Friday, January 9, 2015

BEAUTY: Clothing--Topman

...and the first show on the first day of the season at London Collections: Men was Topman, showing a rollicking, fun, late 60s/early 70s kaleidoscope.

The show's title "Bombay City Rollers" said it all. Mixing a kind of psychedelic/hippie feeling with another overlapping/concurrent cultural and fashion moment from the same time period, the phenomenon known as The Bay City Rollers (for those too young to remember them, Google and Youtube the BCR and feast your eyes on some rockin' tartan fabulousness), the collection seemed to make perfect sense. Now, remember, stylistically speaking, decades turn on a five year: the sixties as we think of them actually lasted from around '65 to '75 (which naturally means that the 70s, as we think of them, spanned '75 to '85). Fashion journalist Luke Leitch at rightly points out that The Bay City Rollers were sartorially inspired by Americana and a kind of Evel Kneivel-jumpsuit silhouette mashed up with the tartan of their homeland. And for this Topman show, I will go a step further and add in the West Coast (particularly Southern California) drag racing milieu (which grew alongside surf culture) of the 60s as well as a reference to "Easy Rider" with five-pointed stars peppered throughout the collection. All of this comes out in hippie Afghan coats and ponchos, tight racer jackets, tartan sweater vests (along with some tartan scarves just like The Rollers and their screaming fans wore), and high-hemmed bell bottoms! Maybe it is just a sense of nostalgia since I lived through it all, but there is something about this collection that is cheery and full of a naïve optimism that is rather comforting.

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