Friday, February 11, 2011

In the Mood for Mod

mod n (Sociology) Brit:
-An unconventionally modern style of fashionable dress originating in England in the 1960s
-A member of a group of teenagers in the mid-1960s, noted for their clothes-consciousness and opposition to the rockers

Mod was Post-Beatnik, Pre-Hippy, and quintessentially British. Mods admired all things Italian and were attracted to whatever seemed most "modern" (hence the name). Op-art inspired textiles in graphic geometrics and a strict Mondrian-like palette of black, white and primaries were the trends. British designer Mary Quant invented both the mini skirt and the hot pant, while Rudy Gernreich and Pierre Cardin provided abstract shapes and silhouettes for the first Space-Age generation.

Like all big fashion trends Mod was inextricably linked to its own music (ska, Brit-beat, American R & B and soul), dance crazes (there was often speed-fueled, all-night clubbing), television (such as "Ready Steady Go!" a British music program that exposed England and the world to acts like Manfred Mann), and transportation preferences (Vespa scooters were choice, with, inexplicably, as many mirrors as was possible to attach to them - sometimes as many as 30).

By the late 60's the Mod's subculture had been co-opted by the mainstream media for profit, and the whole thing lost its cachet. An odd offshoot of the mod/ ska sector evolved into skinheads in Britain, and are sometimes associated with Mod due to a shared fondness for peg-leg pants and short hair (both uncharacteristic at the time for young people)....but they are not really philosophically related.

For me, Mod represents a time of simultaneous exploration and restraint in fashion. How "out there" could one get using only black and white and the two basic shapes of skinny legging and A-line dress? Ok, you can only use circles and squares - now, go design! I also love how this sleek, modernistic look was paired with rebellion and soul music. The 60's were just the craziest time for teenagers to figure out who they were outside of their post-war parents and grand-parents still gun-shy from the depression, while simultaneously trying to grasp new ideas of plastics, rocketships and robots.

 Eyewear and Apparel by Pierre Cardin

Judging by the shoes in this photo, this is probably taken recently (I just can't find the info on the pic), but shoes aside, the feeling's 100% Mod.

Muse Model Peggy Moffit in Rudy Gernreich


Moffit Wanna-bes 

60's icon Twiggy

Diana Rigg, as Emma Peel, influenced the Brits with her fashion-forward wardrobe for five years before "The Avengers" ever even aired in the US (in 1966).

You've probably noted by now that this seems to be the preferred stance for serious Mods.

Still from the film "Quadraphenia", based on The Who's rock operetic homage to 1964 London. (Note the six mirrors on his scooter.)

The Chocolate Watchmen


Goldie Hawn in sock-it-to-me mode. Ok, I know "Laugh-in" was a little late to be mod (and much too commercial to be cool) but something about her here speaks to the underlying idea....and what I really want to show is next.....

Mattel issued a limited edition Sock-it-to-me Goldie Barbie - is this not the coolest, cutest thing you have EVER seen? Amazing! Sometimes the world makes good things.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Etsy Store Project - Dress #1

Since dropping out of school this semester I've had a teeny bit of free time, and we can't have that.

It seems as though everyone and their sister has an Etsy store. Just a place to put up those random, heart-felt projects that we do, for no reason, for fun and experiment, with the slightest hope that they may make us a buck or two. I thought I might join the masses.

I've been wanting to make some super-girly dresses, using happy print and texture mixing, so here is my first one (look past the shoddy's just a prototype....and you know "shoddy" is just how I roll).

At left is my idea for the shop name and tag design.

Give me your opinions on the whole direction.
I started with a Vogue pattern, to get the basic measurements, but altered it as I went along, adding piping, topstitching and some wide ribbon trim I had that happened to match my fabrics exactly added as a cuff.

I am obviously jonesing hard for spring. And picnics and swinging on swings (which this dress is ideal for).