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In 1951, the world famous American crooner Bing Crosby was denied entrance into a Canadian hotel because he and his friend were dressed completely in denim. Although the Hotel management eventually recognized Bing and made an exception because of who he was, the story of the incident traveled fast. Friends of his back home contacted Levi Strauss and Co. and the designers immediately developed a custom denim tuxedo jacket for Bing so that he would never have problems wearing Levi’s Jeans, even in fancy establishments. It was made of the sturdy denim used for 501 Jeans, and decorated with a lovely corsage of Red Tabs, held onto the lapel with a cluster of shiny copper rivets.
Inside the jacket was a huge leather patch printed with a “Notice to All Hotel Men” stating that denim is a perfectly appropriate fabric and anyone wearing it should be allowed entrance into the finest hotels.
LS&Co presented the jacket to Bing at the 1951 Silver State Stampede in Elko, Nevada where he was honorary mayor. He was so tickled with the tux that he wore it to many press appearances for his next film, “Here Comes the Groom.” The original jacket, as well as one made for the town’s mayor, is in the Northeastern Nevada Museum in Elko.
I like it when Jason comes to LA and takes me to the Magic Castle for dinner. I don't enjoy putting on my old suit and digging around for my necktie to comply with the Magic Castle's strict dress code. But I wear the suit because it's worth watching the magicians in the Close Up Room do card tricks.
In the cyberdelic daze of 1995, I was part of a group of San Francisco riot nrrrds and fashion designers, including my now wife Kelly Sparks, who staged what was likely the first fashion show transmitted over the Internet. My dear friend Ani Phyo produced the whole shebang, called Fiber, with experimental video house Dimension7 at their SoMa warehouse space. Eric Paulos streamed the show onto the Internet in real-time via CU-See-Me over the Mbone. Michael Dates made some deeply weird installation art. See the full list of credits here. As it was San Francisco in the early 1990s, the entire thing was woven into a ravey multimedia trip with DJs, live psychedelic video mixing, and plenty of, er, entheogenic energy. Above, a news report from the scene directed by Jennifer Paige.
From the original press release penned by yours truly:
On Saturday, October 14, 1995, a party called Fiber will weave together the digital technology of today with the fashion designs of tomorrow in a presentation of new work by Bay Area artists. Fiber shifts away from the traditional fashion show paradigm by showcasing the garments in the sensory-overloading environment they were created to be worn in. Models are replaced with dancers, runways with podiums. Transmedia artists, laser technicians, DJs, and musicians are working with the fashion designers to create a pure thoughtspace celebrating creativity, collaboration and global communication via the Internet. A team of videographers will shoot the festivities, mix the images with surreal prerecorded footage, textual messages, and computer animation produced on-the-fly, and project the visual blends as hypnotic electric wallpaper.Read the rest
In 1965 Yves Saint Laurent introduced the cocoon bridal dress. Said to be inspired by Russian nesting dolls, it makes me think of a different kind of red wedding. Read the rest
In China, teens and twentysomethings are wearing little plastic accessories on their heads in the shape of tiny little sprouts, fruit, or flowers. Nobody's exactly sure where or how the trend started, but it's... growing.
Kate in Dorchester, England makes gorgeous brass wrist-cuffs decorated with vintage literary, cartographic and scientific imagery: there's Poe's Raven; the periodic table; anatomical dentistry drawings; Newton's laws of motion; the human spine; a map of the Thames and the Tower of London; a tape-measure; the human foot's bones; and headlines from Jack the Ripper's killings and much, much more. Read the rest
From Champion's creation of the hooded sweatshirt in the 1930s through Rocky Balboa to today's high-end cashmere designs to Trayvon Martin, writer Gary Warnett explores the cultural history of the hoodie.
Gary Warnett's social history of the hoodie "unpicks the stigma associated with the garment" and traces its presence in popular culture back to the 1930s.
The longtime association with criminals begins in medieval times, but Champion's classic sweatshirt dates to the 1930s.
"It's a pivotal moment," Warnett says. "That's when the design becomes rehashed for the purposes of storytelling."
The term itself is relatively new, though, and reflects just one of those stories.
It's part of a series about the place of so-called "sportswear" in fashion (like 'street fashion,' the term is used to exclude the thing being appropriated) Check out Gary Aspden on footwear.
In 2014, when interviewed by editor Lou Stoppard for our In Fashion series, designer Nasir Mazhar lamented continued references to the ‘trend’ for ‘sportswear’ and 'streetwear’, citing a lack of understanding from fashion writers about the subtleties and references of his aesthetic. ‘It’s just fashion. I think it’s kind of rude to call it ‘streetwear’ or ‘sportswear’. You don’t play sport in it do you? Streetwear - what are you saying? That it's what people wear on the street? People wear all clothes on the street. It’s fashion. Why don’t they just call it fashion?’ he argued.
Motivated by these comments and the prevalence of sporty shapes and silhouettes across so many high fashion runways, SHOWstudio seeks to analyse the history and nuances of key ‘sportswear’ garments.