When I went to the Rave Theater at the Baldwin Hills Crenshaw Plaza to see The House of Gucci I didn’t feel my outfit would be complete without the vintage blue floral Gucci scarf I bought for $25 at the Federation of Vintage Fashion’s Fashion Expo.
Emblazoned with an elaborate bouquet, over the years,it’s set off my 1970s navy-blue pants suit, my early 1960s black dress, plain white tees and denim button-downs. On the day I wore it to the movie I paired it with a black and white striped Breton from L.L. Bean and a pair of Adidas sweat pants.
Reminiscent of the floral scarf Gucci “scenographer Vittorio Accornero” created for Grace Kelly in 1966 it’s a great collectible that can enhance any contemporary woman’s wardrobe.
Whether worn stylishly around your neck or over a messy bun,as a cure to a bad hair day, the floral Gucci scarf can become a favorite collectible for stylistas. The best part? It’s still possible to find one for $100.
Aware of the changing way of life and its economic and social requirements Chanel produced clothes as smart, uncluttered and functional as the new architecture.
Joan Nunn, Fashion Costume 1200-1980
Throughout my fashion life I’ve imitated quite a few looks, including Edie Sedgwick’s Factory gear and Grace Jones’s androgyny, but none have been as long lasting as Coco Chanel’s signature LBD’s, two-piece skirt suits, wide-leg pants, costume and real jewelry and two-tone shoes.
Perfect as a go-to look, it’s comforting to know I can throw on a tweed-y Chanel thrift store blazer, white tee, baggy jeans, gold chain belt and ballet flats and look as fabulous as Madame Coco.
So how did her look evolve? Here are some of the highlights:
1914: After Chanel opened shops in Deauville and in Rue Cambon in Paris she became a top couturière that “epitomized the look of the 1920s.”
1920s: She designed “jersey dresses that stopped at the knee with matching cardigans, and short skirts accessorized with tiny hats, costume and real jewelry.” “Aware of the changing way of life and its economic and social requirements she produced clothes as smart, uncluttered and functional as the new architecture,” wrote Joan Nunn in “Fashion Costume 1200-1980”.
1926: She reinvented women’s wardrobes forever when she created a “crêpe de Chine black dress complete with minuscule tucks in a matching triangular design on the bodice and the skirt.” Prominently featured in “Vogue” magazine this little black dress or LBD became known as “the model T Ford of fashion.”
1929: The end of the 20s found Chanel looking towards the future when women’s styles became less angular. Embracing an easier silhouette she designed a “jersey suit with a striped pullover.”
1954: Following World War II Chanel reopened her couture house and premiered an “understated two-piece skirt suit trimmed in braid.”
Aesthetically striking. symbolic and eccentric the history of Boho chic dates back more than 200 years.
Beginning in the mid-19th century, French intellectuals/Romantics created an eclectic mode of dress that mirrored their passion for Romantic art with coordinates that had lithe and graceful elements and Asian influences. Brightly colored textiles set off by gypsy-style accoutrements,loosely tousled hair and well–loved coatsmade them quite distinctive.
While the first innovators of BoHo were artists motivated by a combination of extreme poverty and a desire to produce art, throughout history, it’s become associated with the hippies of the 60s and 70s and is now considered a mainstream trend.
Still highly decorative and lovely the characteristics of the trend are natural fabrics, a soft woodsy palette of greens, browns and other complimentary shades and loose silhouettes with a global appeal.
Thea Porter (Dorothea Dorothy Noelle Naomi Thea Porter 24 December 1927 to 24 July 2000),a British fashion designer, was one of the most prolific BoHo chic advocates during the 60s and 70s. Her vintage designs today can range from $398.66 for coat (1st dibs https://www1stdibs.com) to $2850 for a “chiffon maxi dress (thewayweworehttp://thewaywewore.com).
Don’t despair if your budget won’t allow you to invest in vintage BoHo chic by designers like Thea Porter because there’s still plenty of great contemporary pieces at Ross Dress For Less and TJ Maxx.
In the mid-‘80s,while attending CSULA as a Fashion Merchandising major I was struck with a big dilemma – how to look stylish every day at school and work.
My department insisted we walk the fashion walk at all times to represent the industry. For me this was a requirement I had to think outside the box to meet, because at the time I operated on a small budget that only allowed me to shop at thrift stores and deeply discounted sales racksat major department stores and small chain stores.
Drawn to the ultra-cheap Chanel knock-off skirt suits and comfy cardigans at “Daniel Freeman Thrift Auxiliary” and “The Discovery Shop” in Inglewood, California I collected some of my most memorable vintage pieces from their racks.
To this day I’m still drawn to cardigans and boxy jackets that I love to pair with jeans, khakis, skirts and jumpsuits. The trick is to mix the components subtly so you don’t look too costume-y or passé.
My suggestion? Grab a vintage cardie, throw it over a modern white tee, then accessorize with a fun scarf or necklace. In the accompanying photos, to this post, I coordinated an early 60s black cardie with a white Universal Threads x Target tee, a pair of floral print black and red pants and a red bead necklace from Kohl’s
Besides your favorite thrift shop an excellent place to buy a vintage cardigan is Etsy.com (https://www.etsy.com/). Priced from $25 on up they offer a wide and exciting variety to choose from.
While attending the Academy Of Arts University for my MA program in Fashion Journalism one of the requirements was to create a blog site to show the work we created in class. Now, after graduation, I’ve had new experiences that have expanded my creative visionso I’m creating a daily blog for this site too called “Vicqui’s Edits”.
Similar to what I’m doing daily in my Lookin’ blog site with Outfit of the Day https://www.lookingoodfeelingood.wordpress.comand in my Every blog site https://www.victoriawordpresscom587.wordpress.with my scheduled daily posts featuring fashion Inspo, fashion coordination, fashion wishlist items, fave fashion looks of the season, fashion finds, vintage spotlights and observations of the week, the new daily feature, for Stylish, will be more editorial and educational.
Instead of always looking outside to add something totally new this feature will tell you:
1) How to mix contemporary with vintage.
2) How to examine the history behind a look.
3) Which websites and stores are offering great merch.
4) How to examine and utilize the tools of icons from the past and ones popular today.
5) How to create a great office uniform or from a capsule.
6) How to wear accessories.
7) How to look at fashion in a new way through a creative portrayal.
In 2019 while earning my MA in Fashion Journalism online at the Academy Of Art UniversityI was enrolled in Danielle Wallis’s Fashion Styling class. After enduring weeks of preliminary lessons where we learned how to style for a client, photograph accessories, and analyze magazine editorial layouts, we finally reached the final project.
Since one of my goals, as an African American fashion/feature writer is to incorporate my culture into my writing, I wanted to choose a final project concept that reflected that. Compiling various ideas from five influences, representing art, literature, music, dance, and fashion I came up with a cohesive story that I called African Americano.
In homage to my paternal grandmother, who was half Italian and half African American, I cautiously presented it to Professor Wallis. Once I further explained, in my bubble map and mood board, that I was also going to represent the 1960s and 1970s, and my muse was going to be Tish Rivers from James Baldwin’s novel If Beale Street Could Talk she became excited as well.
Two of her requirements that almost halted the project before it began, however, was that I look for clothes and accessories within my zip code and the outfits had to be realistic. So anything with an African American flair had to be thoroughly incorporated and make sartorial sense. In the film, based on the book, Tish Rivers worked in a department store, but in my fashion story I widened her scope and gave her a wardrobe that would be just as appropriate if worn at school, in an office, or a bank.
Within my zip code, 90008, the shops I chose were within the Baldwin Hills Crenshaw Plaza and the surrounding areas. What I couldn’t find there I found in my closets. Edited down to five outfits, which I also modeled and photographed, the African American touches-a multicolored cloth bag from Malik Books, two African necklaces from the Pan African Film and Arts Festival, a Notorious BIG t-shirt from Ross Dress For Less and a black and white Black Panther tote from the Soul of a Nation exhibit at the Broad Museum-embued my styling with a uniquely ethnic flavor.
Now as I look back at African Americano, and put it into context with the other projects I completed at the Academy Of Art University before receiving my degree last December, I have to say it was definitely the one that made me proudest to be an African American.
If I were to describe the trends for Spring 2021 I’d classify them as pandemic and post-pandemic. In the first group, which centers on quarantining, sheltering at home, and Zoom correspondence they include: face masks, fashion gloves, leisurewear, sweatsuits, and Zoom jewelry. In the second group they include clothes that “shine” with “crystal embellishments, sequins, and reflective patent leather,” fun colors like silver, soft pink, and vibrant orange, “clashing prints,” and “head-to-toe playful prints”. Besides these trends there are those that carryover from other seasons or have a retro vibe (i.e., transparency, “statement collars,” neon brights, “exaggerated shoulders, bubble hems, and stripes, etc.,) along with the risqué and futuristic genre of bra and crop tops, utility garments and netting.
Snow Xue Gao:
Following close examination of these trends from New York, London, Paris, and Milan via fashion journalism commentary in vogue.com, Refinery29.com, FashionMagazine.com, WWD and others, then analyzing Vogue, Elle, and InStyle magazines I realized the Chinese designer, Snow Xue Gao, presented the most unique and innovative fashion show for Spring 2021 in New York City.
Not only did her designs cleverly reflect the “ease and comfort” we’ve all become accustomed to, while under quarantine during the pandemic, her mash up of Eastern and Western influences provided a prototype for her target customer once she emerges from quarantine during the post-pandemic period. Conceived for the professional woman who enjoys expressing her individuality and prefers buying wardrobe additions instead of trends and fads the creativity she brings to her garments blends classicism with futurism effectively.
Born in Beijing, Gao began her studies at the Beijing Institute of Fashion Technology before moving to New York to work on an MFA in fashion design at Parsons School of Design. After graduating in 2017, and being shortlisted for the LVMH Prize competition, she launched her brand and started getting noticed by Vogue, WWD, and others in the press. Influenced by both the suiting popular in Western fashion and the “silks, prints and cultural motifs” from the East she’s particularly known for her eclectic approach.
“Ease, comfort and versatility have been keywords that have popped up during Zoom calls, and were all mentioned in Snow Xue Gao’s spring collection, which featured a more relaxed design approach without losing its East-meets-West mixed media identity.”
“Ease, comfort and versatility have been keywords that have popped up during Zoom calls, and were all mentioned in Snow Xue Gao’s spring collection, which featured a more relaxed design approach without losing its East-meets-West mixed media identity,” wrote Andrew Shang in the article Snow Xue Gao RTW Spring 2021.
By taking the “clashing prints” trend and mixing it with deconstructionism and the pandemic-related trends of “pajamas as outerwear,” florals and plaids she’s achieved a look that seamlessly works as well at home as it does for quick errands out with a mask worn for protection. Titled Love, Family, and Friends Gao said about the collection in the article Snow Xue Gao Spring 2021 “I really hope that my clothes can give people a feeling of happiness, relaxation and casualness.”
Influenced aesthetically by Dries Van Noten and Martin Margiela, her Spring line consisted of structured, belted blazers, patchwork dresses, skirts, tops and pants kept down to earth with flat, black men’s-style shoes. Figure-enhancing, without being overly clingy or body-consciousness, her garments also had a slight 1930s/1940s feel
Writer Laird Borelli-Persson in her collection review about the designer for vogue.com wrote that “Gao is a talented tailor with a distinct signature of puzzling asymmetric “dual” or half-and-half looks together that play softness against suiting.” It was just this attention to her “distinctive ensembles” that earned her the admiration of Rihanna, who wore one of Gao’s jackets at the 2016 Global Citizen Festival in Central Park.
Only time will tell what the future will bring once the pandemic is over, but one thing is certain, talented and innovative designers like Snow Xue Gao will always be in demand as interesting ones to watch.