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Tag Archives: 1977
A New York fashion moment to consider as the shows kick off: in a film by Anton Perich, Matuschka models the last designs of the grand couturier at the Chelsea Hotel. James, who you can see directing Matuscka in her poses, would pass the next year from bronchial pneumonia, alone and in poverty, and as one the greatest designers the fashion world has ever known.
Looking at these images you begin to get the idea that maybe Phoebe Philo’s transformation at Celine was less about reviving minimalism and more about reprising, with acute accuracy, the label’s prudish bourgeois heritage.
Opium was imported to China by the British who procured it from their colonies in the Indian subcontinent. It was introduced in order to create a market demand for British product that was otherwise nonexistent — they needed something cheap and easy to trade for all those lovely teas and silks. Opium proved popular, too popular in fact, and so the Chinese banned the drug citing it as an evil that was reducing their society to narcotic addled degeneracy. The resulting retaliation led to the Opium Wars, which, the Chinese lost, and the cession of Hong Kong into the British Empire.
Noses Jean Amic and Jean-Louis Sieuzac created Opium for Yves. St Laurent in 1977. In perhaps no other YSL scent is the designer’s disposition for the exotic more present. It was launched with a couture collection featuring pagoda shoulders and mandarin jackets, the mysteries of the orient echoed by the scent’s notes of mandarin, plum, cinnamon, jasmine, and orris. The scent is special in its sweet woody base notes including sandalwood and musk, creating the female equivalent of Old Spice. It’s a bold perfume, for a woman, not a girl, and as it wafts into the nostrils its effect is the kind of seduction that is pure St. Laurent. It is just as potent now as it was in 1977.
In the 60’s, Rabanne’s metal couture (gloriously modeled by Audrey Hepburn in her film Two for the Road) and his costumes for space babe Barabarella in 1968 cemented his status as fashion’s eccentric maverick. By 1976 however, he “became associated with male toiletries rather than for the intriguing experimentation he had been carrying out.” Still, in a decade of hippie chic and relaxed sportswear, Rabanne’s metalwork more or less found a relevant incarnation after the Space Age craze died out.