Saturday, February 12, 2011

Old is New

Like wine, cheese, and Chanel, most things getting better with age. And with fashion, this can be true as well. Designers like Kate Spade have built empires on the vintage charm of an antique lace hem and a retro circle skirt with mary-janes.

I have an aversion to goods that have actually been worn or used (something about soft fabrics and their absorbency that just creeps me out), but not to their style. Vintage is more a state of style than a fact for me (unless we're talking about my grandmother's raffia envelope clutch from 1930). The Times talked to a few women who resurrect decades past every weekend when they don their dated duds and frequent New Orleans hot spots. Their frocks may have all the charm of a 1950's Chevy, but none of the age. Many designers have hopped on the 'old is new bandwagon' and are producing lines that ooze retro rehab, yet are made from newly minted fabrics.

There may be a drop of inauthenticity to this approach, but I'm not really sure its any different that using soy instead of regular milk- you want the flavor, but not the dairy. Style is dynamic, dimensional, and steeped in scents of those who came before. It takes a little from here, some more from there, discards what doesn't work (still waiting to see leggings drop off the fashion map) and retains that which inspires. In fashion, there is little that excites me more than a polka dot shirt dress, a full skirt nipped in delicately at the waist, or a pair of peep-toe ankle booties (I take my vintage with a healthy dose of modern). History can be brilliant.

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