orange blossoms. It was not a cocktail dress, it was a power suit. He was already mine.
Twenty-eight years later, I was interested to see that the Parker Bowles followed the same formula. Short for civil. Long for church. White for the civil. Blue for the blessing. No veil, bien sur, could hide her diffidence, and the big question for the semioticians was, was the luxurious and remarkably discreet embellishment of the white ensemble impudent, festive, or appropriate to the station to which the Parker Bowles had so long aspired? The hat, as she has proved before and since, was to the Parker Bowles what the lapel pins were to the Queen. The billboard of her status. The Parker Bowles’ hats are always bigger and more assertively embellished than any one else’s in the country, except the Page Three girls vying for photo opps at Ascot in showgirl hats, and Kate Middleton’s. Middleton’s hats are smaller but more agressive, the Queen’s own hats are venturing into the Philip Treacy realm of assymetrical beefeaters with trimmed coq feathers and spirals.
Susannah and Trinny discuss the Parker Bowles short civil bride’s dress, 2005.
But the Parker Bowles stated her intention to spend the prince’s money and to take up his space with the I’m-here-get-over-it-Philip-Treacy-launch hat she wore to a 2004 garden party at Holyrood House on her first official appearance as the elderly live-in companion of the elderly Prince. Her civil marriage hat was almost as big, and her civil marriage outfit was almost as white as that first apparition. With this power hat did she stake her claim, to the man, to the plan, to the canal.
The Parker Bowles’ first engagement as the Prince’s live-in, June, 2004, Edinburgh, previous to their engagement.

Her hat will always be bigger than the Queen’s, and Duchess Kate’s.

 
Still, she observed the rule for all brides, old and young. No knees, no arms, and no shoulders. Short is civil. Long is religious.

 Short of it.

Long of it. Check Singer’s A Crown of Feathers for further semiotics if this picture doesn’t say it all.

Now, as we all know, Princess Lilian, duchess of Haland, is the captain of the Old Babes team.

In 1976, the king of Sweden finally gave the faithful Briton, who had been living with Bertil, the king’s uncle, since he was the naval attache in London in World War Two, permission to marry him. For her faithfulness and discretion, the king made her a princess of Sweden over and above the title she acceded to upon her marriage. As you would suspect, this mature bride has the very best wedding dress ever. Were I a betting man, I’d wager the Parker Bowles modeled her church dress on Lilian’s. Blue, armored, long, long-sleeved, with a big whacking diamond brooch and veiled pillbox hat. A power dress, not a sexy dress. She is asserting her personhood, her royalty, her standing to take a vow.

She is not asserting, having hung on to her prince well into her 60s, her seductiveness.

She is not asserting a right to be the cynosure of all eyes. Repeat after me, I am not a movie star.

She humbly covers her arms, chest, and head. The killer? Her sweet and humble bouquet of lilies of the valley.

Bonne chance, Lilian. You are the One.

King Carl Gustav, Princess Liliane, Prince Bertil, Queen Silvia, 1976.

________________________________

*Hilton, 1950, big poufy white dress and veil.
Wilding, 1952, organza-collared suit, flowered hat.
Todd, 1957, short-sleeved chiffon to the civil, hooded sleeved chiffon to the religious.

Fisher, 1959, long-sleeved, hooded brown chiffon for the religious.

Burton, 1964, 1975, long-sleeved short yellow chiffon with hyacinth hairpiece; caftan

Warner, 1976, matching suit, coat, and turban with fox trim, possibly Halston.

Fortensky, 1991 long-sleeved, floor length yellow lace
There is one constant here. Sleeves. Even at the eighth wedding, where Michael Jackson was the maid of honor, sleeves were worn.

Cover of "Paris Is Burning"

Cover of Paris Is Burning

I would like to know, if, in the vast gasbag annals of queer theory, any body like Judith Butler (who can be lucid, especially on Israel) has deconstructed “reading”. Is it related to the dozens? I’m trying to track down RuPaul’s citation of reading in Paris Is Burning, which certainly would suggest that reading originated in the black vogueing families. (Off to read the Wizard of Butler on Paris Is Burning.)

Gettin’ closer:
“For ‘reading’ means taking someone down, exposing what fails to work at the level of appearance, insulting or deriding someone. For a performance to work, then, means that a reading is no longer possible…the impossibility of reading means that the artifice works, the approximation of realness appears to be achieved” (Judith Butler, “Gender is Burning”).
http://serendip.brynmawr.edu/exchange/courses/femstudies/f07/archive/15

Here we go, here we go, here we go, chapter four in Bodies That Matter (good one!): “Gender Is Burning: Questions of Appropriation and Subversion”. This apparently ancient riposte to bell hooks’ reading of Paris Is Burning centers on hooks’ assertion that the voguers are misogynist — always one of the interesting questions underneath the visual, witty, and heroic pleasures (It takes a real man to be a drag queen, honey) of RuPaul’s Drag Race. Here we go, with the Reading Is Fundamental clips from RuTube:

I think I’ll be getting my fellow drag scholar and RuPaul fan, a brilliant 10-year-old who is  not allowed to use the intarnets, a copy of Bodies That Matter for Christmas. She can read it and ‘splain it to me.

As your bonus reading, on the theory that the only important thing happening in academia is queer theory, here is the wonderful Michael Cunningham tracking down the story of Angel Xtravaganza, who died in 1993, a star of Paris Is Burning.
http://opencity.org/archive/issue-6/the-slap-of-love

Here we have Angel reading for real, like a motherless child, the survivor strategy of resilience :

As David Gonzalez, one of Angie’s adopted children, says, “She was so for real, she could pull a fake in a minute. Someone that’s false, she could pull him out in a minute. She would never embarrass anyone, but after they left, she’d be, like, ‘She’s not for real.’ She just knew. And you knew that she knew. And if she thought you were a fake she wouldn’t have nothing to do with you.”

Happy trails.

Angie, mother of the House of Xtravaganza in the seminal queer theory documentary, Paris Is Burning, with supermodel Lauren Hutton.

http://kwikwee.com/2012/02/15/paris-is-still-burning/

I am thinking about granny chic, inspired by this bad avatar:

One fashion maven friend says all the girls in his hip neighborhood in London are doing it, and that its fashion message is vulnerability instead of armor.

From the ’60s, I bring this news dispatch. There was, first, Granny Takes a Trip, the famous 1966 King’s Road boutique which claims to have started it all, long before Vivienne Westwood, with the velvets, the Edwardian coats, and clothing the Beatles and Rolling Stones for their Revolver and Between the Buttons album covers.

I’d just like to point out that the Cockettes and the Pointer Sisters were simultaneously discovering the thrift shops of San Francisco, and one in particular which was loaded with panne velvet — the foundation stone of rock chic (with the special left coast twist of the Pointer sisters’ sharp, tailored, high heeled, skirted ’40s vintage wear as opposed to the Stevie Nicks/Talitha Getty drapey pants path).

Then we had granny dresses. Mine was not vintage, but purchased in a department store. Ankle-grazing, Empire waisted, with a high ruffled neck and long sleeves with ruffled cuffs. It had an ankle-grazing grosgrain ribbon bow under the bust. The essential gran elements were the high neck and the midi-length.

This vintage ’70s pattern gives the trope. It’s pastoral, pioneerish, possibly anti-capitalist, certainly communitarian:


http://www.tias.com/7392/PictPage/3923584504.html

And can be seen in its apotheosis on the backs of Warren Jeffs’ 50 Mormon wives:


http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2024150/Warren-Jeffs-trial-Paedophile-gets-life-sentence-50-brides-photo-emerges.html

Here, another London fashion observer friend has stipulated the valuable aesthetic criteria of defiance and insouciance. I’d say the Mrs. Jeffs were in defiance, yes?

We further had granny glasses — I remember in particular a hott pair of zinc wire frames with brown tinted lenses, kind of John Lennon meets Yves Saint Laurent — which were meant to detract attention from my then-resemblance to Bette Davis, and assert my resemblance to Trotsky.

Along the way there were granny boots — pre-Doc Marten, tight, over the ankle lace-ups, which looked hott with the long skirt.

Twenty-twelve brings us at least three permutations of granny, one of which, I do believe, is the 21st century London version the girls in the street are wearing. Fifty years after the founding of Granny Takes a Trip, it’s less about the panne velvets, the Edwardian tailoring, waistlines, and even those ’40s lace berthas a lot of the left coast vintage hipsters, legatees of the Pointer Sisters, can be seen jitterbugging in. It’s more about a layered pastiche, with the Doc Martens.

Sprigged and midi length have remained. This chick expatiates on the romance of how the skirt swings when you walk, and butches out the femme with the ubiquitous motorcycle jacket, always present when steel-toed boots are not:


http://fashionfoodfeminism.com/tag/granny-dress/

She found it in a thrift shop in pastoral West Virginia, and emphasizes the little girl playing dress-up element we find going rogue when it crosses the line into the Manic Pixie Dream Girl:

The floral dress is vintage by All That Jazz found at a Salvation Army in West Virginia. Long dresses aren’t exactly in my comfort zone. They’re ok, but I usually chop long dresses shorter. Since this isn’t my favorite dress I’m going to add it to the vintage store because it’s quite lovely. It flatters the feminine shape by flaring at the hips, but being tight across the waist. Plus, I enjoyed how the skirt flounced up and down when I walked. I felt like a kid playing with a toy and my toy was my skirt.

The difference between this and the ’60s granny dress is, I grew up wearing dresses. To school. Pants not allowed. Wearing skirts and dresses was quotidian until about 1980. Wearing them was not the gender-bending, shape-shifting event — whether insouciant or defiant — that it now is.

Then we have Cate Blanchette’s artisanal granny square dress:


http://www.news.com.au/entertainment/fashion/cate-blanchett-wears-crochet-dress-on-red-carpet/story-e6frfn7i-1225776287036

From the Australian label, Romance Was Born, this dress of Ozzie Blanchette is firmly in the artisanal punk tradition. The founders of the firm were both offered internships by John Galliano and turned them down to stay in Australia and pursue what they call more “laid back” Oz fashion energies. These appear to be carefully connected to a local artisanal aesthetic, descended from the pioneer Granny chain smoking, drinking tea, and embroidering crinoline ladies on the dish towels after a day of shovelling sheep shit alone in the outback.


http://www.bookdepository.com/Thrift-Fantasy-Rosemary-McLeod/9781869505097

There’s wildness down under, and my impression is that the punkness and the fiber arts are — like Oz’ special film aesthetic — encouraged by state supported art schools. There is, for this new nation, the romance of everything up in the attic. The Australians are the great hyperbolic knitters, the originators of the crocheted Great Barrier Reef, of the immortal Native Blossom Hat, by Lynne Johnson, in Jenny Dowde’s revolutionary book, Freeform Knitting and Crochet, and of Killer Tea Cosies which is probably the best and most expensive Granny Takes a Trip publication of all time.


http://www.amazon.com/Killer-Tea-Cosies-Make-Them/dp/1551920050

Here, Australian mathematician Margaret Wertheim, the founder of the crocheted Great Barrier Reef, discusses her inspiration, and sounds the clarion manifesto for the feminism and environmentalism in punk artisanal fiber work:

zGEDHMF4rLI

Crusty enviro punk knit sculpture is a far cry, however, from granny chic. Just to make sure you understand, here is the photograph of a knitting militant in her wedding dress.


http://www.amazon.com/Knit-Your-Own-Royal-Wedding/dp/B006CDDABK/ref=sr_1_2?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1335555980&sr=1-2

Oops, that’s not it. Couldn’t find it. But you get the pic.

Finally, the annals of 2012 granny wear uncover a prejudice among young men that any pair of underpants worn by their girlfriends which is not a thong is a granny panty. In other words, any coverage of the buttocks, much less the navel, is considered buzzkill.

What are granny panties?

So boyfriend always calls my underwear granny panties even if there not… what do you guys think granny panties are because i need to prove him wrong… he says granny panties are any underwear that cover your butt… but i tell him that its underwear that sags and sits up by your belly button…. what do you think?
Danica

Best Answer – Chosen by Asker

So…string bikinis…low rider boy shorts…are all considered granny panties!! I think not!! Tell you BF to wear a thong all day in jeans and see how comnfortable he is!! You’re right. Granny panties are for girls what tightie whities are for boys!!
http://answers.yahoo.com/question/index?qid=20080227081736AAjTnSP

This vista of a whole generation of young men schooled to internet porn standards depressed me so I had to go think about my granny’s panties.

She wore pink silk tap pants practically ’til the day she died. Old school is a good school. And definitely not granny chic.

I have a deep, deep, Boho streak which would have me dressed in lacy white ruffled cotton petticoats, bright colored prairie skirts, rose-embroidered off-the-shoulder peasant blouses and buckskin fringe, with orange and magenta embroidered touches, perhaps on the handknitted stockings, from the Estonian crafters on the island of Muhu, Frida Kahlo earrings and do rags and perhaps a Day of the Dead rose garland with rainbow colored ribbons over the ears? Or a room which looks like this. I have a deep deep resonance with Natalie Chanin and her boyfriend’s visionary art aesthetic, Dixie Boho, if you will, and African-American yard art.

But there are several caveats.

When I was young, I dressed for the office. And not as a hippie, either. I had to be six feet tall and bullet proof; peasant lace and hand hammered earrings would have had them stabbing me in the front, and not just the back.

Now that I am an old babe, I am sensitive to dressing for the office and the — negrifying effect of not doing so. You want to look hip, and there is a way of doing polychrome hipster Old Babe, as personified by Iris Apfel, which is genius, carefully curated, and requires a flat chest if not the entire substitution of clothes for secondary sexual characteristics — the number one aesthetic reason for going polychrome.

But imagine what Apfel’s trademark brutalist jewelry would look like on Stephanie Seymour’s chest.

Old Babe Iris Apfel

Iris Apfel, co-captain with Princess Lilian of Sweden, of the Old Babes team.

The immortal Stephanie, mother of four, in her see-through Chanel dress.

Now you need to turn to imagining what obloquy an old hippie chick gets from Britain’s highest paid journalist. A.A. Gill is Murdoch’s TV critic at the Times of London and has twice reviewed television shows by the Cambridge classics professor, 57-year-old Mary Beard, as unviewable on account of her appearance. The first time, Gill wrote:

…for someone who looks this closely at the past, it is strange she hasn’t had a closer look at herself before stepping in front of the camera. Beard coos over corpses’ teeth without apparently noticing she is wearing them. The hair is a disaster, the outfit an embarrassment. If you are going to invite yourself into the front rooms of the living, then you need to make an effort.

Mary Beard, in the ancient Roman latrines at Ostia.

Gill is as famous for his feral attitude toward women and shooting baboons, as he is for his alcoholism, his dyslexia, his lack of a college degree, his salary, and the 62 complaints that have been filed against him with Britain’s toothless Press Complaints Commission in the last five years.

This last time, as Beard hosts “Meet the Romans”, a well-received BBC doc on ancient Rome, Gill reviewed the show by saying that she is too ugly for television, except as a contestant on “The Undateables”, a British Channel 4 series about disfigured and disabled people who can’t find partners.

Mary Beard, professor of classics, Cambridge University.

While Beard does not dress in the kind of elaborate Boho chic I like, imagine the screams of obloquy she’d get just walking down the street in a prairie skirt. Virginia Woolf radiated vulnerability and Bohemianism; according to her husband, people would literally point at her and laugh as she walked the streets of London.

Only young ladies want to inspire that kind of derision, one of the real reasons for the young, and not just the old, to have blue hair. To annoy the bourgeois.

I think Boho chic is the purlieu of the rich, the young, and the unemployed. Real Bohemians, like de Kooning, wear work clothes, paint-spattered jeans. Which brings us to exhibit A of my manic pixie dream girl find of the day, a Boho chic costume, shot in Instagram, by the manic pixie dream mom who freaked me the eff out this morning.

Given my love of Boho chic, tell me what is wrong with this outfit? Why is it not making me lust for it? The last person I saw in a fab Boho chic outfit was Jericho Poppler Bartlow, the old surfer girl, at a meeting of the Surfrider Foundation in Long Beach, and it was awesome, moving into the Talitha Getty zone.

Jericho Poppler Bartlow, surfer chick.

Rock on, Jericho.

But so here is the outfit that is So Wrong. A friend elsewhere has weighed in on my private blog. You do the same. It has to do with the infantilization — the replacement of the secondary sexual characteristics with clothing that is — ohhh grrrl, just say it. Limp. The young lady’s granny chic pastiche, unlike Iris Apfel’s masterful polychrome Old Babe collage, is …Not Sexy.

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