11th Annual Bulletin Board

It’s that time of year again for some of those weird things that struck my fancy over the past twelve months…:

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Fashion in Song – Air Force Ones (2002)

Air Force Ones was written and performed by American rap artist Nelly, and was released on his Nellyville album, November 7, 2002. It peaked at #3 on the U.S. Billboard top 100 chart. The song became popular with sneaker heads (sneaker collectors) who consider white Adidas Air Force Ones a ‘must have’ sneaker for the serious collector’s wardrobe.

Big boy – Big boy – Big boy

I said give me two pairs

(‘Cause) I need two pairs

So I can get to STOMPING in my Air Force Ones

(Big boy) STOMPING in my Air Force Ones

I like the all-white high-top strap with the gum bottom

(Big boy) there’s something ‘bout them that’s dirty why I got ’em

(Big boy) I leave um strapped and laced and come up out um

(Big Boy) the last person that touched ’em I been shot ’em (big boy)

Now if you looked, and seen lime green forces and kiwi

(Big boy) you couldn’t get this color if you had a personal genie

(Big boy) you now I keep it hip-hop, my niggas flip flop

(Big boy) yea my force ones and tip top

(Me) now form a flip flop, (big boy)

I like the limited edition to khaki and army green

(Big boy) patent leather pin stripe you should see how I do the strings

(Big boy) sistompinge twelve with the strap, red and white with a cardinal cap

(Big boy) all flavors well it just depends

On when and (don’t get me) where I am at (Big boy)

Don’t get me, don’t get me wrong man

And Murphy lee ain’t dumb man

(Big boy) ’cause if the shoe is on the shelf you should have some man

(Big boy) you cannot sit up and tell me that you have none man

(Big boy) you may not have three or four but you got one man (big boy)

I said give me two pairs

(‘Cause) I need two pairs

So I can get to STOMPING in my Air Force Ones

(Big boy) STOMPING in my Air Force Ones

I said give me two pairs

(‘Cause) I need two pairs

So I can get to STOMPING in my Air Force Ones

(Big boy) STOMPING in my Air Force Ones

We up in Footlocker I’m looking like I need those

(Big boy) ten in a half and if you got ’em give me two of those

(Big boy) I can tell she never seen Murphy Lee before

(Big boy) ’cause she’s just standing there as if I’m shooting free throws

(Big boy) I said excuse me miss I only wanna buy shoes

(Big boy) she said I love you Murph especially in the white in blue

(Big boy) I said the white in blue sound nice make it twice

(Big boy) and I signed an autograph “thanks for the advice” (big boy)

I keep it real dirty, dirty you know how I do

(Big boy) purple in gold with the Lakers the broncos the orange in blue

(Big boy) I like em floppy with ankle socks

Lows mids and high tops (Big boy) With the clear sole,

But this Tims and fat laces with it is cold

(Big boy) but when the winter goes and the hot summer flows

(Big boy) then it’s back to the all purpose with em and dots in the toe

(Big boy) then I’m stopping this dough that I’m spending fa sure

(Big boy) on them Nike Air Force “N” “E” behind the “O” (big boy)

Ok li, I treat my shoe like my ride

(Big boy) chrome on the fat laces at what wood on the inside

(Big boy) spray candy on the swoosh

With the electric poofs

(Big boy) since I put a kit on the sole now I got a wider shoe

(Big boy) you see that low misk with the purple coop I’m driving them

(Big boy), (Kyjuan, where you getting them colors, are you dying them)

(Big boy) ten is my sistompinge in them

No point in tiein’ them

(Big boy) ain’t no point in trying these on

You know I’m buying them (big boy)

Now don’t nothing get the hype on first site like, white on whites

(Big boy) them three quarters them lows they all tight

(Big boy) the only problem they only good for one night

(Big boy) ’cause once you scuff um you f*cked up your whole night

(Big boy) what’s my basis? The look up sto on his faces

(Big boy) this kids outrageous he buying them by the cases

(Big boy) ’cause once I cop um gut um and switch the laces

(Big boy) they all purpose ya heard me kinda like my Dayton’s (big boy)

I said give me two pairs

(‘Cause) I need two pairs

So I can get to STOMPING in my Air Force Ones

(Big boy) STOMPING in my Air Force Ones

I said give me two pairs

(‘Cause) I need two pairs

So I can get to STOMPING in my Air Force Ones

(Big boy) STOMPING in my Air Force Ones (big boys)

I wore spurs at first now there’s tape on them

(Big Boy) damn, when those come out so I write the date on them

(Big Boy) these Louis Vuitton ones, you gotta wait on them

(Big boy) I had to get em early so I spent more cake on them (big boy)

Look I’m trying to keep it up like a one-minute man

(Big boy) while Ali on the Kawasaki two head bands

(Big boy) jewellery and all, fish bowl in the mall

(Big Boy), (I got some fifteens) security buying shoes and all (big boy)

Now some time I get em free some time I gotta pay

(Big boy) walk in the mall and they know what I’m ‘bout to say

(Big boy) gimme the black and platinum, and leather gray

(Big boy) ones in the back and the pair you got on display (check), (big boy)

Now were the boxes where I keep mine (keep mine)

You should beep mine (big boy), (keep mine)

Maybe once or twice but never three times

(Big boy) I’m just a sneaker pro

I love pumas and shell toes

(Big boy) but can’t nothing compare to a fresh crispy white pair (big boy)

I said give me two pairs

(‘Cause) I need two pairs

So I can get to STOMPING in my Air Force Ones

(Big boy) STOMPING in my Air Force Ones

I said give me two pairs

(‘Cause) I need two pairs

So I can get to STOMPING in my Air Force Ones

(Big boy) STOMPING in my Air Force Ones

Big boy – Big boy – Big boy – Big boy

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Dressed up like a mid-century Christmas tree

Found these images online Vintage Everyday and had to share:

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Terry de Havilland 1938 – 2019

Born in 1938, Terry Higgins apprenticed at his father’s theatrical shoe making company. With plans to become an actor, Terry changed his last name to de Havilland while living in Italy in 1959. Upon his return to England, Terry went to work at his father’s business making pointed-toe ‘winkle-picker’ Beatle boot styles for men and women. They had just started to make wedge-soled shoes using his father’s old lasts from the 1940s when his father unexpectedly died in 1970, leaving Terry to take over the family business.

Terry soon began making platform wedge-soled shoes in patchwork snakeskin, selling them through a Kensington market boutique. Terry was selling his shoes as fast as he could make them to clients including Bianca Jagger, Britt Eckland, Cher, and Angie Bowie. He opened a boutique in 1972 called Cobblers to the World on King’s Road in London’s fashionable Chelsea district that became hugely popular with the glam rock crowd.

In 1974 he was commissioned to make Tim Curry a pair of platform shoes for the film Rocky Horror Picture Show. As the platform began to wane in popularity, Terry became instrumental in re-establishing the stiletto heel, first producing spike heeled shoes for a Zandra Rhodes collection. In 1979, changing tastes and the soft economy forced his store to close but de Havilland continued on, launching a new line called Kamikaze Shoes that featured extreme ‘winkle-picker’ stilettos for the New Wave scene.

When this venture closed in 1989, deHavilland began making shoes for the Magic Shoe Company in Camden, mostly for the Goth and fetish market as well ascollections for designers, including Alexander McQueen and Anna Sui.

After a heart attack in 2001, de Havilland closed his Camden shop in 2002 and returned to his roots, revisiting what he was famous for designing in the early 1970s in both a licensed ready made line and as custom work for clients. In 2007 de Havilland opened a London shop for men’s shoes called Archie Eyebrows.

In 2008 I was in touch with Terry de Havilland via email. I asked if he could proof my bio of him for my book as there was little written about him online at the time. He was teaching at the London College of Fashion and invited me to lecture on the history of shoes at the college, but it never happened. Unfortunately, I lost my emails in a computer crash years later – too bad as I would have liked to have read our conversations one more time.

Snakeskin platform shoe, c. 1974

Snakeskin platform shoes by de Havilland, c. 1973 – 1975

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English Shoe Manufacturer Lotus Ltd.

Green suede pumps, ‘Career Girl’ by Lotus Ltd., c. 1965

In 1814 Thomas Bostock (1777 – 1865), moved to Stafford to set up a shoemaking business. Thomas’ son Edwin (1807-1883) became a partner in his father’s firm that by 1833 was employing about 200 men, women and children. Thomas’ other sons Frederick (1812 – 1890) and Thomas Jr. (1816-1871) also each set up shoemaking businesses, Frederick in Northampton in 1835, and Thomas Jr. in Stone in 1842.  Edwin took over the Stafford factory upon Thomas Jr’s death in 1871. 

Despite strikes by workers in the 1850s, sewing machines and other technologically advanced shoemaking equipment were installed in the factories during the late 19th century that expanded the profitable production of footwear for these companies. Edwin Bostock & Co., became a limited liability company in 1898. In 1919, Edwin Bostock & Co. Ltd. amalgamated with Frederick Bostock Ltd. of Northampton to become Lotus Ltd., a brand name Edwin Bostock had been using for some time. 

After years of being one of England’s largest shoe manufacturers, Lotus Ltd. left family ownership in 1970 and went into decline. Sold and resold several times, by 1998, all but the Northampton factory had been shuttered. The company name survives as a subsidiary of D. Jacobson & Sons Ltd.

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What were they thinking?

The luxury Spanish brand Loewe launched a collection on November 14 that included a black and white striped outfit that looks not unlike a World War II era concentration camp uniform (with the addition of patch pockets and the subtraction of a matching hat.) Loewe said the design was inspired by 19th century British Arts & Crafts ceramicist William De Morgan (not sure how, as it doesn’t resemble the exotic floral glaze work he is known for).

I often think complaints about cultural appropriation are the result of snowflakes who are looking for something to complain about, but sometimes it’s hard not to see anything but the obvious appropriation. I don’t think concentration camp uniforms were the inspiration for this outfit anymore than blackface was the inspiration for that Gucci sweater, however, why is it that nobody at these companies saw the resemblance and brought up the issue before production and launch? Should there be more history majors working at these companies who can identify some basic historical events from the past century? Are most people that dumb when it comes to our recent past? If they had even just dumped the trousers and maybe the black breast pocket the effect would be very different.

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Dressing for the Job

late 1940s waitress
White Castle restaurant, late 1950s
contemporary suggestions for how to dress for an interview, although I would have added either a tie or jacket to the man’s outfit, you don’t need both, but you do need one…
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Joseph Thimister 1962-2019

Josephus Melchior Thimister was born in Maastricht, Holland on September 16, 1962. He attended the Royal Academy of Fine Arts in Antwerp and worked as an assistant for Karl Lagerfeld and later Patou before becoming the creative director of Balenciaga in 1992. Thimister left Balenciaga in 1997 to start his own label but, despite critical success, struggled to find investors. He took a side stint as creative director of Genny but in 2004 Thimister ceased designing under his own name. Between 2005 and 2007 he worked as the artistic director of Charles Jourdan, the shoe company.

He then worked different jobs: an interior designer, consultant at Pucci, and taught at la Cambre art school in Brussels and the Institut Francais de la Mode in Paris. He returned to fashion with a comeback couture show in 2010 which lead to an opportunity to design ready-to-wear in 2011, but his work never found an audience. 

He possessed an artist’s temperament: dramatic, stubborn, sensitive, flamboyant, and moody, and eventually his depression got the best of him. Thimister commited suicide at the age of 57 on November 13.

Thimister dress, Image by Irving Penn for Vogue, April 1999
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How to Stay Spiffy

I was stumped earlier this year when I was contacted by the Carleton Place and Beckwith Museum with a picture of a wire thingy in their collection and asked if I knew how it was used… I couldn’t help. However, when they did find an identical one on its original display card they shared their find. It’s an early 1940s collar stay to keep men’s collar points crisp!

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The Year in Fashion – 2019

If you read fashion magazines you probably think 2019 was all about VSCO girls, the colour lavender, floral prints, bicycle shorts with blazers, tartan, equestrian boots, capes and trench coats, Gucci logo belt buckles, and sneakers, sneakers, sneakers. But these are disposable trends offered up by bloggers and fashion editors that keep you buying stuff. While athleisure continued to grab a bigger portion of the fashion market, the trends worth watching this year were not those that were ‘in’ but rather those that were on their way out. The miniskirt all but disappeared – not surprising for women’s fashion to become less salacious in the wake of #metoo (this also party explains why the Victoria’s Secret runway show was cancelled for good this year.) The designer handbag too has lost its once leading status in the fashion world. Also worth taking note is a slump in cosmetics. Oversaturated in brands, make-up has become less important as more women turn to skin-care over paint products.

While this year had its share of stories about cultural appropriation, racism, diversity and inclusion, the biggest trend in fashion was in regard to sustainability and the financial survival of fashion in the wake of the shrinking middle class who have been the purveyors of fashion since the French Revolution.

Sustainability: Textile and fashion production is the world’s second most polluting industry after oil and is growing only because of over-consumption. The UKs Extinction Rebellion movement has grown quickly and internationally since its October 2018 origins. There is a growing trend to buy less, choose quality over quantity, re-wear what you already own, and recycle everything else. To make the point that consumerism is at the root of our environmental problems, protesters blocked access to malls on Black Friday – the busiest shopping day of the year. The message is getting through to even large companies: Levi’s is working towards sustainability in the near future for all their products; Prada is also seeking sustainability that was required in order to get a 42.9 million pound loan; other companies including Eileen Fisher, Patagonia, and Madewell are buying back their own used clothes from consumers for upcycling. Some smaller designers are creating collections with a patchwork chic that uses fabric destined for the garbage. For consumers, renting over buying clothes is a growing trend.

Sustainability of the fashion economy: The growing polarization of wealth is creating two worlds of fashion, but both high and low ends are seeing lower profits. For the low end, a third of all sales are now online, saving overhead costs. Forever 21, that relied heavily on mall retailing, sought protection from bankruptcy this year primarily brought on by the high rents they pay (an issue that is a factor in many chain store failures). Despite some landlords rolling back rents, many high-streets are emptying out in New York, Paris, and Hong Kong due to high rentals for leading designer outlets. With a combination of high rents, E-commerce, less formal attire, and shoppers buying less, the fashion industry is scrambling. A recent study showed that in the U.S. for every fashion store that opens, two close as retail outlets become more like showrooms than shops.  

2019 saw the closure of Barney’s, Sonia Rykiel, and Zac Posen and the passing of Isabel Toledo, Karl Lagerfeld, Gloria Vanderbilt, Terry de Havilland, and Max Azria. As for this year’s biggest fashion faux pas? It was undoubtedly the tasteless school shooting hoodies produced by Bstroy.

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