Fashion Humour…

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That Time the French Aristocracy Was Obsessed With Sexy Face Stickers

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Vintage cleaning tips: Cleaning lace

I run across a variety of cleaning tips in old magazines etc. and I am sure some of them are good…  Here is one from the back of a cigarette card that I doubt I will be trying anytime soon, but maybe it works:

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Beefcake with your cheesecake

Sivil’s Drive-In, Dallas, Texas, April 1940

A recent article on Messy Nessy brought up a little known piece of sexist uniform history – beefcake carhops. According to Paula Bosse of Flashback Dallas in the late 1930s “Women were dressing in scanty outfits, hula skirts, midriff-baring costumes, to serve drive-in customers,” and so the owner of one of those restaurants in Dallas had the idea of appealing to female customers by putting men in scanty serving uniforms too. The hunky male server trend was short-lived though, in part because of the onset of WWII with young men enlisting to serve their country rather than hamburgers.

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The Underpinnings Museum

I just discovered a new museum of underwear. The Underpinning Museum was founded late last year in England and is currently only online but they do pop-up exhibitions and events that are listed on their site (

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Fadshions – ‘Ya-ya’ The First Miniskirt

This should forever end the debate over who ‘invented’ the first miniskirt. It turns out it wasn’t Mary Quant, or Andres Courreges, or John Bates, or Rudi Gernreich, or Marimekko… Although not yet called ‘miniskirts’, the earliest above-the knee dresses date from the spring of 1960. The photograph at left dated June 3, 1960 pictures Annalisa Posen (then known as Alice Honzal) wearing the girlishly short hemmed skirt with fellow model Cynthia Doucette. Annalisa recalled in an email conversation that it was her first modelling job in Canada, and that later that day they appeared on a Toronto television show, modelling the above-the-knee styles.

A quote about the history of miniskirts on wikipedia references a May 28, 1960 article from the Montreal Gazette that cites the origin of the short style coming from the manager of an unnamed shop in London’s Oxford Street who was experimenting with short skirt hemlines on window mannequins, and noted how positively his customers responded. Despite this, the style didn’t catch on, but two years later another attempt to bring in shorter skirts occurred, but this time they were called ‘Ya-ya’ skirts.

Thanks to James Fowler for unearthing this following snippet from the Canadian fashion industry news magazine Style, that reported on July 9, 1962:

“The Ya-Ya skirt, recently launched in England, was introduced recently to the west coast by Marjorie Hamilton with traffic-stopping impact…The controversial… skirts… on a girl of average height, a Ya-Ya reaches about eight inches above the knee if worn with a crinoline. There is a six-inch hem for any length alteration required… Commenting on the Ya-Ya the other day, the curator-historian of the costume department in London’s Victoria and Albert Museum said: “This is more than a concession to the sun. This fashion emphasizes that women are seeking a matriarchal state, that they desire to grip and hold men’s attention and gain their subjection. Not since the days of bare bosoms have women been so studiedly carefree in their clothing”.” 

Ya Yas with more modest just above the knee hems

Speculating on the possible origin of the name ‘Ya-Ya’, there were two popular songs at the time. Lee Dorsey’s 1961 hit Ya Ya “Sittin here la la, waitin’ for my ya ya – a-hum, a-hum….”, and the Ya-Ya Twist first recorded by Richard Anthony in 1961 and then Petula Clark in 1962. Although English, Clark often sang in French and was considered one of what the French called the ‘Yé-yé girls’ for their choruses that had a lot of ya/yeah refrains.

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Banners Banned

Fashion History Museum’s Kenn Norman, left, and Jonathan Walford with the promotional banner at the Fashion History Museum. – Peter Lee,Record staff

CAMBRIDGE — The sculptured lower torso of Michelangelo’s David is sandwiched by two red fields.

In his right hand, the Goliath-slaying rock is clutched.

And covering the naked David’s privates? Not a fig leaf, as was added to a Victorian Era plaster copy of the famous towering marble statue, but a red maple leaf.

Fig leaf out. Red maple leaf in.

It’s there to be seen on the Canada 150 exhibition-promoting banner hanging on the side of the Fashion History Museum in Hespeler.

Curatorial director Jonathan Walford is proud of his promotional notion, designed by Teresa Adamo of Guelph, which drapes down the side of the town’s former post office.

“It was just the idea of using the maple leaf instead of the fig leaf,” Walford explained on Wednesday. “Because the fig leaf represents the first clothing worn by mankind. It seemed to put a Canadian bent on it, making it a maple leaf instead of a fig leaf.”

But the museum’s original plan was to have more “David’s Maple Leaf” banners.

The museum says the idea it pitched to the city would have seen mini-versions of the David banners hung from the lamp posts of Hespeler, and perhaps through Galt and Preston as well.

But on Wednesday, the banner-holding brackets along Queen Street, which tend to reach out into the street and get battered by passing trucks, were empty.

Back in February, city officials said they would not permit the David banners to dangle from city lamp posts, as other museum banners had done a year ago.

Officials, according to the museum, feared some citizens might be offended by the poster design. And, since lamp posts are city property, they declined to give the museum permission to mount the David banners from them.

The city explained its position in an email to The Record on Wednesday.

“In this case, the banners in question are not appropriate for two main reasons: they do not meet with the guidelines established by the federal government for Canada 150 banners,” an email from city spokesperson Andrea Montgomery said.

“And while they may fit with the Fashion History Museum’s brand, they go beyond the boundaries of what is appropriate for the city.”

The city took no issue with the museum, which uses an $80,000 annual grant from the city to pay expenses, using the David design to advertise the “Fashioning Canada Since 1867” exhibition — just not from a city lamp post.

“At lot of this is in anticipation of issues, which is a very Canadian response,” Walford said of the city stance on the banner design. “They’re always worried about offending.”

The “David’s Maple Leaf” design, museum chair Kenn Norman says, was put forward for a national award from TechSoup Canada and placed well in the final ratings.

“The museum isn’t aware of any controversy over the image,” Norman wrote in an email to The Record. “To date, we have had only one visitor comment who was curious if the banner’s placement on the exterior of the museum had raised any objections, being so close in proximity to local churches.”

Directly across Queen Street, at St. Andrew’s Presbyterian Church, the museum’s promotional use of the Michelangelo’s biblical David had barely been noticed. And when it was pointed out to Rev. Scott McAndless, the slingshot response was supportive.

“It’s a great work of art they are referring to,” McAndless said. “There’s no issue that I’m aware of.”

Corey Cotterlinforth, the music director at St. Andrew’s, admired the creative of the museum’s poster design.

“It’s attention-grabbing,” Cotterlinforth said. “It’s good marketing.”

But such strong-of-hand marketing won’t have the lamppost reach it could have.

“We thought it would have been fun,” Walford said.

From the Waterloo Record, May 31, 2017, article by Jeff Hicks

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WTF — What the Fashion?

We aren’t even half way through 2017 and some of the worst fashions have descended upon us this year. On the good side, these fashion disasters are the only news stories that can even begin to compete with the Trump presidency:

“She’s a Goddess”. I am not a blindly supportive fan of Rei Kawakubo – the designer being honoured by the Met this year. She is an artist and pushes the boundaries of what is fashion, but she has a lot of bad ideas amongst the good – no designer can hit a home run every time. However, she also opens the door to less talented designers who think its cool to be irreverent and that ugly is the new black. Throwing paint at a canvas doesn’t make you an artist – you have to know what you are doing.

The effeminization of male attire. I can see there is a sartorial renaissance underway, but every time this happens and men start wearing pocket squares and colours other than navy blue, stupid stuff happens too. The last time this occurred was in the late 1960s-early 1970s with the peacock revolution — colourful print shirts and velvet jackets were great, but mini skirts and his & her velour jumpsuits sucked. This time it’s onesies and lacey shorts that are going to take the progressive men’s fashion movement down…

Poverty Chic. It’s actually offensive to see dirty clothes being sold as chic attire. What’s worse is that these aren’t being sold ironically, as a political statement about the declining standard of living, or with a cause – with a portion of all sales going to clothe the needy. These are overpriced brand new jeans being worn by trust fund millenials and dot com X-genrs to show how rich they are – like the French aristocracy of the 18th century that decorated their wigs with marzipan fruits and cakes during a famine.

Honourable mentions include: over-designed athleisure, camo-anything (that is so 5 years ago), attempts to restart a jean generation with novel ideas…, and anything Ivanka.

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Before the Rainbow was gay

Rainbow patterns were popular in fashion during the 1970s, before Gilbert Baker adapted the motif in 1978 for a rainbow flag to represent the diversity of the gay community. San Francisco’s first openly gay supervisor, Harvey Milk, used the flag as a symbol for that year’s Pride Parade (called Gay Freedom Day at the time). On November 27 1978, the assassination of Harvey Milk and mayor George Moscone propelled the flag into a symbol of the LGBT movement. Gilbert Baker passed away March 31, 2017 at his home in New York City, He was 65 years old.

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James Bond – the fashion model

Both Sean Connery and Roger Moore had more in common than being James Bond – they were also models, but very different kinds of models. Roger Moore donned cardigans and sweater-vests in the late 1940s and early 1950s while Sean Connery often wore just a posing pouch for artists. When Connery did model clothes it was for Vince Man’s Shop – a Carnaby Street shop in London that catered to a gay clientele in the late 1950s and 1960s.

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