Saturday, August 15, 2009

Vintage Fashion: a Touch of Deja Vu

Not quite Scottish this - but certainly relevant to all things vintage! I was clearing out some old papers the other day and came across a wonderful (and pristine) issue of Honey and Vanity Fair magazine from 1972. It makes fascinating reading, not least for how similar media obsessions are then, and now. ('For lovelier nails, smooth away ugly cuticles.' 'We don't promise any overnight miracle cures for spots and pimples.' 'Soften yourself all over with baby oil' ...)

Even more interesting to me, though - since I'm pretty obsessive myself, where vintage fashion is concerned - is the undoubted fact that you could take just about all the clothes and (if you were young enough!) wear them without anyone batting an eyelid. This row of coloured tights and shoes for instance. Did I topple off shoes like that? Well I'm pretty sure I did. But do they look particularly dated? Don't think so. As for the coats, the wonderful 'coats Garbo would be proud to wear' - I'd be quite happy to find them in my wardrobe even now.
Actually, I've got two even older pieces in my wardrobe and I do wear them quite often. One is a Dereta tweed coat from the sixties which would have looked impossibly middle aged to me back then, when I was a girl, but now just looks stylish and slightly quirky. The other - also from the sixties - is my favourite: a beautifully cut, pale, pure wool coat with a curly lamb collar. It looks exactly like something Samantha would wear in those later episodes of Bewitched. It fascinates me to watch how the fashions change through the episodes of that series - since it spans that time during the sixties when everything, including fashion, underwent such profound changes. I paid about £10.00 for it in a charity shop and whenever I wear it people ask me where I managed to find it.

The other thing that interests me about this old issue of Honey is the amount of text it contains. There are wonderful images, for sure, but there is also a great deal of reading in it: blocks of text that editors of magazines aimed at young women - which Honey undoubtedly was - would almost certainly shun nowadays, on the grounds that their readers couldn't cope with it. And perhaps they couldn't. There are two decent pieces of fiction as well - a short story and a serial. It is, though, the ephemeral things that take you back with heartrending clarity: the ads for everything from Christy's lanolin facepacks to Mary Quant astringent. Nostalgia, thy name is surely advertising!

No comments: