Contemporary labels worth collecting… Hoss Homeless

Privately owned by AT LEAST S.A., this Spanish women’s fashion firm is headquartered in Madrid. Founded in 1994 by Constantino Hernandez Duran, who worked his way up through the advertising business and fashion industry before starting his own company, originally called his company Hoss Homeless. The company changed its name in 2007 to Hoss Intropia (a combination of introspection and utopia) when it sought international expansion as ‘Homeless’ had a negative connotation. Intropia conducts wholesale business, as well as retail through their own Intropia stores.

Real fashion by Hans Eijkelboom

These photos that capture mainstream fashion, seasonal trends, and personal styling are the work of Dutch photographer Hans Eijkelboom. His work is currently on show until January 7, 2018 at The Hague Museum of Photography, and are available in his book Hans Eijkelboom: People of the Twenty-First Century. His collage prints comparing similar outfits captured on the same day in various cities are a great companion to the sartorial shots taken by fashion bloggers and will become important historical documents for understanding real fashion:

Fashion in Song – The Thong Song – 2000

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Cartoon about the ‘thong’, New Yorker, c. 1999

Sisqo’s Thong Song was released february 2000 which explains why a lot of the clothes in this video look dated. In case you don’t remember, the thong was fashion news in 1999/2000, especially when worn with low rise jeans so that the waist strap was visible. By the way, it’s best not to listen too closely to the lyrics if you are opposed to songs that objectify women or use racial stereotyping. Other than that, it is a catchy tune!

Canadian Fashion Connection – Marci Lipman

Marci Lipman T-shirt with graphics by Robert Kitchen, c. early 1990s

Marci Lipman (born 1948) opened a poster framing business in 1974 on Avenue road in Toronto. In about 1985 she shifted her business to creating screen-printed T-shirts of her own animal cartoons (one T-shirt pictured a cow with the phrase  ‘Udder Delight’), as well as with work by artists Ruth Adler and Robert Kitchen.

Her flagship store on Avenue road became a neighbourhood landmark, known for its brightly coloured wall murals inside and out. By the early 1990s Lipman’s logo, a spotted cartoon dog, could be seen on T-shirts all around the city. Her product was always advertised as 100% Canadian made, which was partly why her T-shirts were not inexpensive wardrobe investments – they were wearable art. However, sales were good and Lipman expanded her product line to include children’s sleepwear called ‘granny baiters’ and opened several more stores until 1996 when there was a total of nine stores in Toronto, plus wholesale to specialty stores across the country.

However, the pressure from American chain companies infiltrating the Canadian market, and off-shore manufacturing upon Canadian retailers was devastating in the late 1990s. Lipman’s product wasn’t changing with the times, she had over-saturated her local market and grew too quickly during the wrong economy. Lipman declared bankruptcy in January 1997 and closed her business.

Twenty-years ago…

I rediscovered a year-end review of 1992 fashion in a copy of Footwear News recently that was more interesting than I thought it would be when I started reading… I have edited it considerably because it was a little too heavy in shoe biz news, but here is what fashion was talking about twenty years ago:

“It was a year Queen Elizabeth called “annus horribilis,” as she watched the public disintegration of the marriages of her children…”The economy, stupid,” was the other catchphrase of the year – it helped get Bill Clinton elected. Hurricane Andrew devastated Florida, there was famine in Somalia, riots in Los Angeles, and senseless killings in Yugoslavia. Some old faces disappeared: Jose Ferrar, Tony Perkins, Chuck Connors, Vincent Gardenia and Marlene Dietrich… In the shoe world, the year started off on a sad note with the death of David Evins in January. Evins was the dean of American shoe designers, famous for creating shoes for movie stars, socialites and First Ladies.

Marc Jacobs for Perry Ellis, 1992

Manufacturers devoted a lot of their energies to introducing lower-priced lines during the year. Macy’s filed for Chapter 11 protection and the Melville Corporation planned to close 350 of its 750 Thom McAn stores but the feeling was that while retail business wasn’t great it wasn’t as ‘horribilis’ as last year and the economy was on the comeback. Intershoe also filed a Chapter 11 petition and received an offer from an Italian-based investor group which was accepted (after initial restructuring, the reins were passed in December 1992 to Joe Famolare.)

Fashion started at the bottom with platforms, and heavy tractor and lug-soles. “Take a hike” was the rugged boot message at the Las Vegas shoe show in February. The mood for nostalgia was strong with ’40s, ’60s and ’70s themes invading shoes and clothes. Doc Martens went mainstream. Zippers were a hot fashion look along with laceups and Granny boots. Red and black was a popular combination.

Absolutely Fabulous in 1992

Spring fashions featured fur, houndstooth checks and sheer fabrics. Studded biker boots were featured footwear fashions and platform power reigned at the Milan and Paris shows. Chanel combined sheer clothes with lace-up combat boots. Longer hemlines were becoming a reality but “options” was the word of choice to describe long, short and the alternative of pants.

In summer, espadrilles were the hot fashion feature as well as wedge soles. Mesh was a strong material story in summer high fashion footwear, echoing the sheers of rtw. Western boots were becoming year ’round fashions. Vintage shoes (the real thing) were hot items in Paris. In America the trendy thing to do was buy used Western boots.

New shoe news included: St. John’s opened its first store in New York with shoes made by Pancaldi; A-Line (a cheaper line for Anne Klein) and Just Libby (a cheaper line from Sam & Libby) debuted; Ombeline was Maud Frizon’s new line; Roger Vivier began designing again through the Delman division of Nina in New York; Andrea Pfister introduced a high fashion sneaker line, and Studio Paolo added a group of lower priced casuals made in China.

Hip Hop was the fashion look featured for men in September. For women, fall was under the influence of American Indian designs on mocs, slides and sandals. Folkloric (’70s) influences were seen interpreted in love beads, wrapper silhouettes, and batik and African print fabrics. Bell bottoms were a hot rtw trend in European collections. Seventies round toes, strong heels, oddly shaped heels, clogs and a variety of platforms and bottoms were shoe tie-ins.

The Fashion Footwear Association of New York had honored Marc Jacobs earlier in the year and for fall Jacobs collection for Perry Ellis showed satin Birkenstocks, cowboy boots, and Converse satin high top sneakers – he also was a proponent of the mix-and-match grunge look.”

Film and Fashion: Top 10 1970s, 1980s, and 1990s Fashion Films

(Originally blogged August 16 – 24, 2010)

When I watch films for period costuming I am usually interested in how the costumer recreates the past, however, a great way to learn about the past is by watching films set in the present. In the 1970s there were a lot of science fiction flicks, gory horror films, gritty cop movies and realistic dramas that aimed at realism, and high fashion was just not a big part of those genres. However, I still managed to find ten films I think best captured 1970s style:

10 – Escape From the Planet of the Apes (1971)

You probably think I am crazy for suggesting this, but the highlight of this film is when Zira gets a makeover, exchanging her loden green wool and leather Courreges-look tunic for Adele Simpson-like pastel floral caftans – it’s a look…

9 – High Anxiety (1977)

This Mel Brooks Comedy is a send-up of Hitchcock movies and fashion branding. Madeleine Kahn plays the leading lady who is so fashion conscious that she wears Louis Vuitton from head to toe and even rides in a Vuitton insignia emblazoned Cadillac.

8 – Klute (1971)

Jane Fonda was a fashion muse in the 1960s, even appearing on the cover of Vogue. She plays a prostitute in this 1971 comeback film but a chic prostitute with a shag hairdo, maxi coats, and fringed shoulder bag!

7 – What’s Up Doc (1972)

Barbra Striesand shone in her sexy sweater tops and feminine-styled pant suits in this film. Madeleine Kahn also appears in this movie as the repressed Eunice Burns whose forced exit from a ballroom with heels dragging across the waxed floor is comic genius.

6 – The Stepford Wives (1975)

It’s hard to ignore the original version of this film because of when it was made – at the height of the women’s liberation movement. Some women may have burned their bras at the time but frilly aprons and picture hats were still in fashion too…

5 – Mahogany (1975)

Diana Ross plays the part of a struggling fashion designer determined to succeed. The most interesting tidbit about this film is that the clothes are of Diana Ross’ design (and not terribly successful.) Let’s face it; if Diana Ross had been born thirty years later she would have her own label right now alongside every other singer/actress.

4 – Foxy Brown (1974)

Black culture was no longer marginalized in the 1970s; Dashikis, hoop earrings, ebonics, and Pam Grier’s afro were fashionably fierce in 1974; So much so that Barbra Striesand gave an afro a try in a Star is Born two years later (but we all make mistakes.)

3 – Saturday Night Fever (1977)

You knew this film had to be here. There were other ‘Disco’ movies in the late 1970s (Car Wash, Thank God It’s Friday) but Saturday Night Fever best captured mainstream fashions for the poly crowd. One of the white suits (there were two) sold at auction years later for $145,000!

2 – Annie Hall (1977)

Diane Keaton’s man-drag look is a part of her signature style and Annie Hall is where she honed the look with oversized vests and loosely knotted ties. By the way, those clothes in the movie were from her personal wardrobe not the costumer’s rack.

1 – Eyes of Laura Mars (1978)

You have to give kudos to this thriller because it is set in the fashion industry. Other than the Helmut Newton style photo shoots, if you want to see quintessential late 70s high fashion this is the best film to see.

Picking 80s films that feature great 80s fashions turned out to be more challenging than anticipated. There was a definite increase in period flicks in the 1980s (fodder for another post on another day) and, like the 70s, many genres downplayed anything too fashion conscious, probably because it would date the movie and distract from the storyline. However, some genres had plenty of trendy styles to pick from. Here are my top ten picks for 80s fashion in 80s films:

10 – Earth Girls are Easy (1988)

Even though the California beach blond-styling was a little young for Gina Davis and a titch past its best before date when the film was finally released in the summer of 1989 (production had begun in 1986), the musical numbers spoofing makeovers and blonds by Julie Brown are worth the price of admission.

9 – Desperately Seeking Susan (1985)

This film was great for showcasing Madonna’s girly-punk look and was one of the few films of the decade that included a character dressed in counter culture street-wear or club fashions.

8 – Slaves of New York (1989)

Stephen Sprouse designed the clothes for this film’s fashion show by ‘Wilfredo’. The avant-garde styles featured a green faux fur coat with a tail that wannabe milliner Bernadette Peters dragged around Manhattan throughout most of the film. For more green faux fur fun check out the over-the-top mall fashion show in True Stories (1986.)

7 – We have a tie! Xanadu and Can’t Stop the Music (both 1980)

These box office flop musicals came out within a few months of each other and were often shown together as a double feature. However, both captured some of the best trends of 1980; in Xanadu the finale has dancers dressed in everything from urban cowboy to New Wave and in Can’t Stop the Music there are numbers where the back-up dancers look more like Disco fashion models.

6 – Flashdance (1983)

Nobody was going to this movie until word got out about the great dancing scenes. Jennifer Beals and her dancing double inspired fans to wear leg warmers and leotards as fashion items and cut off the collar and sleeves of sweat shirts.

5 – Pretty in Pink (1986)

There were a lot of teen angst films to pick from (Risky Business (1983), Heathers (1989)…) but Pretty in Pink seemed the best choice for fashion because it’s about a girl with a talent for sewing, a unique sense of style, and a passion for vintage. Unfortunately, the pink dress (which inspired the movie’s title) was the ugliest frock ever made! Leading lady Molly Ringwald said in an interview years later that she kept all the clothes she wore in that film BUT the pink dress.

4 – The Secret of My Succe$s (1987)

Of all the films with high fashion content (Overboard (1987), Troop Beverly Hills (1989)…), there was just something about Aunt Vera’s outfits in The Secret of My Success that showcased the chicest designer clothing of the period.

3 – Working Girl (1988)

There were a lot of films about women in the workplace (Nine to Five (1980), Baby Boom (1987)…) but Working Girl captured the fashions better than anyone else. From big hair and power suits to a six thousand dollar dress that was ‘not even leather!’

2 – The Cook, the Thief, His Wife & Her Lover (1989)

You either love or hate this art film, but you can’t deny it’s stylish. The costuming was done by leading fashion designer Jean-Paul Gaultier; he would go on to costume other films, including 1997’s The Fifth Element.

1 – American Gigolo 1980

Film fashion usually focuses on women’s clothing but it’s hard to ignore American Gigolo for its stylish men’s attire. This film made Richard Gere and Giorgio Armani famous, and it defined men’s fashion for the balance of the decade.

While looking for the best examples of 1990s fashion in 1990s films I was surprised to find I ended up with most of my choices coming from the middle of the decade. I looked again but I just couldn’t find any from the beginning or end of the decade worthy of displacing my top ten choices:

10 – Four Weddings and a Funeral (1994)

There were a lot of contenders for 10th place but Four Weddings and a Funeral won out for its use of really big hats!

9 – Romy and Michele’s High School Reunion (1997)

After the angst of a high school reunion, Romy and Michelle redirect their lives and find a passion for fashion when they create their own line of clothing – unfortunately it’s marabou-trimmed metallic pastel baby doll dresses…

8 – Basic Instinct (1992)

Okay, so this film is better known for its lack of costuming – the point is only psychopaths don’t wear knickers!

7 – True Lies (1994)

The reason this film made the list is Jamie Lee Curtis’ self-directed makeover in a hotel hallway. With a few tugs and tears, she transforms herself from a mom in a ruffled dress into a ‘Palmerette’ in a sleek LBD.

6 – Tank Girl (1995)

The costumer of this sci-fi film (based upon a graphic novel) rather brilliantly created Mad Max styling using off-the-rack clothes from the local mall.

5 – Pretty Woman (1990)

Apart from Vivian’s ”You made a HUGE mistake” shopping scene, the thigh high boots worn by her at the beginning of this film inspired the shoe industry to infuse a bit of hooker chic into future collections.

4 – Unzipped (1995)

Isacc Mizrahi’s tribulations while creating his fall 1994 collection are shown in black and white in this film. Although this is a documentary, it is also highly entertaining.

3 – Party Girl (1995)

Parker Posey plays a directionless young woman who excels at partying and wearing fabulous clothes (even if she has to steal them.) The costuming in this comedy realistically captures the edgy New York trends of the day.

2 – Clueless (1995)

This updated version of Jane Austen’s ‘Emma’ captures a variety of leading trends of the mid 90s from retro chic to skater grunge.

1 – Prêt-à-Porter: Ready to Wear (1994)

This satire of the fashion industry by Robert Altman includes an impressive company of actors playing eccentric fashion editors, reporters, and designers who all interact with each other amidst the chaos of the spring 1994 prêt-à-porter fashion shows in Paris. Karl Lagerfeld blocked the release of this film in Germany because of a line in the movie uttered by Forest Whitaker’s character that accuses Lagerfeld of plagiarizing his designs! Way to go Karl – what a sense of humour you have!