Welcome to the social design: loose lessons from the stylized representation of the social in cinema and print. A blog very often about the interior design, fashion, social manners, and music created for and reflected in vintage cinema and print. Especially from the Sixties and Seventies, especially Italian, and especially from swingin' party scenes. We're awfully big on disco hippies and the OpArt accent here. Guaranteed, of course, to wander off on the occasional tangent into (maybe?) related subject matter, with plenty of tongue-in-cheek commentary for your consideration along the way. Comments are welcome, so please consider yourself invited...

Saturday, December 17, 2011


Ordinarily I wouldn't mind the unseasonably warm weather we've been having.  But you know, I'm "between sizes" right now (which is too say a little too chunky for the slim-tailored shirts that make up the better part of my closet), and I was really counting on hiding under sweaters and coats until at least April.  Guess I'd truly be distraught if I had a new coat from this (unbelievably groovy) Christian Dior fur show from 1969, as reported in a wonderful vintage British Pathé newsreel.  Swoon! 

There is so much here to celebrate:  that Sixties sense of chic, the use of white to enhance the stage presence of the coats, the groovy electric organ music ("if the coats didn't send the customers, the music certainly did..."), and of course all that odd, playful period modeling that seems (sadly) almost unfathomable today.  Frankly, I am living for all the synchronized "jigging about," especially in a chinchilla cape! 

I've written a little bit about Sixties style modeling before on The Social Design -specifically I think on a scene from a '68 Ungaro show used in the Catherine Denueve film Manon 70.  I wish I had a better grasp of the vocabulary of choreography, dance, and movement -  but to me there really is something paradoxical about the dominant modeling expressions of the time that both bewilders and entrances me.  It seems they sought to simultaneously exaggerate both the lines of the clothes and also the terrific sense of movement and freedom of the age.  The result is a recurrence of stiff, stylized postures that work quite well for print editorials (and here I definitely have Peggy Moffitt on the brain) but when applied to the movement of runway come off, well, a little bit bizarre...

It sort of calls to mind some observations I once read in a feature on the Audubon-inspired painter Walton Ford and how there is something distinctly unnatural in the naturalist Audubon's work,  because he was in fact not working from live models but rather from "freshly shot birds pinned into macabre dioramas."   Well, Dior isn't using dead birds but rather ballet dancers - and to great effect in my esteem.  And in my amateur musings on the Sixties modeling milieu I am probably discounting the influence of popular dance anyway. I will also add that Geoffrey Beene, a designer of great intellect, often cast dancers for models in his shows as well.

I wholeheartedly invite anyone with an opinion on Sixties modeling to chime in, or Sixties fashion for that matter (but really, I'm not so interested in the anti-fur sentiments)...


No comments:

Post a Comment