Paper dresses, the dresses of the 60’s that anticipated the concept of ‘fast fashion

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Made of cellulose, these designs were the perfect blank canvas for the pop culture and mass consumption that led the youth in the mid-s. XX

Mary Quant says the future will always belong to the young. A devastating phrase that perfectly summarizes the radical changes that adolescents have brought about throughout the 20th century. What became apparent in the twenties became an earthquake in the sixties that turned society upside down in all areas. The autobiography of the British designer, Quant by Quant, is a constant demonstration of a generation’s breakthrough character. Her way of thinking, of seeing sexuality and, of course, her way of dressing, clearly clashed with the style of her mothers: “The voices, rules and culture of this generation are as different from those of the past as tea and wine. And the clothes they choose evoke their lives… daring and happy, never boring,” wrote one of the people responsible for creating the miniskirt in her memoir.

His was a generation that became the center of the universe. They shopped in stores at the almost frenetic rhythm that marked the music that came out of one of them (something that did not exist until now). After two minutes they got tired of one trend, they moved on to another. They would put on dresses and accessories as crazy as their way of consuming. Their thirst for novelty contributed to accelerate the gears of fashion at a faster and faster pace, until they reached an implanted system that today the industry tries to moderate. If the sector found in the youngest a vein eager to consume, there was at the end of the 60s a fashion related to them that was much more than an ephemeral trend: the paper dresses came to become the perfect metaphor of a generation that seemed to anticipate the fast fashion and its way of conceiving the clothes.

Tony Curtis painting on Claudia Cardinale’s paper dress during the shooting of the film ‘Don’t Make Waves’ (1967)

The experimental character of the decade brought vinyl or metals to the catwalk. It was only a matter of time before they saw the potential of paper: it already existed as sanitary protective material and disposable bedding for hospitals. It needed to be converted into a fabric that could be hung on hangers. In fact, two of the multinationals associated with paper were the first to be linked to these dresses. And they did it with two respective patented materials that were not only paper, but formulations from cellulose. Scott Paper Company (responsible, yes, for firms like Scottex) used a rayon mesh for its Dura-weave, while Kimberly Stevens resorted to nylon for Kaycel, using as was customary for their products the letter K, as in their kleenex.

It all started back in 1965, when a Scott Paper engineer thought there might be possibilities in paper fashion. He asked his wife to pattern a simple A-line dress so he could make garments to sell to department stores as a novel summer piece. Jonathan Walford tells Sixties Fashion that there wasn’t much interest, but as a sponsor of the Junior Miss Pageant beauty contest in 1966, Scott turned it into a promotional item that was broadcast all over the United States. Sales were launched in April of that year: for $1.25 you could buy one of two possible paper dresses through the mail. Marketed under the Paper Caper brand, one was characterized by its red and yellow bandana print. The other paper dress included a work by Op-Art, the hypnotic paintings by Victor Vasarely that the Italian designer Roberto Capucci had already translated into a coat the previous year.

First ‘paper dresses’ by Scott Company with a bandana design and in Op-art (1966)

As if it were an Ikea piece of furniture, each dress came with an instruction manual explaining how to modify or care for it, as well as a warning on how putting it in the washing machine could eliminate its fireproofing capacity. “To shorten the dress, all you need is a firm hand and a pair of scissors […] While you shouldn’t count on wearing it more than once, depending on the use there are those who have been able to wear it up to three or four times. You can also cut the dress to use it as disposable towels for guests, or even as an apron. It will never replace the black dress as a basic closet item, but as a conversation piece and to attract attention, Paper Caper is unique,” he said.

The paper dress seemed to adapt like a glove to the needs of the youngest: on the one hand, it only allowed several uses, the perfect excuse to move on to the next novelty. And it did so at a very affordable price that everyone could afford. On the other hand, it fitted perfectly with the anti-stitching nature of those new female customers who rejected the “make, do and mend” attitude of the previous generation. It was no longer the idea of mending and recycling that prevailed with scarcity in World War II. It was now more interesting to take a pair of scissors and tape than to spend the whole night with the sewing kit. Moreover, for those young women eager to explore the growing freedoms of the decade, “going out in a dress that was blatantly easy to pull off posed an exciting way to underscore the new sexual politics,” the Victoria & Albert Museum said in an article about paper dresses.

A precise hand and a pair of scissors. That’s all it took to personalize a paper dress and make it ‘short’.

In the midst of the Cold War and the struggle for space leadership, paper dresses were also the closest thing to looking to the future. They were “the answer to space laundry,” as defined by an article in the November 25, 1966 issue of Life magazine. After all, who would consider putting a washing machine in orbit? Paper dresses were a much more feasible option, especially considering that one of the main attractions of the publication was that “it doesn’t look like paper at all, but rather like a cotton fabric”.

La cifra que más suele salir a relucir es la de las ventas de Scott Paper: hacia finales de año ya llevaba vendidos unos 500.000 vestidos. Los beneficios de la ropa de papel, según cuentan en Dress and Popular Culture, atrajeron más de sesenta manufacturas, con ventas estimadas entre los 50 y los 100 millones de dólares en un año. El tejido de papel se vendía al por mayor a unos 8-10 dólares la yarda (5-7 euros el metro, aproximadamente), aunque se esperaba que bajase de precio. Otra de las compañías que lideró el sector fue Mars of Asheville, cuyos vestidos venían etiquetados bajo el nombre “Waste Basket Boutique” (algunos se conservan todavía en la colección del Victoria & Albert Museum de Londres). En su obra, Jonathan Walford explica que hacia finales de 1966 era el principal fabricante de desechables: producía 80.000 prendas de papel a la semana, habían vendido 1,4 millones de unidades y las ventas alcanzaban los 3,5 millones de dólares.

‘Paper dress’ Waste Basket Boutique (1967).

There were several designers who created paper dresses: Scott Paper commissioned Paco Rabanne to make paper dresses to complement his most famous plastic and metal designs on the Parisian catwalk. Ossie Clark also produced her own disposable models at about fifteen shillings a piece, while Bonnie Cashin devised a line of clothing called Paper-Route. As part of a photo shoot immortalized by Horst P. Horst for Look magazine in 1967, several of the leading couturiers participated with their own paper designs: according to Walford, Fabiani did it with a gold dress, Pucci with black and white shorts, Belville with a wedding dress, Dior with a short white dress and Givenchy with a silver quilted coat. Horst himself was involved in the designs, creating a green paper tailor’s suit that actor Steve McQueen wore in the publication’s photo essay.

Models during the presentation in Paris of the ‘Puzzle’ collection, dressed in paper clothes (1967).

There were designers who even specialized in paper fashion. This was the case of Elisa Daggs, a creator based in New York whose designs can be found in the showcases of museums such as the MET, the Fine Arts Museum of San Francisco or the Fashion History Museum of Ontario (Canada). Specializing in garments such as kaftans, she made several paper commissions linked to international airlines. The first was a promotional sari for Air India (1967) and a year later she collaborated with Trans World Airlines, for the French line (in gold) and for the Italian line (a kind of kimono with a belt). His designs are the perfect example of the complexity that the structure of the paper dresses acquired: they were no longer simple dresses with an A silhouette and pure lines. They were now filled with ruffles, or their patterns included up to eight pieces, like some striped dress she produced in 1967.

The 60s brought a very close relationship between the air world and fashion. The ‘paper dresses’ also reached the uniforms of the British Airways hostesses (1967).

In addition, paper dressing led to declines that no longer considered it exclusively as an affordable garment. In its November 1966 issue, Life magazine spoke of the wide range of prices that this piece could acquire, “from the thousand dollars of an evening gown” to the little more than a dollar that a beach dress could cost. In the same article, the three models that Tzaim Luksus created for the Paper Ball (a charity gala at the Wadsworth Atheneum museum in Hartford) were included, and their price was one thousand dollars. The same cost of the dress, also by Luksus, that the actress Arlene Dahl wore in the famous television program I’ve got a secret (1966), where she presented a collection of paper dresses.

“There is no need to worry about such a democratic dress (one that everyone can afford) wiping out the fashion elite. Wealthy and socially connected women can ask artists to create several special pieces of paper for a special event and then donate them to a museum, as long as the garment has not deteriorated on the dance floor,” wrote social commentator Marilyn Bender in statements collected by Sixties Fashion. Despite their humble nature, it was not the first time a paper dress was considered a luxury: they were highly prized in Japan during the Kamakura period (1192-1333) and during the Edo period (1603-1867) the more expensive ones were considered exquisitely elegant.

The perfect canvas for 60’s pop culture

There are those who have revealed themselves against the sartorial excess of these garments. The graphic artist Harry Gordon wanted to treat the paper dress like a canvas: his ‘poster dresses’ sold for three dollars, with very simple A-line patterns and no sleeves. The absolute star of the design was its print: five models with five images ranging from an eye to a cat, through a rose, a rocket taking off (in orbit with the space fever that impacted on fashion) and an open hand with the Buddhist symbol of peace. The initial launch in the UK in 1967 included the large face of Bob Dylan, but he did not give permission to be printed at his launch in the US the spring of the following year.

Paper ‘poster’ dress with Bob Dylan’s face

Gordon was not the only artist who delved into this dress. Andy Warhol also made it a starting point for advertising: he had been experimenting with Campbell’s soup cans since 1962, a motif repeated ad nauseam and becoming a pop icon wherever they were found. He translated it into fashion through ‘souper dress’, a paper model that recreates the can motif multiple times. Everyone wanted to have their own model: as Jonathan Walford says in Sixties Fashion, the food company Joy Green Giant announced its ‘paper dress’ with a green leaf print in 1967. Yellow Pages also offered its own designs, printed with newspaper sheets in yellow. Time magazine included a promotional black and white model with the letters of the publication’s name.

At a time when both fashion and art were a faithful reflection of the mass consumption of the time, paper dress became the perfect symbol of everything that was happening around it. It could become a wearable work of art, a walking advertisement, even an element of political propaganda. This was demonstrated at least by the U.S. presidential elections in 1968. For posterity there are still the ‘political’ paper dresses with prints of the main political candidates: Nixon’s incorporated his name in blue letters on a white background, a design that several girls in Pittsburgh wore when the politician arrived at the city’s Civic Arena. In addition to the stars, Bobby Kennedy’s included his own black and white face. In the campaign to win the Republican nomination in the presidential race, Governor Nelson Rockefeller’s face was repeated several times on a yellow and blue background.

Paper dresses with the faces of several American presidential candidates (1968).
Political ‘paper dresses’ for the presidential campaigns of Nelson Rockefeller and Richard Nixon (1968)
Paper dress from Robert Kennedy’s election campaign with portrait, by Norman Rockwell (produced by James Sterling Paper Fashions Ltd. New York, 1968)

Wet paper

Paper seemed like the material of tomorrow: madness had reached the jewels and even the eyelashes, as Life collected in 1967. Elisa Daggs said that sealing machines would replace sewing machines. Some even predicted a future in which dresses could come in large rolls, like sandwich bags, and be sold for pennies. But the reality is that despite its impact, the fever lasted only a few years. By the end of the 1960s, and in the face of a short supply of Dura-weave and Kaycel, the major manufacturers were using Reemay and Tyvek (both patented by Dupont) or Fibron for clothing that was more like disposable clothing than paper. Discovering their impracticality was also one of the reasons for their decline: “Although the garments were intended to be worn no more than once, it seemed disappointing to discover that this was true. The dresses would swell up when the person sat down, the styles of the sleeves would often become cramped. The hems had a tendency to fold along the edge,” Walford described in Sixties Fashion.

Over the years, paper dresses became, almost literally, wet paper: their ephemeral nature and throwaway philosophy clashed with the anti-consumerist ideas adopted by a new generation of young people that marked the end of the 1960s. As a counterculture, the hippie movement opposed exacerbated capitalism, betting on a fashion of ethnic aesthetics that put back in value the crafts and the manual works like crochet or macramé. Although paper dresses have returned in an isolated way on the catwalk with more experimental designers such as Hussein Chalayan or Rei Kawakubo (his collection for Comme des Garçons spring summer 1992 was inspired by Japanese cut paper drawings in the line of goshoguruma and momiji), today they remain at the foot of the page as an anecdote of history that is preserved in museums. A reminder that we once looked into space for alternative materials that could be adapted to our future. The example that, at a pace that tries to be slower and more conscious, history always repeats itself.

Paper dress with a printed hand, by artist Edith Ryker (1967).

SOURCE: VOGUE

This is the rebirth of the iconic ‘Jackie 1961’: the new genderless Gucci bag

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One of the Italian firm’s most emblematic historical designs enjoys a new life thanks to the colorful, gender-neutral models created by creative director Alessandro Michele for the 2020 autumn-winter season

A good example of this is the reintroduction of the essential Jackie bag in their autumn-winter 2020 collection. The piece, an original design from 1961, became one of the favorite accessories of Jackie Kennedy, first lady of the United States in the early sixties, who wore it on multiple occasions throughout her life.

Backstage of the Gucci FW20 women’s show. Small shoulder bag ‘Jackie 1961’ with beige/ebony GG Supreme canvas, a material with a reduced environmental impact, with brown leather trim.
© Cosimo Sereni/Gucci
Man fashion show FW20 Gucci. 

However, the almost sixty decades that have passed since then have also left a forced mark on the model. Although the structural lines of the first design have been respected, the current models have their own idiosyncrasies. The keys to the contemporary reinterpretation carried out by the firm’s creative director, Alessandro Michele, can be summarized in five points, as explained by the brand

1 “It transcends the classical categorizations of accessories thanks to its non-binary attitude. Smaller in size than the original, the bag is present in the house’s fashion shows combined with suits, grunge outfits and clothing of reduced proportions”.

2 “Inspired by a vintage Jackie taken from his personal archive, Alessandro Michele proposes a silhouette reduced to its minimum expression in three different sizes: medium, small and mini”.

3 “The sober lines highlight the emblematic piston closure and the exquisite leather that makes it up. All versions of the 1961 Jackie are available in black and red leather, as well as in GG Supreme canvas with the company’s triband”.

4 “The small and mini models have a wider range of colors including natural python skin and a range of pastel shades including lilac, butter yellow, light blue and soft pink”.

5 “A long removable strap reinforces the flexible character and versatile practicality of the new Jackie.

The ‘Jackie 1961’ bag, by Gucci, in cream color.
© Gucci
The new ‘Jackie 1961’, by Gucci, in purple.
© Gucci

There are many personalities linked to the world of culture and entertainment who have already begun to express the stylistic possibilities of this model. From the singer Harry Styles or the actress Cate Blanchett, on the international scene, to style prescribers, creators and local actors like Ursula Corbero, Jedet, Greta Fernandez or Filip Custic. And yes, the result, as you can see, is magnificent.

SOURCE: VOGUE

WHAT COLOR IS YOUR PERSONALITY?

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Our daily reality is wrapped in a wide range of colors. And within this spectrum, we are accompanied by a few. You may do so without realizing it. Or you may be very aware of which shades always go with you, because colors and personality are closely related.

Intense, warm and sober colors that somehow decorate our life through clothes, the color of our car, the painting of the walls at home, make-up and objects that we intuitively incorporate around us, according to our favorite colors. But why do they attract us? What color is your personality?

Colors and personality

It may seem at first sight to be a silly, unscientific game. But in reality, it can be said that the study of the relationship between colors and personality has an extensive literature on the subject, made especially by many psychology and marketing companies where they try to investigate, for example, how certain colors determine us when we buy, when we choose certain products and not others, or how to favor certain states through certain colors. A whole suggestive world to discover.

We must take into account that colors are part of a light spectrum, and as such, certain types of energies emanate depending on their wavelength. Imagine, for example, how you would feel if you entered a room painted exclusively in black. Or your feeling when you pass into a room decorated in shades of green or blue. We cannot deny it, the colors emanate sensations and emotions. Let’s see how they are associated with personality.

RED


Intense, active and very optimistic personalities. They tend to be strong characters, with a clear inclination towards competition at work, with a certain touch of impulsiveness and need for control.

They are self-confident people with an open and intense character, but as a defect, it is precisely their quick impulses that are sometimes not very reflexive.

ORANGE


Are you very sociable but you keep the limits? You like to be surrounded by people but you maintain a certain seriousness and balance, you are understandable and very accessible with the people around you.

You usually like sports, movement and small challenges every day. You are not very impulsive, but you like to initiate projects with which you feel involved and excited.

YELLOW


Very, very creative people. In spite of their creativity, they maintain a sense of logic; it is not an overflowing imagination but rather a rational and practical one.

Analytical and very critical profiles also with themselves, so much so that they are usually very demanding also with the people around them. They control their emotions very well.

GREEN


Relaxed personalities who value first and foremost contributing to others and having others contribute to them. They seek the closeness of people and crave to feel safe and loved by having someone with them.

They fear sometimes being hurt by this dependence, but still they are vital and positive. Very positive. They are also people who like to have their efforts and actions recognized by others.

BLUE


Balance and inner peace. People who tend to lean towards this tonality seek first and foremost tranquility and inner peace. They live according to their beliefs and their thoughts without caring what others think or think of them.

They do not change easily, they have an integrity and deep-rooted beliefs to which they will not give in. Strong but relaxed personalities, very – very balanced.

PURPLE


Orderly people, very sentimental and, above all, spiritual. They are very sensitive profiles, however, when they are wounded they do not show it easily, they prefer to keep quiet and not show their emotions at that very moment. First they reflect, meditate, and then put their thoughts out loud.

They reflect, think, and seek their inner peace, and also are very open to help and guide others. They are usually involved in humanitarian issues.

BROWN


Rooted to the earth, to the physical and to the simple. They are people who love the simple and natural life, the comfort of the day to day surrounded by the beings they love.

GREY


It is not a negative color at all. Let’s leave aside the famous term grey person, to actually see personalities that are rather balanced, calm and somewhat conservative. Also cold and so rational that we can rarely manage to make them angry. As a defect, we should highlight their passivity, rarely leaving their routine to undertake complex plans.

“Happiness is like a tie; everyone chooses the color of his own.

-Noel Clarasó-

You have already seen, colors and personality are related and surely, after reading this you have felt identified with one or several colors, it is the usual and expected. So, tell us what color is your personality?

The Iconic Shoes of Cinema

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Judy Garland’s red shoes in ‘The Wizard of Oz’ (Victor Fleming, 1939)

It would be great if saying the words “There’s no place like home” and tapping your heels with your red sequined shoes were enough to get you home after a long journey.


The ballet shoes of The Red Shoes (Michael Powell, 1948)

The protagonist of this classic English film could not stop dancing in these red ballet shoes.

Catherine Deneuve’s Pilgrim in ‘Bella de día’ (Luis Buñuel, 1967)

This is one of Roger Vivier’s most emblematic designs, a pair of rectangular buckle shoes with a medium-thick heel that Catherine Deneuve made famous in ‘Bella de día’.

Las zapatillas Nike de Michael J. Fox en ‘Regreso al futuro 2’ (Robert Michael J. Fox’s Nike shoes in ‘Back to the Future 2’ (Robert Zemeckis, 1989)Zemeckis, 1989)

Slippers that tied themselves were one of the things that were happening in the distant future 2015. This year Nike has announced that it will release a model inspired by the ones worn by Marty McFly.

Las botas de charol de Julia Roberts en ‘Pretty Woman’ (Garry Marshall, Julia Roberts’ patent leather boots in ‘Pretty Woman’ (Garry Marshall, 1990)

A scandalous, above-the-knee patent leather boot for one of the most endearing prostitutes ever to come out of the cinema.

Tom Hanks’ Nike shoes in ‘Forrest Gump’ (Robert Zemeckis, 1994)

Tom Hanks’ character would not have travelled the same miles without the classic Nike ‘Cortez’ model.

Uma Thurman’s Asics shoe in ‘Kill Bill’ (Quentin Tarantino, 2003)

Tarantino dressed the new action heroine in a yellow tracksuit and sneakers, a look that will go down in the annals of film history and is a beautiful tribute to Bruce Lee.

Bill Murray’s Adidas shoes in ‘Life Aquatic’ (Wes Anderson, 2004)

Wes Anderson movies are always full of interesting sartorial objects. This time Bill Murray’s original look was completed by Zissou shoes from Adidas.

Kirsten Dunst’s Converse shoes in ‘Marie Antoinette’ (Sofia Coppola, 2006)

One of the coolest historical gadgets in the history of cinema, the lilac Converse shoes that were part of Marie Antoinette’s wardrobe.

The ”manolos” of Sarah Jessica Parker from ‘Sex and the City’ (Michael Patric King, 2008)

Carrie Bradshaw launched into stardom these super feminine and sophisticated shoes designed by Manolo Blahnik.

Lily James’ glass shoes in ‘Cinderella’ (Kenneth Branagh, 2015)

Cinderella’s glass shoe is a key part of the plot of this classic tale. And it has become one of the most versioned shoes in history.