VINTAGE FASHION

Les "Suits" et les Choses

Posted on January 24 2017

In 1917, Apollinaire blasted his coined word, “surreal,” into public view with his controversial play, Les Mamelles de Tirésias. A century later, institutionalized surrealism has practically become quotidian, casually streaming and screaming from all of our screens, complete with an endlessly expanding lexicon — “fake news,” “alternative facts,” “gaslighting” — concepts that can't help but normalize the real time blur between fact and fiction in 2017.

Pictured: 1980s Yves Saint Laurent Prince of Wales Plaid Pantsuit, Couture.

 

If there's some immediate comfort to be found at the moment, it's in the concrete reward of tangible experience — a hug from a friend, the feeling of clothes on our bodies, even our blanket of (globally) warming air... 

and, on the other side of the spectrum, in the wisdom of deep thinkers, artists, designers, writers, and philosophers....

Pictured: 1970s Valentino cotton gaberdine jacket, 1970s Roberta di Camerino knit polo, 1990s Oscar de la Renta wool tweed trousers, 1970s Chez Ninon camel polo coat (below). 

 

take Michel Foucault, who called this crisis of knowledge a long time ago, detecting and describing the erratic structure of power-knowledge, along with its cyclical breaks and vicissitudes.

If Foucault were to send us an iMessage from the great hereafter (hey, we didn't bring up surrealism for nothing 😉), we suspect he'd try his best to keep things "light and cheery," graciously propelling our known sartorial obsessions in an enriching direction, texting something like...

Pictured: 1980s Yves Saint Laurent wool plaid jacket, 1970s Yves Saint Laurent wool flannel trouser, 1990s Geoffrey Beene purple Macintosh treated cotton jacket, cinched with 1980s Yves Saint Laurent belt.

 

“Hey, so, what’s going on with fashion right now? Everyone seems to be buzzing about ‘borrowed from the boys’ and ‘androgyny,’ but do you believe, in light of what has happened and what continues to be happening in politics and culture, that such a simple reversal and inversion, can become the sequel to the established suit of power?”

*Le Sigh* meets *Rolls Eyes* 

Pictured: 1980s Yves Saint Laurent gaberdine striped pantsuit.

 

Oh Foucault…that's a pretty tall Order of Things and a pretty ambitious question  — even for “fashion people” 😉

But perhaps this is the perfect time (and no, not just because we’re in the midst of the menswear shows in Paris)....

Pictured: 1990s Geoffrey Beene satin jacket, Turn of the millennium Hermès tee, 1980s Yves Saint Laurent wool gaberdine pinstripe trousers, accessorized with 1980s Yves Saint Laurent four leaf clover rhinestone belts.

 

and the perfect place to begin such a grand exploration, a “suitable” first step in our long march...

just as Apollinaire's transitioned Tirésias ripped off and threw on his husband’s clothes.

Pictured: 1980s Yves Saint Laurent chocolate brown "Tuxedo" jumpsuit, 1980s Givenchy earrings, Vintage belt, unknown. 

 

At very least, we might jokingly ask Michel the next time he texts (we swear he was just typing but deleted it all….) whether our playful exploration of the sequel to the "power suit"...

...using womenswear from the past, inspired by menswear from the past, styled for the present — could be capable of erasing the purloined privilege of suit-ed patriarchy...

Pictured: 1980s Hermès flannel sleeveless suit worn with Hermès caramel leather tie.

 

like a “face drawn in sand at the edge of the sea?”

Who knows? 

Pictured: 1990s John Galliano double-breasted blazer

 

But hey, it's something to think about 💡

 

Pictured: 1980s Saint Laurent Rive Gauche silk blouse with pussy cat bow, 1980s Yves Saint Laurent wool jacquard trousers, topped with a 1970s France Andrevie emerald and black knit striped cardigan.


Pictured: 1970s Ralph Lauren wool tuxedo with spencer jacket

Credits: 

Writer + Stylist | Felicity Sargent

Photographer | Aaron Dyer

Model | Marissa Bryant 

Hair + Makeup | Leilani Sunglao 

Special Thanks to Robert Heneks + Orlando Andreas

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